I started taking Belly Dancing seriously when I was 15 (14 years ago). My family is from Lebanon and it has always been part of my life culturally, however I took it serious because it made me feel beautiful and empowered as a young teen. I continued because of the many rewards it has brought me from finding community, to health, career and of course happiness!
2. What is the most important thing to do when we dance in public?
Know your audience. I am VERY picky about what kind of venues I perform at. I usually only dance at festivals, productions I put on or weddings. I always tell my students they have to wear a Galabiya when they are not on stage and to remember they are representing a “misunderstood” dance so to go out of their way to look professional and classy.
3. Could you tell me about your bellydancing style?
I would say my style is a mix of Contemporary and Classical Egyptian with my Lebanese style thrown in. I am pretty energetic and like to get creative within the framework of Belly Dance movement. After dancing for 14 years, my style changes depending on the audience: if its an American audience, I probably will do a drum solo, more “gimmiky stuff”. If it’s a Arab audience, I can be more subtle in my movement because they have the cultural background to appreciate the subtle detail.
4. Could you tell me about the relationship between bellydancing and your background?
Sure, I am first generation Arab American. My father is from Lebanon and I go to visit my family in Lebanon almost every year. I speak a little Arabic J
5. Could you give some advices or comments for Japanese bellydancers?
Belly Dance is an unusual dance in the sense that it is practiced by more people “outside” the culture then inside. This is because of the stigma the dance has in the Arab world. Most of my students are non Arab and allot of them are Asian American. The most important thing is to know how to dance to ARBIC music. There are allot of fusion versions of Belly Dance but as far as I am concerned, if you are not dancing to Arabic music, you are not Belly dancing. You don’t need to be Arab to Belly Dance, you just have to have a passion.
6. Who is your idea belly dancer? Why do you like the bellydancer?
Suheir Zaki hands down, especially when she was in her 40’s. WOW! If you ever have a chance to see a dvd of her as a mature dancer, she is right in tune with the music..its amazing! There is nothing “sexy” about her dance, but she LOOKS like the music, it s breathtaking.
7. What is your future plan w/z bellydancing?
To grow my studio, Hipline and expose more women to authentic Belly Dance.