Movies & TV Shows with Belly Dancers
Or Middle Eastern Touches

Table of Contents

Belly Dance Music

Movies

Made in the Middle East or North Africa

Gharam fi al-Karnak (Love in Karnak)

To Purchase from Amazon Try places that sell Arab movies with English subtitles, such as Rashid.
Year Released  1965
Dancers Mahmoud Reda, Farida Fahmy, Reda Troupe
Shira's Feedback Lots of excellent dancing, wide variety of dance styles, highly recommended!

A fellow named Salah (Mahmoud Reda) starts up a dance company (Reda Troupe) and prepares it to perform at the Luxor temple. Salah and his dancers must overcome a number of obstacles, but in the end they succeed and the movie ends with an extended dance sequence showing their debut performance. There are a total of 9 dance scenes in this movie. Some of them are very reminiscent of the Hollywood movie musical, in which people are doing ordinary everyday things (such as going to the train station to board the train to Luxor) and then dance just bursts out of them. Others are more folkloric, such as the rehearsal scenes and the grand finale. All of them are delightful to watch. Highly recommended!

Tamra Henna (Henna Flower)

To Purchase from Amazon Try places that sell Arab movies with English subtitles, such as Rashid.
Year Released  1957
Dancer Naima Akef
Shira's Feedback This is my favorite Arab-language movie with dancing. There are three dance scenes featuring Naima Akef, and I love the way she dances!

This movie is sort of an Arab version of My Fair Lady. A rich fellow named Ahmed uses his wealth to help a Gypsy dancer (Naima Akef) transform herself into an upper-class lady. In the first two dance scenes which are 5 minutes and 3 minutes respectively, she performs as the star of the show at a moulid (saint's day carnival), which offers us a glimpse into what one of the environments for public belly dancing was like before the nightclub industry arose in Egypt. In the third dance scene, which lasts about 3 1/2 minutes, she is a guest at a society party and is bullied by her rival into dancing.

Habib el Omr (Love of My Life)

To Purchase from Amazon Try places that sell Arab movies with English subtitles, such as Rashid.
Year Released  1947
Dancer Samia Gamal
Shira's Feedback Of all the clips I've seen of Samia, the ones in this movie aren't my favorite because most of the music and accompanying dance is very, very Westernized and not very Oriental. Still, it's nice to see some of her dance scenes in the context of the movie they come from instead of isolated on a compilation of dance clips.

Six musicians (including Farid al-Atrache) and a dancer (Samia Gamal) travel from the small town to the big city to seek their fortune in show business. The dance clips all show Samia performing in various nightclub environments. The editing interferes with enjoying the dance scenes by cutting away from Samia too often to show close-ups of other characters. It seems to treat the dancing itself as unimportant, as peripheral.

Khally Balak Men Zouzou (Pay Heed to What Zouzou Says)

To Purchase from Amazon Try places that sell Arab movies with English subtitles, such as Rashid.
Year Released  1972
Dancer Souad Hosni
Shira's Feedback Lots of dancing, insights into Egyptian culture of the 1970's. Other movies have stronger dancers, but still definitely enjoyable.

A young woman named Zouzou leads a dual life - college student by day, working dancer by night. There are 7 dance scenes total. These include three dance scenes in which the character Zouzou performs as a soloist, two featuring a group of college students rehearsing an ensemble piece, one in which Zouzou's clan dances around at a party, and a brief one in which a fellow does a comic dance in his boxer shorts. Souad Hosni was never a working dancer - she was an actress who was coached to dance for this movie role. But even though dancing wasn't her primary profession, she performs well and this movie is enjoyable to watch.

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Television Shows

Batman

Episode Season 2. Hizzoner the Penguin (17th Episode)
First Aired November 2, 1966
Dancers Little Egypt
Shira's Feedback Wild, playful, fun to watch.

In this episode of Batman, the Penguin runs for mayor. His campaign rally showcases the band Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Little Egypt does a high-energy belly dance performance with lots of spinning and torso undulations. It's about a minute in length.

I Dream of Jeannie
To Purchase from Amazon U.S. Canada U.K.
Episode Season 1. The Lady in the Bottle (1st Episode)
First Aired September 18, 1965
Dancers Barbara Eden and Others
Shira's Feedback Silly and playful, but short

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Jeannie transforms Tony's living room into a harem scene. She and some lovely ladies that she blinks in for the occasion dance a bit for Tony. Jeannie herself does some good head slides and hip-twist shimmies. The other women have chicken-wing arms as they attempt to do hip lifts and other moves, then they run in a circle around Tony. It's silly and fun to watch, but very short - only about a minute in length.

Max Headroom

To Purchase I got my set from www.rewindtv.biz
Episode Season 1. Body Banks (3rd Episode)
First Aired April 14, 1987
Dancers Suhaila Salimpour
Shira's Feedback Entertaining, but hard to see the dancing

A young Suhaila Salimpour dances in a seedy bar on a stage next to an enormous pig. The mood lighting and makeup make her appear rather unsavory, but her dancing is beautiful and fluid. The dance scene is short, and it's often hard to see her because she is mostly in the background while the show's main characters talk. Altogether, there is about 1 1/2 minutes of dancing, but only about 30 seconds of that is easy to see.

