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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?

 

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

We know it’s no #TBT or #FBF,  but better late than never right? #SentimentalSunday

Although there isn’t much info on the beautiful Nahed Sabri, we did come across a post online and an article by Kamala on the Gilded Serpant.

Nahed danced in the 60’s and 70’s she was featured in many movies including the famous “Cairo.” According to Kamala, Nahed was “a little spit fire!” She was seemingly a very passionate woman whose shows were “as hot as she was.” She was also a bit moody and when she felt disrespected or she didn’t like the music, she would just walk off the stage and that would be the end of the show. Even though the musicians were scared of her, they respected her and said she was their favorite dancer to work with.

Nahed was very … feisty… we thought this story Kamala told was hilarious:

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image                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Photo by Lauren Weissler

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SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Shooq:

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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