So what's crazy about this TBT is that last week we posted about Soraya Melik.
While re-searching Fawzia, we read an article from the Ottawa times, which you should all read because it's really cool. The article is an interview with Fawzia (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2194&dat=19620106&id=4VwlAAAAIBAJ&sjid=q-UFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2308,1187223) and the author is describing his settings etc. He starts to talk about how a dancer performed as he and Fawzia were talking and then, as Fawzia went to change for her number, the dancer introduced herself, and guess who she was???? Soraya Melik. How awesome is that?
Anyway…. here's the deal with Fawzia Amir Rahman.
Fawzia was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1930. She began her career dancing for King Farouk of Egypt from 1945-1947. Her father was a film producer and her sister, Amira Amir, an actress. Rahman came to the US when she was 17 and married a U.S. marine who had been stationed in Egypt.
While in the U.S. Rahman performed in places like Las Vegas, opening for Eartha Kitt and others. Eventually, after her first marriage ended she moved to Canada in 1957. She performed in the Latin Quarters and El Morocco in Montreal as headliner alongside dancers such as Ozel Turkbas and Samia Nasser. Eventually she opened her own nightclub, The Sahara Club, with silent partner and manager Harry Ship. Fawzia was all about authenticity and she wanted her club to be comfortable for her Arabic patrons. The waitresses all wore harem costumes and those who weren't Arabic looked as if they were. The club was finished in grey stone like the cellars of Cairo and she always had great authentic musicians like Lebanese oud player George Sawaya.
Fawzia had a couple run ins with the law. In 1960 she was charged with presenting an immoral dance. In 1961 she danced in a Montreal courtroom to prove her point that belly dancing was not inappropriate.The charges were dropped. The same year there was a brawl in her club and she was punched in the face. Needless to say none of that stopped Fawzia - talk about a tough girl.
In 1963 she was convicted on charges of staging an obscene dance at her club. She was fined $200 and ordered to be deported. Luckily the deportation part of the conviction was never carried out. Instead, the mayor at the time implemented an old zoning law that prohibited her club from selling liquor in order to shut her down and driver her out of town.
Why We Love Her:
Why don't we love her?
Fawzia was so freakin' cool. The more we read about her, the more we wanted to find out, it was like a mystery we were trying to solve. Reading all of the old articles about her was fascinating and we got a real sense of what she was like.
Aside from being an amazing belly dancer who was classy and poised and performed the " wildest series of stomach gyrations, " Fawzia was a pioneer. She brought Egyptian style to North America and she tried extremely hard to preserve a sacred part of her culture and to keep it as authentic as possible. We have a lot of respect for that.
She hated the term "belly dancing" she said " What i do is native folk dance. Little children learn it, and it is done in homes in Egypt as well as weddings and parties. The name belly dancing makes it sound vulgar, but this is not so. It is a movement of many parts of the body. It is not indecent dancing. It is not like take your clothes off. There is nothing obscene about it."
It is said that she had a great sense of style and wit. Her daughter, Christine Leadman said, "She was vibrant, vivacious, active and always a going concern. She liked to play poker and went to the casino. She worked out in a gym, took courses in English and always looked to do things to better herself."
Taught Gaila Asfour