Ziva [Traditional Raqs al Sharqi Bellydance with modern and contemporary Arabic movement]

1. Why did you start belly dancing?

I’ve always loved to dance.  I took a ballet class in college, and at the end of the semester we had the opportunity to perform in the “Evening of Dance” alongside other dance classes.  Our ballet class was backstage getting ready to perform as the Middle Eastern Dance class took the stage.  I remember watching the belly dancers from backstage and I was intrigued by their intricate isolations and mesmerizing movements.  It was then that I knew that Belly dance was something I needed to try.

2. What is the most important thing to do when we dance in public?

I dance for my audience.  They are my “number one”, so I’m always considering them as I dance my way through a performance. Also, I see the dancer as the connection between the music and the people.  Depending on whether I’m dancing to live or recorded music, there will be different things to consider. And finally, I think Middle Eastern Dance is a sacred and beautiful art form.  We should remember our responsibility of portraying a culture respectfully.

3. Could you tell me about your belly dancing style?

I would describe my style as traditional Raqs al Sharqi Bellydance with modern and contemporary Arabic movement.  I also enjoy several other styles, but this is where I spend most of my energy and focus.

4. Could you tell me about the relationship between belly dancing and your background?

Belly dancing is not something I grew up with.  Being an American of Irish descent, Middle Eastern Dance was not a part of my cultural background.  Today it has become a HUGE part of who I am.  I study the culture and dance form constantly.

5. Could you give some advices or comments for belly dancers?

No matter how advanced of a dancer you become, always consider yourself a lifetime student.  There is always room to grow and learn more.  Take classes and workshops with a variety of teachers.  Absorb as much as you can and then develop your own style. Also, learning the foundation of Middle Eastern Dance, listening to the intricate details of Arabic music, practicing strong technique, and developing stage presence will make you a stronger dancer.

6. Who is your idea belly dancer? Why do you like the belly dancer?

I like a belly dancer who is confident and comfortable in her own style.  A dancer who can capture my attention from the beginning to the end of her show is always a great sign of a fabulous performer.  I like a dancer who moves me in some way:  she/he may make me smile, inspire me, bring me to tears, or just get me clapping along to the music.

7. What is your future plan w/z belly dancing?

I plan to continue teaching, studying and performing Belly dance. I love to inspire people and be inspired. I hope that I have the opportunity to dance my way around the world some day.

About Yuki Okamoto

Freelance Internet Marketer/ Bellydance Japan Magazine Writer/ Raqs Sharqi -The Joy of Dance- SNS Managerとして活躍中。 2010年には、ベリーダンスイベント運営/ Marketing戦略立案施行を行うRaqs ART Internaitonalを立ち上げ、Suhaila Salimpour, Huleya HiromiのSNSの運営管理、インターネットにおける市場戦略立案施行を行う。 I hope that Raqs Sharqi -The Joy of Dance- promote every Oriental/Middle Eastern/Belly/Raqs Sharqi dancers and everyone who loves dancing sisterhood!
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