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

Gawaher, Lebanese Golden-Era Dancer

 

 

Translated By Priscilla Adum

 

 

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Introduction

Note from the Translator: Gawaher was a Lebanese belly dancer who enjoyed a brief career in Egypt and danced in about 13 or so films. After working in several salas, she began a film career that spanned one decade. Her name is spelled in imdb.com as Gawahir.

When she got married in the mid-1960's, she retired from dancing and moved back to Lebanon.

Gawaher (whose real name was En3am Kezhoun) later came out of retirement when she divorced and she appeared in a few more Egyptian films. Her ex-husband, a Syrian pharmacist, refused to allow her to have any contact with her daughter after their divorce.

Gawaher was born September 15, 1930.

This picture of her appeared in Kawakeb's July 10, 1956 issue along with a short article written by Kawakeb's Beirut correspondent, Sindbad.

Photo Credit: The scanned image of this article that was used for this translation originally appeared on the Egyzaman.com web site. This site no longer exists.

Gawaher Article

 

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The Sad Gawaher

The Atomic Dancer Gawaher visited me at Kawakeb's offices in Beirut. She was wearing a summery fabric dress made at Carven of Paris, and she asked me, "What's your opinion of me?"

"In regards to what?" I answered.

And she said, "About [my] dance, art, beauty and elegance?

I swallowed hard and said, "Great!"

At this point, Gawaher raised her head and said, "Then why haven't you written about me in Kawakeb Magazine? Am I not good enough or what?"

I swallowed hard again and said, "But today you live the life of a housewife and not of an artist. Can we ask you, what was the reason for your retirement?"

Gawaher stood up and said, "I understand, and you're right. I'm torn between my love of art and my love for him."

I disliked asking her who the lucky man was because it's none of our business.

Gawaher continued talking and said, "He doesn't want me to appear onstage in a belly dance costume."

I asked her, "Do you love him that much?"

Gawaher responded and said, "Up to now, I've been unable to distinguish, and I can't decide which I love more. Him, or art."

And then the [former] Atomic Dancer sadly left.

Gawaher

 

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In Cinema

Tahia el Regala

Before she got married, Gawaher appeared with Shekoko in the 1954 film Tahia el Regala (Long Live Men). You can watch the video at https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6sbql6. In this scene:

  • Shekoko is singing about the disadvantages of marrying an old man for his money. They simulate the wedding of a young girl and an old man.
  • Then he sings about how in a month she'll be a widow. They show the old man dead in a chair wearing his death shroud with the mourners all around him.
  • Next he sings about how much better it is for a young woman to marry a man closer to her own age. They show a young couple who are about the same age.
  • After the show is over, the three characters (played by Karem Mahmoud, Shekoko and Gawaher) congratulate each other on a good show. They are joined by their father-in-law played by well known Egyptian comedy actor Abdel Fatah El Kosary.

El Hob el Khaled

After her divorce, Gawaher came out of retirement and appeared in the 1965 film El Hob el Khaled (Immortal Love) along with Nadia El Gindi. You can watch the video at https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6sbje5.

Gawaher and Nadia el Gindi both play the roles of dancers at a club who are both girlfriend of criminals. Their men are involved in a ring of smugglers that sell ancient Egyptian artifacts to foreigners.

Nadia el Gindi was an actress, not a professional dancer, but she held dancing parts in several films. In this clip, both women are rehearsing a dance number.

 

 

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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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