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Lyn and Lys – Two Belly Dancers from Egypt

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Mundane associations like “Bread and butter” and “Salt and pepper” or the more aristocratic “Champagne and caviare”, can now yield place to the pungent charms of two names recited in one breath—”Lyn and Lys”.

This lively duo from the Land of Pyramids has taken Bombay by storm, first in a floor show at a leading hotel and now with their provocative dance number in “Yahoodi ki Ladki”.

The twenty-year-old Egyptian twins who look alike, dress alike, think alike and act alike started their dance training early in life.

Although their specialty is the Egyptian dance known as the “Belly dance”, the two girls are also proficient in European ballet and acrobatic dancing.

Lyn and Lys are superb exponents of their art and they do not like it to be described as belly-dancing. “That ,” they say, “is a colloquial term. It implies that the dancer only shakes her stomach. But that is not so. When we dance, other muscles besides those of the stomach and hips come into play”.

Their sequined and beaded costumes are marvels of brevity guaranteed to make men gape and women glare. Added to this snappy attire are the girls’ seductive movements and their sizzling personalities—but that’s only the formula in part.

The costumes are designed by the girls and their mother, who chaperons her priceless “chicks” and is their constant companion.

Asked how they felt being rather heavily draped for their dance number in “Yahoodi ki Ladki”, Lyn and Lys said with a smile, “For one thing, we were prepared for it. We danced for a Bengali film they were making in Calcutta and knew all about the Indian film censors before we came to Bombay”.

However, the girls enjoyed their film stints and would have worked in more Indian films but for the fact that producers less enterprising than Mr. S. D. Narang decided to wait till they knew the Censors’ reaction.

“And now it’s too late”, said the girls, who will soon be off to Europe in the course of their tour. They are well known to Egyptian film audiences, having appeared in several Egyptian films, in which they started with dancing roles and only recently turned to acting.

In their dance in “Yahoodi ki Ladki”, Lyn and Lys could not escape the inevitable song. They were given playbacks.

Photo Caption – Ly and Lys are seen performing one of their popular numbers at a filmland function.

“Was it difficult to learn the Hindi words ?” they were asked.

“Not very”, the girls replied. “We mastered the pronunciation fairly quickly and we can sing the entire song. In Egyptian films the dancers do not sing though there is always music.”

Lyn and Lys are clever linguists. They speak English (with a charming accent), French, German, Italian and Arabic fluently, and they have enough Spanish and other European and Eastern languages to get by. “We are usually able to speak the language of the country we tour,” they said.

Two years ago, Lyn and Lys performed in Paris. They have appeared in night clubs all over the East and Far East from Turkey to Hong Kong, Thailand, Indo-China and the Philippines. They were on TV in Bangkok and had good seasons in Delhi, Calcutta and Colombo last year.

Although the girls love working in films, their stage appearances give them a greater thrill. “There is more contact with the audience, and also the opportunity to travel”, they say.

Lyn and Lys (the names are diminutives) are each five feet five inches tall, have the typical complexion of the Egyptian middle class and they are ideally proportioned.

They admit that dancing alone is not enough to keep their figures trim. They do two hours of strenuous limbering exercises every day. They also diet “sensibly”, and live mainly on milk and fruit.

In Calcutta, Lyn and Lys learned our Manipuri dance from the famous teacher and danseuse of that classic school Mirabai. They wish they had had the time to learn other styles of Indian dancing. Their own dances are designed by the girls themselves, and they switch routines every week or so. (This interview was conducted in 1957).

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