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

Lucy Talks About
Zouba el-Klobatiyya



Translated By Priscilla Adum


Translator's note: In a 2006 interview, Lucy talks about a variety of subjects, but a couple of paragraphs in the interview were particularly interesting. Lucy says that her mother was raised by Zouba el Kelobatiyya. As a child, Lucy's mother wandered off to watch some street dancers in her town and became lost. Below is a translation of the part of the article that discusses Lucy's mother and Zouba. The original full article can be found at

Editor's note: Below, the interviewer references Hassan al Imam. He was a very famous Egyptian movie director, with over 60 movies to his credit. He particularly had a reputation for choosing movies with tabloid-style story lines. He directed the 1972 megahit Khally Balak Men Zouzou as well as biopics of several famous dancers who led melodramatic lives including Badia Masabni, Bamba Kashar, Imtithal, and Shafiqa el-Koptiyya.



The Interview

INTERVIEWER: Lucy says that she isn't ashamed of the fact that she is a woman of humble origins. "So, what's your mother's story? Why has it been said that if Hassan el Imam were to make a film out of it people would say 'All this melodrama?'"

LUCY: My mother lived with Zouba El Kelobatiyya. She became lost as a child and grew up apart from her own mother. A long time passed before her family knew where she was. Zouba el Kelobatiyya was with some awalem working in the street and my mother wandered off to watch them. But she became lost. Madame Zouba took her with her to Cairo. My mother lived with her and married one of them.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Publicity photo of Lucy.


INTERVIEWER: So, where's the melodrama in all this?

LUCY: When my mother got lost, she had her school bag with her and inside of it was her home address. However, Zouba and the others didn't know how to read. The bag remained at my mother's until she was fifteen years old and got married. Then when Zouba died the bag appeared. It redeemed her of any wrongdoing, and the man whom my mother had married was the one who sought to find her family. When my mother returned to her original home she found that her mother and father had died.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: The seated woman is Zouba el-Klobatiyya. Photo made available by Syed Henkesh, Cairo, Egypt.

Zouba el-Klobatiyya



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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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