Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Not harem dancing: Durra in "Where the Spies Are"

I've posted so many scenes of harem dancing (i.e. not belly dancing by not belly dancers) in old movies, that it's easy to forget that from time-to-time I may find myself looking at real raqs. Meet Durra and her brother Edmund:

Here's the synopsis left by The Caro Van on this clip:
"From a 1965 film [Where the Spies Are] which starred David Niven as a doctor turned unwilling spy. The bellydancer in this scene is Durra. Originally from Baghdad, Durra was self-taught. After moving from Iraq she was UK-based and appeared in the Beatles movie Help and in an episode of the series The Sweeney. [In Cockney rhyming slang Sweeney Todd = police flying squad] The male dancer at the end of the clip is Durra's brother, Edmund.

Many thanks to Theresa, who is Durra's granddaughter, for supplying the information on her grandmother who was one of the pioneers of Middle Eastern dance in the UK."
For those of you who haven't enjoyed Octopussy's adorable attempt to bring Bond into the age of The Female Eunuch, here's the climactic battle scene. If you can spot Durra in the midst of this incredily hot mess, holler in the comments! (There is no prize, soz.) It goes without saying that Octopussy is Jilly the Belly Dancing Colossal Squid's favourite Bond film.


  1. Wow, that is a male belly dancer! I have very limited knowledge of male belly dancers in movies, vintage or otherwise, but I do gather that they aren't shown that frequently? Especially in movies that cater to general audience (: straight men), I assume?

  2. I have been trying to look out some more vintage male belly dancing but it's rare as hens' teeth. And that wee glimpse of Edmund has not really scratched the itch. Some of the best belly dancers in the world right now are men - it's too bad their moment has come when the vogue for dance scenes in non-dance movies seems to have passed.

    How about putting male and female belly dancers in the next edition of the Street Dance franchise?!

  3. I'll be trying to add Durra to IMDb