A vintage magazine article from the 1930’s, featuring popular dancers in Egypt at the time. (Taheya Karioka appears on the left page towards the top.)
Translation of the Article:
Title in bold on the left page (upper right-hand corner):
New and Second-Hand Dance Costumes
The Stylish, and the Not-so-Stylish, Looks for Dancers
Captions on the Left Page:
Every dancer tries to be and look unique among her fellow dancers, especially in costume. That’s why every day we see continuous innovation in costume-making. So far, we know that the best dance costumes, which cost tens of pounds, are those owned by the famous dancer: [Unreadable name]. Other professional dancers themselves acknowledge that she makes good money by avoiding to wear any “ordinary” costume that a second-hand dancer would typically wear.
The famous dancer, Horeyya Mohamed, used to make her own costumes when she first started dancing, but every costume she made was a replica of another dancer’s. Her mother noticed that the other dancers were starting to copy her, so Horeyya decided to design costumes herself.
Hekmat Fahmy used to get her costumes made by the best designers before traveling to Budapest, but lately, she started creating her own costumes. Her first experience in making a costume was when she was danced at nightclubs in Europe, and for this reason she greatly cherishes and values that costume. Since then, she’ll never visit a tailor.
It is known that Karima is very jealous of her fellow dancers. Every season she asks her tailor to make her a new costume that she considers the “Costume of the Season”. Karima was longing to own this season’s latest costume, so she snagged it before Badeea began dancing for the season. But “the wind does not blow as the vessels wish”, because Badeea prohibited Karima from dancing this season claiming that she got a little overweight! And that’s when Karima exclaimed “But why let Mary George dance then?!”
It’s important to mention how these dancers pay for their costumes. Some of them pay one sum of cash, some pay in installment, and some… Try to stall! The dancers who are known to have a good reputation of delivering their payments are Hekmat Fahmy, Karima Fahmy, and [Unreadable name].
Captions on the Second Page:
On the other hand, Fat’heyya Fouad had a fight with one of the tailors last week because he was asking for the money that she owed him for a costume that he made for her one year ago! Likewise, the dancer Kawthar also stalls in delivering her payment. Whenever she asks her tailor to make a new costume for her, he raises his head to the sky saying “please God, let it end!” We don’t know what he means by that, whether he wants to finish the costume or get rid of the dancer!
Since that Taheyya Karioka carries prestige among the others, she doesn’t deal with tailors herself; instead, she usually deals with other dancers.
For example, this is how she would converse with Karima Ahmed:
Taheyya: Sister, I noticed you have a really nice costume, are you interested in selling it?
Karima: Sure you can have it.
Taheyya: For how much?
Karima: 4 pounds.
If Karima gets the 4 pounds in 4 months, that’s a good profit for her!
The dancer that is highly reputable at making payments, and doesn’t cause any problems, is Hekmat Kamel. Khayreyya Sadeq also pays the full price for every costume she buys.
At many times, there are dancers that appear elegant in front of a crowd, but in reality, they have a cold personality. Like the proverb says: “Those who notice how nicely a decorated door looks, don’t know how dry it is from the inside!”
In Egypt, costume-making is notably dominated by two tailors that go by the names of George and Ellen. The first is the tailor for the “aristocrat” dancers and the second is for the common ones.
Names of All The Dancers Featured in the Article:
Top: Taheyya Karyokka
Bottom-left: Khayreyya Sadeq
Top-left: Fat’heyya Fouad
Top-right: Hekmat Kamel
Center: Mounira Mohamed
Bottom-right: Hekmat Fahmy, (wearing the costume she made herself.)
(Translation possible with help from my boyfriend. - Thank you! - <3)