Google doodles on late Egyptian belly dancer, actress Samia Gamal

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Mar 2017

Google celebrates the icon on what would have been her 93rd birthday


"On what would be her 93rd birthday, we celebrate Samia Gamal, an Egyptian icon whose talents are admired as much today by aspiring dancers and film fans as they were in the height of her fame," reads Google's comment on the newly released doodle.

Born as Zaynab Ibrahim Mahfuz on 5 March 1924, Gamal began dancing at a very young age under the tutelage of Badia Masabni (1892-1974) a well-known belly dancer of Lebanese-Syrian origins, based in Egypt. Among Masabhi's older students was Tahiya Karioka (1915–1999) who also trained Gamal.

Gamal's consumate skill landed her belly dancing roles in Egyptian cinema, including dozens of films starring famed musician Farid Al Atrash. By the 1940s, she had become a star, who King Farouk proclaimed the “National Dancer of Egypt.”

Gamal incorporated many elements in her dancing, from ballet to Latin music and was known as the first belly dancer to perform in high-heeled shoes. 

In 1958, Gamal married famous actor Roshdy Abaza with whom she starred in numerous movies. The couple divorced in 1977.

She stopped dancing in 1972, but after a short break returned to the screen as an actress. 

Samia Gamal passed away on 1 December 1994, at the age of 70.

The doodle is regional, covering North Africa and a number of Middle East countries.

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