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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!!!! 

Well…I couldn’t find much info about this Golden Age beauty – but luckily there are tons of videos! So check them out below and let me know what you think!

Happy Almost Friday!



LOVE this one!

very cool that she’s using zills!


*Please note these videos were not uploaded by The Belly Blog. They were found on Vimeo and uploaded by The Carovan! 🙂



Kitty was born in 1927 in Alexandria, Egypt to Greek parents. She was famous for her fusion of western and oriental style and she danced in almost 50 films! Unfortunately, that’s about all the info I could find on this vintage beauty.

WHY  I <3 HER:

Her positive playful energy and her smile 🙂 of course she has some killer moves too 😉

“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.

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This week I  made a really cool playlist for you guys of the legend Sugar Mary Vartanian! Make sure you listen – it’s some classic stuff!

We are always so interested to hear stories of 8th avenue back in the day. 8th avenue between 23rd to 40th streets in NYC used to be the place to be. The avenue was lined with clubs that played Turkish, Armenian, Greek, and Jewish music. One of the stars of 8th ave was Sugar Mary Vartanian – or as she was known  – Seker (Shakar in Armenian) Mary. Seker is Turkish for Sugar.

Sugar Mary came from Istanbul. She played the mandolin in France and ended up as a cabaret singer in NYC. During the summer, she like many other Armenian musicians would perform in NY’s Catskills, in what was called the “Yogurt Belt”, because of all the Armenian resorts.  She was known for the sultry tone of her voice and her wooden spoons that she would clap in each hand.

Click below to see a video of her performing when she was in her 90’s!


So freakin’ cool !!! ^^^^^^





Shooq is known as the first belly dancer of Egypt. She reached the peak of her career in 1871.

She established an honorable status for herself amongst the wealthy and important families of Egypt, she was the first dancer that was able to accomplish this.

She was the only dancer allowed to perform at parties hosted by the Viceroy. When he opened the Suez Canal, she danced at the ceremony.

In 1871, Shooq was invited to dance at the wedding of an upper class family. When she took breaks the family would dance for fun. It was there that she saw Shafiqa Al Qibityya dance for the first time. Soon Shafiqa became Shooq’s protégée.

Shooq became an example for many dancers like Badia Masabni, Tahia Carioca, Samia Gamal, etc. to look up to.

Shafiqa Al-Qibtiyya:


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