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

Farid al-Atrache and
Beba Ibrahim



Translated by Priscilla Adum





Translator's Note: Farid El Atrash didn't pay much attention to Samia Gamal when she began working at Badia's club in the late 1930s. He was involved in a romantic relationship with another dancer at the club. In fact, they lived together. Her name was Beba Ibrahim.

They kept the relationship a secret from Badia Masabni because Badia was very strict and did not permit the employees at her club to become involved with each other romantically. When Badia found out about their relationship, all hell broke loose and she fired Beba Ibrahim.

The article on this page talks about the incident. It also mentions that Badia Masabni stood in the way of a romance between Samia Gamal and Farid El Atrash while they worked for her. Unfortunately we were able to find only this one page which is part of a larger article, and I don't know what magazine it's from. The rest of the article isn't available at this time. The photo at the top of the article shows the Casino Opera. Here's the English translation of the article on the page.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: In a 1966 interview, the interviewer asked Badia Masabni what advice she would give to dancers wanting to become famous. Her response included, "Her mind must not be always thinking about men."

Click on the images on this page to see more detail.

Badia Masabni Quote



The Article

Badia Masabni was successful in making Taheya Carioca a famous dancer and a shining name. She also succeeded in doing the same with Samia Gamal who, just a short time after she began to work at the casino, had her name and picture featured on the casino's door.

In addition to dance, Badia also taught Samia the workplace rules of the cabaret. Among these rules was that employees were not to have any romances or to become emotionally involved. [*with other employees of the club*] However, the warning went unheeded because Samia already thought of one of her co-workers as her dream man. This dream man was the singer Farid El Atrash, who at the time was one of the most successful performers that Badia presented in her sala. Samia developed a crush upon hearing him, not only at the casino but even before that, when her stepmother didn't allow her to go out and she would listen to him from a neighbor's radio.

At that time, Farid El Atrash didn't care about Samia, nor did he even glance her way. He viewed her in the same way as any of the other dancers in Badia's troupe. He was living a romance with the dancer Beba Ibrahim. They were very careful to keep this romance hidden, fearful that Badia would discover it and that they would end up getting fired.

Farid kept his relationship with Beba hidden, until one day Badia heard about it from one of her spies in the sala. She became furious, because she had observed that Beba's mingling with the audience had decreased noticeably and she thought to herself, "So, the reason behind that is that she's in love with Farid El Atrash and she wants to appease him."

And Badia Began to Play Her Game

One day, Farid El Atrash was waiting for Beba in a taxi in which he'd gone to pick her up after work to take her to the house they lived in. Just as Beba arrived and hugged Farid, Badia put her hands inside the taxi and dragged Beba out by her clothes. Badia pulled her out to the sidewalk, smacking her hard and chastising her for her romance with Farid el Atrash.

Threatened to Fire Farid al-Atrache

Badia didn't just smack her hard, but she also fired Beba. Farid tried to fix things, but Badia threatened to fire him as well. She gave him the ultimatum of either severing ties with the sala or with Beba Ibrahim. Farid agreed to cut off his relationship with Beba and to remain at the sala. He was planning to trick Badia so that he could continue working but still remain with Beba without Badia knowing it. However, Beba would not agree to that, and she too made him choose between herself and Badia. When she saw that he continued to work at Badia's, she did not like it.

*** End of Article ***

Captions on the Article Page

Top: Badia Masabni 

Lower Box: The lights of Casino Badia when they illuminated the Cairo Night.

Lower caption at the bottom of the page:  Badia separated Farid and Samia.

Original Magazine Page



Translator's Closing Comments

Apparently, Farid and Samia's relationship began shortly after this, after Beba Ibrahim and Farid El Atrash broke up. Samia only worked at Badia Masabni's club for one year, so after she left the club there was no problem (as far as Badia was concerned) that she and Farid could be involved in a romantic relationship.

Beba Ibrahim (an Egyptian) was a different person from Beba Ezz el-Din (a Lebanese dancer), who also worked at Badia's clubs.

Farid al-Atrache was a notorious womanizer who had many girlfriends over time. He was also engaged to singer Shadia at one point but broke up with her at the last minute.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This is a still from the closing scene of Habib el-Omr (Love of a Lifetime), the 1947 movie which co-starred Samia Gamal and Farid al-Atrache.

Samia Gamal and Farid al-Atrache



Video Clips of Beba Ibrahim Dancing

Sha Min La Shai

This clip of Beba Ibrahim appears in the 1938 Egyptian film Sha Min La Shai. She was a dancer at Badia Masabni's club who only appeared in a handful of films. Badia Masabni fired her from her sala when she discovered that Beba Ibrahim was involved in a romance and living together with Farid El Atrash who was also employed at Badia's club. Badia strictly forbade romantic relationships between her employees, and they were all well aware of this rule.

This clip is a wedding scene. The bride is the niece of the Sultan and she has stubbornly refused to marry one of the generals in her uncle's army. So as a punishment, the Sultan has forced her to marry one of his prisoners of war, played by Abdel Ghani el Sayed. This is why the bride looks so unhappy and the bridegroom looks stunned.

Beba Ibrahim

Al Mottahama

This clip of Beba Ibrahim dancing appears in the 1942 film Al Mottahama (The Suspect). Beba was a Golden Era dancer who worked at Badia Masabni's club. In this movie she is a dancer at a club and this scene is part of the nightclub show. The man at the beginning of the clip who calls out "Tamri Hendi" is selling cold tamarind juice as is still done to this day in Egypt.

Beba Ibrahim

Hassan wa Naima

This clip is from the 1959 film Hassan wa Naima (Hassan and Naima) which starred Soad Hosny (in the window looking down) and Moharram Fouad.

There are several dancers in this clip. The scene shows a wedding celebration, segregating men and women. The women are all upstairs in a large room looking down out of the window, and the men are gathered downstairs.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Beba Ibrahim appears in a dance scene from the film Hassan wa Naima (Hassan and Naima).

The first woman who dances is upstairs with the other women. She is not an actress; but rather, a fellahi (peasant) woman hired for the film as are several of the others in this scene.

Beba Ibrahim

The second woman who dances and ties a mandil (scarf) around her hips is beloved Egyptian actress Wedad Hamdi who was well known for playing the role of the humble servant in many Egyptian films. Wedad Hamdy met a tragic end in 1994 when she was murdered in her own home by a trusted employee: the film studio's messenger boy who had gone to her apartment to deliver her filming schedules. His motive was robbery.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Beba Ibrahim appears in a dance scene from the film Hassan wa Naima (Hassan and Naima).

Downstairs,where the men are gathered, the dancer who peforms in the heavy assuit dress and hip scarf is Beba Ibrahim. Beba was a dancer at Badia Masabni's club in the early days, and she appeared in only a handful of films. In this clip, she is older than when she worked at Badia's place, and every bit as good a dancer.

The singer is Moharram Fouad who at one time was married to Taheya Carioca, though very briefly.

Beba Ibrahim



Related Articles




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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