Thursday, 26 May 2011

Stars of the 1940s: Hagar Hamdi

Hagar was a Golden Age (1940s-1950s) star, along with Tahia Carioca, Samia Gamal and Naima Akef, but she's not quite so well known now. And by 'well known' I mean 'at least at the periphery of the conciousness of a handful of people who are quite geeky about the niche, arcane subject of belly dance and its history'.

("Famous" is a relative term, innit? Last weekend, some friends came over and the booze was flowing and somehow I wound up demonstrating a hagallah. Before I began my awkward journey across the living room I said "Please, don't think that this is a great example of belly dancing. Randa Kamel - she's a belly dancer, you know what I mean?"

I looked at the blank faces all around me and realised they had never heard of Randa and didn't know what I meant. Sigh. Still, at least you delicious companions in camels understand me, eh?)

Right! On with the dancing:

From 1947 comedy Abou Halmous:



From 1949's Bent al Omeda comes this surprisingly salacious number:



The mask is a disguise. This character is dancing for her husband, but he's a cheat and doesn't recognise her as his wife. That plot sounds .... ridiculous. But I'm sure I've seen that same storyline used in a music video for some English outfit recently.

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