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

Badia Masabni's Dancers and
The Stage Names of Actresses

 

Translated by Priscilla Adum

 

 

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Badia Masabni's Dancers

Badia Masabni and her Dancers

This photo of Badia Masabni and her dancers dates from the early 1930's. Click on it to see the full-sized copy of the photo. The caption identifies the dancers, as follows:

Casino Badia's Dance Troupe:

Editor's note: The numbers in [square brackets] refer to footnotes which appear below the dancer names.

From the right, standing:

Imtithal Fawzy, Gina[1], Fathya Sherif, Layla el 3amriya[2], Badia Masabni, and behind Badia is Bahiya Amer, then Hekmet Fahmy, Biancha, Salma, Fardous Shalaby

Sitting in the front:

Khayria[3], Kiki, Nina, Zeinat

 

Footnotes

[1] Although the original photo caption does not identify Gina's last name, it is probably Gina Markisian, an Egyptian-Armenian dancer.

[2] Layla el 3amriya also sometimes used the stage name Layla El Chakraa. Her real name was Juliet Masabni, and she was the adopted daughter of Badia.

[3] The original photo caption does not identify Khayria's last name. It's possible she's the same person as Khayria Sadki in another article, New and Second-Hand Costumes: Our Elegant and Not-So-Elegant Dancers

 

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The Names of Actresses

Editor's Note: This short segment about stage names accompanied the above photo of Badia Masabni's dancers. It did not contain a byline identifying the author.

It's unusual in Egypt, and even in the rest of the world, to find a stage or movie actress who uses her real name. For example, Greta Garbo isn't her real name as movie fans know.

The same thing occurs in Egypt where we find names such as Samira, Hekmet, Ihsan, and Nigma. These conceal such names as Khadouga, Nafousa, Sitohom, Esther, and Damiana which can be harsh on the ears and might be an obstacle to fame.

We mention this because of the new name that the former Juliet Masabni has chosen for herself, Layla el 3amriya. We think it's a beautiful name and the most beautiful thing about it is that it will always remind people of the name of the unlucky lover, Layla el 3amriya.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo of Layla el 3amriya, who also sometimes used the name Laila el Chakraa, appeared in a 1939 advertisement for Casino Badia when Badia Masabni's club was operating at the Majestic Theater. It was the year before Badia opened the Casino Opera.

Layla el 3amrya

 

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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. 

Priscilla

 

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