Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Badia Masabni's Dancers in 1935


By Priscilla Adum





EDITOR'S NOTE: Click on the image immediately to the right to see the original photo in more detail. To see a version of it that is labeled with the names of the dancers identified in the caption, scroll down and click on the version of the photo that appears below.

This photograph was taken inside Casino Badia in 1935, which was 5 years before the Casino Opera opened. The exact date of the photo is not known.

This photo gives us a rare glimpse into what dancers were wearing on stage at the time.

  • All are wearing shoes.
  • Some of the dancers are wearing choli style of tops with coin edgings, and they have bare midriffs.
  • Several are wearing triangular coin hip scarves tied at one side.
  • They are also wearing coin-edged layered skirts very similar to the chiffon skirts that are sold in costume stores in Egypt even today.

The costumes with the short tops with butterfly sleeves edged in coins and paired with the coin edged skirts are consistent with what Taheya Carioca wore in the 1936 film Khafir Al Darak for her first onscreen dance performance.

Badia Masabni's Dancers in 1935

As for the performers themselves, the caption underneath the picture identifies the following:

  • There is Badia Masabni in the center of the photo.
  • A young Farid el Atrash kneels in the front to the left of her.
  • The other kneeling man is Ibrahim Hamouda.
  • The third woman from the right, wearing a white costume with a hipscarf tied around her hips is monologist/actress Fathya Sherif. She was a a regular performer at Badia's club.
  • The sixth woman from the right standing with her arm raised is Laila el Amriya who was Badia Masabni's adoptive daughter Juliet. She was also sometimes known as Laila el-Chakraa or "the blonde Laila".
  • The second woman from the left wearing a white costume and coin hip scarf, smiling widely, is Beba Ezz El Din.
  • Standing directly behind Farid El Atrash with her arm raised and wearing satin trousers is Taheya Carioca.

Aside from the dancers identified in the caption, I've also noticed:

  • The fourth woman from the left standing in the back wearing a white scarf around her neck is not identified in the picture's caption but I recognize her as the famous dancer Hekmet Fahmy who was also a regular performer at Badia's club.
  • The woman standing immediately to Badia Masabni's right with her arm raised above Badia's head looks like it could be Gina Markisian, but I'm not 100% certain.
Dancers with Names



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About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 




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