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Sorry for the delayed #TBT/ #FBF post guys! The inspiration for today’s post was found in a Facebook group called 1970’s Belly Dance! Which is a great page that promotes discussion about the art form and provides images and inspiration of dancers from the past. Anywayyyy…


Lys (sometimes Liz) and Lyn Jamal, also known as Leila and Lamia were from (Cairo?/Alexandria?), Egypt. They were billed as the “Jamal Twins,” which they were not lol, and sometimes, more accurately, as the “Jamal Sisters.” According to 1970’s BD, the sisters lived across the street from Nadia Gamal and her family (jealous!!!!). The sisters were featured dancers in several films in Egypt and India. They came to the U.S. in the 50’s and they became a  “major sensation on the American cabaret scene in the 1950s, and a significant influence on many American dancers of the era (notably Morocco and Dahlena)” (Occidental Dancer). They were also close with Ibrahim Farrah and danced in his show at Fazil’s Dance Center in NYC.

Interesting fact : according to Moroccothe twins who had each been married for a long time, were still accompanied by both parents to their gigs. Their parents would even sit and wait in their dressing room between shows.


See for yourself!

From the film Anisa Hanafi – Skip to 22:45!!!! 

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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