Nagwa Fouad was born January, 1939. Her father was Egyptian and her mother Palestinian. Her mother died quite soon after her birth. Her father quickly married another woman. To be a man and looking after a baby in Egypt wasn’t really done at that time. His new wife was a caring lady, Nagwa and her took to each other instantly. They where mother and daughter, geans and blood didn’t matter.


When Nagwa was about 9 years old, her house was blown up by Zionist gangs. Nagwa's father left her and her stepmother, to try and contact a family he knew in Alexandria to arrange for them to live there. Soon after he left, Jews completely took over their home town. Nagwa and her stepmother fled, like many others at the time, to Al-Arish Refugee camp.


After some months in the refugee camp, Nagwa's stepmother found someone going to somewhere near Alexandria. She gave him Nagwa's father's address and begged him to tell her father of their whereabouts. The message did get through and her father found them. They were taken back to Alexandria. However they stayed only a little while, her father married again, upsetting Nagwa and her stepmother. They left her father and moved to Cairo. Nagwa and her stepmother were on their own but they supported each other and were extremely close. A relationship which remained throughout Nagwa's career.


At 14 Nagwa, managed to get a job as a telephone receptionist in the offices belonging to a man called Orabi. Orabi was an agent for dancers, actors and singers. When Orabi saw Nagwa dance for the first time he was impressed and persuaded her to rent a belly dancer's costume for 50 piastres and try dancing on stage. This was the beginning for Nagwa's rise to fame.


Orabi got Nagwa Fouad dancing at The Sahara City, a large marquee, only short journey away from the Pyramids. The Sahara City wasn't really a place that was know for belly dance they had performances by Sufi dancers (male) and sometimes comedians, also some of the Akef family, (related to the dancer Naima Akef) worked there as acrobats. Initially Nagwa was questioned by about being only 14 years old! Luckily the owner of The Sahara City had convinced the officers to list her age as 16: the minimum legal age for professional belly dancers.


However her work in the clubs was quite minor level. This was all about to change. In her early 20's Nagwa married Ahmed Fouad Hassan, at the time a famous musician and conductor, with priceless contacts in the field. He was 17 years older than her. Nagwa needed his help, if she was to be a successful as she intended. He taught her how to work in the field, and how to ensure fame. He was why Nagwa had the chance to dance at the Nelly Mazloum Dance School and join the National Dance Troupe to study folklore with Russian teachers.  This Russian influence gave Nagwa a different edge to her dance, helping to distinguish her from other dancers. Just by watching a few clips of her you can tell she danced like no other. Her style is full of energy an original movements of her own.


Nawga was so dedicated to dancing and wanting fame she refused to have a baby with Ahmed which lead to their divorce after 6 years. They remained friends.


This first bit of acting work lead to her working in films. The first film she featured in being Touha, in 1957 .Yet her real first film success was  "Sharei El Hob" (The Street Of Love). This starred many new stars, one of the key ones to Nagwa being Abdel Halim Hafis, a singer. The film was a box office hit. Below is a list of some of Nagwa's films. She has acted in over 100 films and danced in over 250 an AMAZING achievement:


1957    Touha



1959    Sharia el hub (The Street of Love)


1959    Orientali, Le  (The Orientals)



1960    Shar assal basal  (The Honeymoon Fell Flat) Click Here to see a clip


1960    Malak wa shaitan (Angel and Devil)



1961    Nassab,  (The Imposter)


1961    Hayat wa amal  (Life and Hope)


1961    Hayati hial taman  (Life Is Like That)


1961    Ashour kalb el assad  (Ashour, the Lion-Hearted)



1963    Rajul fil zalam (Man in the Shadows)


1963    Majanin fi naim,  (Madmen in Paradise)



1964    Mughammara el kabira (The Great Adventure)


1964    Fatat el mina  (The Harbour Girl)



1965    Tarid el firdaos  (Driven from Paradise)


1965    Slalom (Snow Job)


1965    Ibn el mafkud,  (The Lost Son)



1966    Mushajibun, El  (The Teddy Boys)


1966    Huwa wa el nessaa (The Man and His Women)



1967    Nora


1967    Aris el thani,


1967    Aguazet seif 


1967    Agazet gharam


1967    Millionaire al-mouzayyaf,


1967    Hob wa khyana



1968    Ebn el-hetta



1969    Karaoglan - Samara seyhin kizi



1973    Searching for a Scandal click here to watch a clip



she has made more films (email me if you know any of them)


Becoming friends with Abdel Halim Hafis when making "Sharei El Hob" really benefited Nagwa. Abdel Halim Hafis went on to be one of (if not) the biggest stars of Egypt, I know all my aunts in Egypt worshiped him as teenagers .....hold on they still do. Nagwa always performed in the concerts of Abdel Halim as an opening star dancer. Abdel Halim shows would be watched by the whole of Egypt and the Arab world so Nagwa's fame was growing.


Nawga formed her own orchestra and group of 12 dancers which she would open Abdel Halim's shows with. Also her troupe would tour around the Arab countries. The height of her career was yet to come: In 1976, Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, a brilliant musician, composed a special piece JUST for her, called Qamar Arba'tashar (Full Moon). Her performance to this catered piece, allowed her to excel. Her dance to this piece broke boundaries in belly dance being and all rounded sceptical and entertainment for all.  She was asked how did you do it? She said "I took the oriental dancing of Tahia Carioca and Samia Gamal, and created a stage show like a dramatic piece."


Nawga had become renowned around the world. The sectary of state at the time; Henry Kissinger demanded to see her perform on a visit to Egypt. He loved her dancing and from then on would always see her perform and talk to her when visiting Egypt. This led to President (of USA) Carter also asking to see her dance when in Egypt.


Nagwa is still around today, she sees no reason why she should retire saying "Art is not linked with age or nationality... it is linked with creation and presence and if the artist can give and enjoy, she must continue to perform." She shows that dance is for every woman despite their age. Nagwa is the only dancer of her generation who is still performing.


Nagwa is a lovely fun dancer who brings such energy to it, I hope she's around forever. I  personally don't think Nagwa Fouad's dancing was that moving of fantastic. She could certainly dance very, very well. What made her dance special was the joy you see run through her body when dancing she has and energy like no other and that's why people watch her that's, why I cant look away. An energy like hers is impossible to copy that's why there can and only ever will be one Nagwa Fouad.






(Thank you to Gill who helped me with this article)