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

Yousef El Sherif Discusses
Zouba el-Klobatiyya

 

Translated By Priscilla Adum

 

[Translator's note: This interview appeared in Al Masri Al Youm (Today's Egyptian) on May 2, 2009. The journalist conducting the interview is Nashwa el Hoofi. She interviewed retired veteran journalist Yousef El Sherif, who reminisced about the old times in Egypt. He spoke about his memories of meeting many famous Egyptian personalities during his long career as a journalist. These included Abdel Gamal Nasser and Oum Kalthoum. He also spoke about an interview he conducted in 1960 with the legendary Egyptian dancer Zouba El Klobatiyya. Though I have not been able to locate the original full length interview, Yousef El Sherif recounted to Nashwa el Hoofi several interesting details of that interview and she included them in this article. I've translated the paragraph where she reports what he told her about his meeting with the famous dancer. Yousef El Sherif died in 2010, one year after Nashwa El Hoofie interviewed him for this article.]

El Hoofi's interview with El Sherif can be found here: http://www.almasry-alyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=209321&IssueID=1393

Youssef

 

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Memories of Zouba

Nashwa:

Yousef El Sherif heard about Zouba el Klobatiyya, the old Mohamed Ali Street dancer who was so famous that she rivaled Shekoko in fame, so much so that there were even small gypsum dance figurines of her being sold as well. [As there were of Shekoko.] They [the figurines] portrayed her dancing in a show which typically began with a slow introduction dance, then followed by a dance done to the melody, and finally a fast zambalek* vibration number as a finale. She told Yousef El Sherif when he met her in 1960 that she had retired from dancing. She told him quite emphatically that there was even a fabric made with her name printed all over it, and also handkerchiefs with her name on them. And why not? She was the first to dance with a brass shamadan that weighed 10 kilograms [22 pounds] and for doing this dance she earned 30 Egyptian pounds** [per performance] which was a very high price at that time.

Notes:

*Zambalek means a spring. Someone who dances or moves like a zambalek is someone who dances very fast and springy.

** 30 pounds was an extraordinarily high sum. Compare this amount to the 6 pounds PER MONTH that Samia Gamal earned at Badia Masabni's club when she started out. Zouba made 30 pounds for EACH performance.

 

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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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