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It’s time for Throwback Thursday! This week’s TBT: Fifi Abdou!


Who is this legendary Egyptian dancer? One of the wealthiest and most generous women of Egypt? The answer is, Fifi. She was born in Cairo and joined a Beledi troupe at only 12 years old. She became a model too, and ended up dancing at many well known venues in the 70’s (earning up to $10,000 per performance, around two hours). In 1999, Fifi was forbidden from going to Mecca, since some felt her dancing was not in line with the Islamic religion. Luckily, in the end she was able to go.

Before that, she had been sentenced jail time due to “depraved movements” by some Egyptians. Her style could be seen as a reflection of her typecasted role in cinema as a headstrong, dominating woman which was a rarity in her time and culture. But we see her as the epitome of the most womanly of women!

*please note this video was not uploaded by The Belly Blog. It was found on

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Kickin’ off this week with one of Egypt’s finest— EHAB TAWFIK

We love him for his exquisite natural musicality (given that he started playing music at a really young age, and later got a doctorate in Music and Arabic Singing), his career spanning now decades and a dozen albums later, we stay craving for more of his warm melodic voice!

Beaming with a marvelous sweetness and even more impressively is the performance of Samia Gamal, the astonishing Egyptian actress (the Lollobrigida of the Arab world) whose smile could easily split mountains in two without any need to say ‘open Sesame’

~ Andre Bazin


Zaynab Ibrahim Mahfuz was born in Wana Egypt in 1924. Fast forward several years, Zaynab met Badia Masabni, who is said to be the founder of modern Oriental dance. Badia coached Zaynab, trained her, and gave her the stage name, Samia Gamal.

While studying under Badia and Tahiya Karioka, Samia developed her own style, mixing Latin flavor and ballet into her dance. Her unique take, led her to land a great number of film roles. Samia’s skill, passion, and charm earned her adoring fans, and, in 1949, the King named her “The National Dancer of Egypt.”

This proclamation led to worldwide acknowledgement, especially in the United States. Soon after, she traveled to New York to perform.

In 1958, Samia married Roshdy Abaza, who was her co-star in many of her films. She danced until the 1980’s.

Samia lived to be 70 years old, she passed away in 1994.

*note this video was not uploaded by The Belly Blog. It was found on


The real question is— why DON’T I love her?! Samia’s unquestionably graceful, at times almost serpentine vibe to her dance is alone reason enough to love and admire her. But after learning about the depths of her pure love and passion for this dance, I suddenly had a newfound respect and sincere admiration for this legendary star.

 “At the hotel, in Damascus, I saw her praying before making her number. She often prayed. Her number only lasted ten minutes. She said: People must realize my art in ten minutes, because I give everything that I have. At her arrival on stage, the public applauded during several minutes. She turned around toward us, in tears…”

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