SO HERE’S THE DEAL:
Badia Masabni was born in Lebanon, but moved to Egypt in the early 1900’s. She made a living as an actress and dancer and soon opened her own music hall in 1926. Badia was a very smart business woman. She modeled her club after European ones in order to draw a wider range of customers. Badia also started requiring her dancers to wear cabaret style costumes. These were not traditional, but made popular by western films featuring oriental dance. The costumes attracted more customers. Badia also expanded the belly dance vocabulary. She began to introduce new more fluid arm movements to the dance. We now recognize these movements as snake arms. The space of her club allowed dancers to move around more, where as in the past it was common to stand in one place. Since the dance was not usually performed in a club, Badia introduced traveling steps to the dance.
Some think that Badia changed belly dance for the worse, making it more sexualized and having it performed in clubs. But some think she pushed the dance forward.
Regardless, Badia is the reason all of us know who Samia Gamal and Tahia Carioca are. She gave us what we now know belly dance to be.
*Please note this video was not uploaded by The Belly Blog. It was uploaded by a great site – www.gildedserpent.com.
WHY I LOVE HER:
I love Badia because not only is she responsible for creating all of these golden age dancers that we have previously featured on TBT but she made the Dance accessible for future dancers like us.