With official results of the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections showing Islamist parties with 65% of votes, it is unlikely that Egyptian society will ever go back to its pre Gamal Abdel Nasser glamour as depicted in Egyptian black & white films where you inevitably have at least one belly dance scene in each. My belly dancer for December is a very young Nadia Gamal (no relation to Samia Gamal) performing at the wedding of the Egyptian Grace Kelly, Mariam Fakhr Eddine, in Resalat Gharam (Love Letter – released in 1954). A year before she had met Shammii Kapoor while dancing in Sri Lanka and he describes how he fell in love with her in the charming clip below. I am not surprised he was so taken by her. Her body is gorgeous and she moves it very seductively, and elegantly. Shame the clip is so short!

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In fact, it should be my belly dancers for november as I have decided to bring you more than one this month. I don’t know much about them but they seem to be from way back when belly dancers dressed more fully and engaged in acrobatics, with one looking more like a whirling dervish gone mad than like a belly dancer. It is a departure from the sexy ones I have featured in the past, but I rather like the fully clothed style, especially the rather bizarre Edwardian dancer who thinks it is a good idea to dance with a wooden chair clenched between her teeth. When she is not dancing with the chair she reminds me of the show girls in Victorian and Edwardian postcards. Here is one of Miss Gabrielle Ray as “Frou Frou” in the Merry Widow, although looking at her costume she could have easily been a belly dancer!

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Time for a little lighthearted entertainment and this month I am bringing you Marilyn Monroe as a belly dancer. Well, she is not quite Marilyn Monroe but a Turkish dancer who is trying very hard to look like her. Somehow, I don’t think of Turkey in my search for belly dancers but from what I have seen on youtube, they have pretty good ones. This clip is from 1959 and Sema, the dancer, is great and very pretty but I am rather disturbed by the strip of black tulle (or whatever the fabric is) positioned in the middle of her lower belly. Every now and then, it makes her lovely movements look quite indecent and I think the older man wiping his brow is probably thinking the same! Still, she is a great discovery and I hope you will enjoy her as much as I did.



It’s that time again when I give you my belly dancer of the month, which may come as a relief after my penis eating adventures although not from the adorable baby being fed noodles while the whole family coos at his every mouthful, us too I may add. Anyhow, Suheir Zaki, illustrates perfectly why I hated belly dancing when I was young. She was fat and rather vulgar and over made-up, at least in comparison to my heroines of the moment, in particular Francoise Hardy. Still, she dances well and the fixed smile and excess flesh on the hips are mesmerizing. And I love the 1970’s set, or perhaps it is a 1960’s one.