Follow Me



 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 –


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.




Soheir  Zaki once said, she needed to dance like anyone needed air to breathe. Her passion for the dance started as a child. Soheir was born in 1944 in the city of Mansoura, Egypt. In 1953 she and her family moved to Alexandria. It was there that her dance career began. Soheir taught herself to dance by listening to the radio and watching famous dancers like Tahia Carioca and Samia Gamal, she started performing at nightclubs around the age of 11.

Zaki’s love for the dance was so obvious to those that watched her, inspiring her to move to Cairo and pursue a professional career. Souheir went on to be one of the most famous dancers of the sixties; she was even called the, “Oum Kalthoum of dance.” Zaki was the first oriental dancer to perform to Oum Kalthoum’s music and Kalthoum herself said that Soheir interpreted the music beautifully.

Soheir maintained that belly dance is not about learning steps and repeating them, but about a feeling, spirit, and sense of humor.

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


 Suheir Zaki  is perhaps one of the most iconic visions of oriental dance. I see her as the epitome of the elegant vintage belly dancer, complete with 60s-70s surfer guitar riffs that seem to vibrate and reflect off of her almost kitchy retro costumes!

Not only do I totally dig her sweet costumes, but her bubbly grins and facial expressions are the icing on the cake.


 There isn’t much information about Ms Mustafa. She was called the Queen of Baladi and she reigned from about 1935 to 1955. Her signature moves were her facial expressions, raising of the eyebrows, and her crazy backbends. She is also credited with having taught Tahia Cairoca how to play the zills.


We love Nabaweya, because her passion for dance emanates from her so clearly, even in film. Her hip work is incredible and looks so effortless and smooth. We love her energy and her uniqueness. She really is one of a kind. Check out the videos and you’ll see why we think she’s so cool!

her hips are craaaaaazzzzyyyyyy!!!!!

The YouTube ID of 1o6UErkpo7A?feature=oembed is invalid.

Just love her backbends! The guy in this video also has a pretty awesome mustache :p

The beauty of her dance was its connectedness: the feeling she communicated of a spectacularly lithe and well-shaped body undulating through a complex but decorative series of encumbrances made up of gauzes, veils, necklaces, strings of gold and silver chains, which her movements animated deliberately and at times almost theoretically.

Edward Said

read more