Saturday, March 10, 2007

Samia Gamal & Farid Al Atrache - Al Rabia (The Spring)

Samia Gamal (Arabic: سامية جمال‎), birth name: Zaynab Ibrahim Mahfuz), (1924-December 1, 1994) was a famous Egyptian belly dancer and film actress. Born in the Egyptian town of Wana in 1924, Samia's family moved just months later to Cairo and settled near the Khan El-Khalili bazaar.

Samia Gamal met Badia Masabni, the founder of modern Oriental Dance who invited her to join her dance company. Badia Masabni gave her the stage name Samia Gamal.

At first, she studied under Badia and Badia's star dancer at the time, Tahiya Karioka. However she soon became a respected soloist developing her own style, incorporating techniques from ballet and Latin dance into her solo performances.

She was also one of the first to perform with high-heeled shoes on stage. She starred in many Egyptian films next to the famous Farid Al Attrach with whom she was romatically linked. It is claimed that because of Farid's social position, he refused to marry Samia. Being a Druze prince it would bring too much shame to his family for him to marry a belly dancer. In 1949, Egypt's King Farouk proclaimed Samia Gamal "The National Dancer of Egypt", which brought US attention to the dancer.

Samia Gamal stopped dancing in 1972 when she was nearly in her 50s but began again after given advice by Samir Sabri. She then danced until the early 1980s. Samia Gamal died on December 1, 1994, at 70 years of age in Cairo, Egypt.

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