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Although there isn’t much info out there on Ms. Zizi Mustafa I gathered some tidbits for you, just to give you an idea of how cool she was:

  • Zizi was born in 1943 in Cairo, Egypt.
  • She worked as an actress and a dancer. Some of her famous acting roles were in  “The Pickpocket” (1963), “The Wife of an Important Man” (1987), and “Ragel Wa Sitt Settat” (2007).
  • She performed in many clubs including Cave du Rois in London (Gilded Serpant).
  • Managed by Safaa Farid the last 9 years of her career.
  • Could do up to 18 shows a night. Wowwwwwwww…. tired just thinking about that…
  • Her daughter is Mina Shalabi, a famous Egyptian actress

What the internet is missing in info about this incredible dancer, it definitely makes up for in videos! Watch the below and get inspired!!!! 

Watch Zizi get her groove on! Click here!

and here!

and here!!!!!

Happy Thursday!



Helena was born in Greece on the tiny island of Hydra (Ydra) in 1948. She was immersed in Middle Eastern music by default— Greece had been ruled by Turkey for hundreds of years and she felt this influence growing up. She came to the US when she was 8 via NYC but her family settled in LA.

Due to the growing Greek community there at the time, dance clubs and restaurants were opening more and more— in these clubs is where Helena really starting getting into Raqs Sharqi— she watched used to dancers like Antoinette and Aisha Ali, mostly Americans, with her mentor FoFo De Milo.

She fell in love with this dance during her adolescence in LA.
FoFo De Milo (a Greek-American entertainer, dancer, owner of Greek Village Restaurant in Hollywood) was a distant relative of Helena’s and she pretty much took Helena under her wing— she was “discovered” by her from family gatherings and FoFo offered to train her at her studio.

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For this week’s belly beats playlist I  have chosen Rachid Halihal! I  love his mastery of Arabic music, from the fiddle to the oud to his vocals— he is just such an incredible, authentic musician! Please support this artist by purchasing his music from his website here or from the iTunes Store.

Rachid plays at Hayaty every Monday nights from 8-11 and on Wednesday nights at Horus on Ave A

Come out and support live music in NYC!


“Art,” she said, “is not linked with age or nationality; it is linked with creation and presence and if the artist can give and enjoy, she must continue to perform.”


We can’t believe we haven’t done a TBT post on this beauty yet! She’s a legend in the belly dance community and a true artist.

Nagwa, whose birth name is Awatef Mohammed El Agamy, was born in 1943 in Alexandria Egypt. Her father was Egyptian and her mother was Palestinian.

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