“The (Truly Amazing) Life of Badi`a Masabni” with Virginia Danielson




The (Truly Amazing) Life of Badi`a Masabni

Virginia Danielson

Sunday, March 3rd 11 AM PST/ 2PM EST


Badi’a Masabni is a woman every bellydancer should know. Her work shaped much of what oriental dance entertainment on stage would grow into.

From humble beginnings as an abused child in Syria, she became a renowned dancer and the most successful entrepreneur of her time in Cairo. Beyond that, she mentored other performers, especially women, and offered her venue to young people who went on to become very famous themselves.

Let’s learn about this incredible woman from our dance history!

  • Her early years in Syria
  • How she launched her career in Cairo 
  • How  she supported herself and advance her career
  • How  she come to own a nightclub and why did she did this
  • What her nightclub was like
  • Her relationships with other performers
  • Her long career and how and why it ended
  • What she was like as a person

This lecture is available for $25 live on March 3rd 11 AM PST/ 2PM EST and streaming for 30 days.

Virginia Danielson

Virginia Danielson is an Associate of the Harvard Music Department. She formerly served as the Director of Libraries at New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus and as the Richard F. French Librarian of the Loeb Music Library at Harvard University and the Curator of the University’s Archive of World Music.  An ethnomusicologist by training, Danielson is the author of the award-winning monograph ‘The Voice of Egypt:’  Umm Kulthum, Arabic Song and Egyptian Society in the 20th Century (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1997) and co-editor of The Middle East, volume 6 of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (New York:  Routledge, 2002).  She has authored numerous articles on musics of the Middle East, women in Middle Eastern music, and Muslim devotional music. With Issa Boulos and Anne K. Rasmussen, she recently edited a volume entitled Music in Arabia: Perspectives on Heritage, Mobility, and Nation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2021) and is currently finishing an edited volume on music and cultural diplomacy in the Middle East with Maria Rijos Lopes da Cunha, Jonathan Shannon, and Søren M. Sørensen, forthcoming from Palgrave.