Sex and the City
To Purchase from Amazon U.S. Canada U.K.
Episode Season 2. The Awful Truth (2nd Episode)
First Aired June 13, 1999
Dancers Raven and Shantal Riley
Shira's Feedback Insulting to belly dancers.

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Although belly dancers are present and appear to be "real" belly dancers, there isn't much on-camera dancing - there's a bit of arm-waving and the occasional veil floats past the camera. The script makes two references to the belly dancers doing lap dances (even though real belly dancers certainly don't, and there is no lap dancing done by the dancers in this episode), and Mr. Big makes an annoying remark about having no money for cab fare because he stuffed all his 20's into the belly dancer's crotch. Yech.

Sex and the City
To Purchase from Amazon U.S. Canada U.K.
Episode Season 3. Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl (4th Episode)
First Aired June 25, 2000
Dancers Jenna Rosenberg
Shira's Feedback Huh?

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This is the episode where Carrie and Miranda, in an effort to be more feminine, sign up for a "Goddess Workout" class. This is also the episode of Sex and the City that Dolphina refers to in her marketing materials when she talks about how one of her belly dance students at Crunch wrote her class into an episode. Well, there isn't much belly dancing to it. Mostly, people in the class are aimlessly waving a pair of scarves around in the air. The closest thing to belly dancing is when the instructor tells everyone to "Pop your hips!" Though I rather enjoy it when the two heroines decide they're out of there. All in all, kind of boring and I don't see what it has to do with belly dance. But if you don't like all the New Age-y chakra talk on Dolphina's DVD's, you might enjoy the way this episode makes fun of her.

The Simpsons

To Purchase from Amazon U.S. Canada U.K.
Episode Season 1. Homer's Night Out (10th Episode)
First Aired March 25, 1990
Dancer Princess Kashmir (Animated Character)
Shira's Feedback Insulting to belly dancers.

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Homer goes to a bachelor party, which features a belly dancer as entertainment. Her skimpy costume is basically a bikini with a chiffon scarf tucked into the hip at each side. Later in the episode, when Homer goes looking for her, the places he visits in his search include girlie clubs - the sorts of places that have Vegas-style showgirls in bikinis and feathers.

Star Trek: The Original Series - The Menagerie, Part 2
To Purchase from Amazon On DVD: U.S. Canada U.K.
On VHS tape: U.S. Canada U.K.
Episode Season 1, Episode 12
First Aired November 24, 1966
Dancers Susan Oliver
Shira's Feedback A reasonably positive portrayal, actually. Very short.

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There's only about 45 seconds of actual dancing in this episode, but it's quite intense. A character named Vina, with extraterrestrial assistance, crafts an illusion of herself as a sexy Orion Slave Girl. In the Star Trek mythos, Orion Slave Girls are the most desirable females in the galaxy. The dancer is a seductress, a vamp, a creature to be desired.

Star Trek: The Original Series - Wolf in the Fold
To Purchase from Amazon On DVD: U.S. Canada U.K.
On VHS tape: U.S. Canada U.K.
Episode Season 2, Episode 14 (Episode 36 overall)
First Aired December 22, 1967
Dancers Tanya Lemani
Shira's Feedback A positive portrayal of our dance form with excellent dancing.


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This episode opens with a belly dance scene. A dancer named Kara (Tanya Lemani) performs in a nightclub sort of setting as the officers from the Enterprise watch with great interest. The behavior of the audience is somewhat stereotypical - they're a group of men salivating over a beautiful woman, and Captain Kirk has arranged for the dancer to come to the table after her performance to meet Scotty. But I like it in spite of this because the dancing is worth watching.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

To Purchase from Amazon Not available on home video. Look on Comedy Central for reruns of the version hosted by Drew Carey, and you may be lucky enough to find it.
Episode Season 5, Episode 25 of the version hosted by Drew Carey
First Aired July 25, 2003
Dancers Veena & Neena Bidashi
Shira's Feedback Not much dancing, but I enjoyed lots of laughs! I feel good about how they represented belly dancers!

Whose Line is an improvised comedy show, so the appearance of the twins focuses on being a catalyst for comedy, not on dancing. For that reason, if you're looking for a dance performance, you'll probably be disappointed. Identical twin dancers Veena and Neena appear in three sketches as guests. In the first sketch, "Duet", Wayne Brady and Chip Esten sing an improvised song as the twins dance around them with snakes. It's almost 4 minutes in length. In the second sketch, "Living Scenery", Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie use the twins as living props, such as a milkshake machine, a craps table, and a vibrating bed in the hotel room. This one is about 5 minutes in length. In the third sketch, the twins provide a belly dancing lesson to the regular cast as they read the credits.

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Other Lists of TV Shows and Movies

Here are some other lists of television shows and movies, some compiled by Shira, others compiled by other people.

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