Follow Me

Close

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Samara was born as Tahira in Baghdad, Iraq, 1963. She was born into a traditional Muslim family that wanted her to study engineering in Lebanon. They were not to pleased when she decided to do something more…creative. After moving to Lebanon, Tahira took the stage name, Samara, and became very inspired by Nadia Gamal, whom she asked for lessons. Nadia taught Samara three dances and advised that she develop a unique style.

Samara took that advice to heart and man did she come up with some unique stuff! She incorporated Polynesian, Greek and Indian and Spanish dance inspiration into her routines. She was also influenced by nature, for her NYE show in 1995, her concept was – the sea. “Her show opened with a huge clam shell on stage. As the music started, the lid was raised, and Samara slowly emerged, representing a pearl. Her costume was of the elaborate Lebanese variety, all in pearls,” (Samara: Sayyida Raks Sharqi, Best of Habibi). Even beyond incorporating different forms of dance, Samara had music written just for her (she also had her own band), and even used some American New Age fusion in her sets.

Samara’s distinct style gained her popularity and the name “Sayyida Raks Sharqi”(*) from the Lebanese press meaning, “Mistress of Oriental Dance.” After her first three years dancing in Lebanon (1981-1984), she began traveling and dancing around the world, ushering in her golden age from the mid 80’s-early 2000’s. She started out traveling to the cities of  Kano and Lagos in Nigeria and Abidjan in the Cote d’Ivoire. She later traveled to Europe and Arab countries as well.

Being so popular Samara had to regularly switch up her show, she would do this every 4-6 months, adding in new inspirations and music. She wanted to keep her fans on their toes and felt it was necessary for her to keep growing as an artist. She always wanted to out do herself, which in my opinion, is the best form of competition.

Learn more about Samara here.

Why I <3 HER:

You’ll see when you watch the videos! She is completely mesmerizing, I couldn’t stop watching video after video and I tried really hard to not make the longest youtube playlist of all time lol 😛 She’s very lively, incredibly creative and on top of that she has amazing technique. I’m also fascinated by her fusion of different styles, especially with all this talk I’ve been seeing recently about styles/categories of belly dance.

I hope you all enjoy the playlist!

xoxo

N

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjrrLz1h329-zpqReULnJZZd7m61raLOc]

*I don’t know why Raks has a K and Sharqi has a Q…anybody?

“Archaic dances still influence our moving center, for they are rooted in the cosmic memory of our planet. They may disappear into past but always find their way back to us through research work and spiritual identification.”

So Here’s The Deal: 

It’s hard to know where to start with Nelly Mazloum. She was an intellectual, an entrepreneur, an actress, a choreographer, a dancer, a teacher of modern, ballet, egyptian folkloric, and traditional oriental dance.

Where was Nelly from?

Nelly-Catherine Mazloum-Calvo was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1929. She was of Greek and Italian descent. Her father was a jeweler from Naples, Italy and her mother was a pianist from Anatolia. Her parents owned a hotel across the street from the Alhambra theatre.

How Nelly began to <3 Dance!

When Mazloum was just 2 years old she suffered from poliomyelitis, or paralysis of the legs. With lots of hard work from her pediatrician and his wife, who was a ballet teacher, Mazloum was able to walk again at age 4. And then there was no stopping her! “Dance became her passion and the very symbol of life.”

How It All Started: 

She officially began her dance career at age 5 and was called a prodigy child by the media. In 1939 she landed her first film role in a greek film, I Prosfygopoula (The Refugee Girl).

Nelly performed modern dance and ballet at the Casino Opera run by Badia Masanabi (click here to read more about Badia!). Although she danced in the early afternoon, she would stay into the evening to watch Samia Gamal (Read up on Samia!) and Tahia Carioca (Learn more about Tahia!).

Nelly’s golden years were the 1940’s. During this time she performed and acted in approximately 17 films. She performed oriental dance in only a few, Shahrazad (1941) and Soliman’s Ring (1946).

In 1947 she established a ballet school in Cairo for girls from elite society. She also trained dancers for the National Opera House in Cairo.

At 19 years old, in 1948, Nelly was named the Prima Ballerina at the Royal Opera House in Cairo.

read more

imageimage

 

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Mona El Said was discovered at a popular disco called Triang A Go Go in Cairo. It was there that Leila Murad told her, “You should dance, because you should be an artist.” That was all Mona needed to hear. She began dancing professionally at 13. Due to her fathers great disapproval of her dancing, Mona left Egypt in 1970 and moved to Lebanon to be able to pursue her dream of becoming a famous dancer.  She fulfilled her dream dancing in Beirut at the best clubs.

Mona found her way back to Cairo in 1975 as a dance star. Her fame, talent, and originality got her gigs at the most upscale Cairo hotels. As mentioned on her website, Mona highly disapproves of counting music saying that it stops you from feeling the music. She “focuses on feeling and emotion, new, innovative movement and creates magic on the stage with her energy.” Mona also notes that is important to listen to the speed of the music and not speed up unless the music calls for it.

Mona’s command of the stage and her audience and her regal presence earned her the nick name of “ Princess of Raks Sharki,” from non other than Tahia Carioca. Egyptian newspapers and magazines nick named her “Sa’mraa El Nile” or “The Bronze of the Nile.”

Aside from dancing in clubs and hotels Mona starred in seven Egyptian films and was featured in many others.

read more

image

image

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

We weren’t able to find munch info on this dancer but found this cool excerpt from an old publication:

“Ella Lola was born Sept. 2, 1883, in Boston, and made her first appearance as a dancer at the age of eleven years, and by her clever work has steadily come to the fore, until now she takes rank among the best in her class. She has been featured at various times with road companies, and has met with success at the leading vaudeville houses through the country.” – The New York Clipper, 19 April 1902, page 167.

read more

read more