|Samia Gamal (l.); Tahia Carioca (r.)|
Most Egyptians and many other Arabs would agree that the greatest dancer and actress of them all was Tahia Carioca (1919-1999). Rising to stardom at Madame Badia Masabni's legendary Casino Opera, she achieved her greatest fame in the late 1930s and 1940s, dancing for King Farouq and beginning a movie career. A supporter of the 1952 revolution, she fell out with Nasser and was even jailed. She continued to act in films long after she stopped dancing, and lived to the age of 80. Unlike modern Western celebrities, she was a firm believer in marriage, marrying 14 times.
There is perhaps less agreement on the second greatest, but many would endorse Samia Gamal (1924-1994) for the title; she too came from Madame Badia's troupe, and was often seen as a slightly younger rival of Carioca.
Though often seen as rivals, one can find publicity pictures like the one at the top showing them together. But there's also this (1940s?) film clip showing Samia listening to an old style gramophone and imagining Carioca dancing on the lid as on a TV screen; then she imagines herself dancing with her. It's not necessarily the only film of them dancing together, but it's one I can play here:
It is neither a high-quality nor a particularly good clip, but it shows the two greats together. Both were enormously glamorous stars in their day: a "pinup" photo of Carioca, perhaps early 1940s(?):
If things keep going the way they're going, we shall not gaze upon their like again.