Yaël Zarca

1. Why did you start Raqs Sharqi?

It was very young, I was more of a tomboy!  I liked sports such as tennis, handball, boxing, football.  I also tried several dances in which I have never been comfortable, including modern jazz, which I still felt well because of my curves.
I was 14 years old when my baby sitter invited me to her dance gala show.

I was dazzled and conquered!  I said: “If a French girl can dance Raqs Sharqi, why not me?”  As a result, I enrolled in a belly dance school in my town in next September.  When I started, I thought that it would be easy because of my oriental origins, I was very surprised!  Then, I understood the technicality, the precision, and grace that required the oriental dance.
After years of studying this dance with different teachers, I finally met Mayodi (Male Oriental Dancer in Paris). He completely changed my dance. Moreover, Egyptian feeling completely shaped my dance.  I am still learning a lot with my Egyptian masters Yousry Sharif, Raqia Hassan and Dr. Gamal Seif.

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

An excellent technique is essential.  Therefore, I continue to train and educate myself. I love beautiful choreography that has the chains fluid and precise movements, which are perfectly accent the music.  Moreover, it is the most important to exchange the emotion with the public.  The stage is the opportunity to share a moment with the public. This can be very festive, very emotional, and almost painful.  I do not play a character, I do not trying to be someone else on a stage.  When I dance, I am who I am but I am unveiled more than daily life.  The costume and makeup allows daring more but do not overplay.  I dance with my sensitivity, my joy, and my injury.  I need to feel the audience, so we can share the feelings, and I have to tell them a story with dance.

3. Could you tell about your Raqs Sharqi style?

I could say that my style is Egyptian with modern influences.  I love Egyptian music, and I really want to express the infinite nuances of the Arabic music in my dance.  I also get many inspirations from different artists, but I do not want to imitate anyone.  My dance is enriched with contemporary influences and jazzy with master teachers like Yousry Sharif, but it is not “fusion-style”.  I sometimes borrow the vocabularies of other dances and I “orientalized” them to create my own style.
I also take private lessons in Egyptian Arabic.  I study primarily with texts of songs, to better understand the words that I listen during dancing.  Therefore, many people say that my style is characterized by its expressiveness.  I focus more on arouse emotions and communicate with the public than technical performances.

4. Could you tell about the relationship between Raqs Sharqi and your background?

I am a Jewish.  I was born in France and I have French nationality, but my parents and grandparents are from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Poland, and France.  I have an explosive mix and a rich cultural heritage!
I think that I was sensitive to the Arabic music due to my Arabic origins.  I immediately felt in love with Arabic music and naturally with Raqs Sharqi.  I am in love with the Middle Eastern music and I am sure that it helped my dancing a lot.

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

Never stop to learning, working hard, and never be an arrogant as if you know everything!  Moreover, you should recognize that Raqs Sharqi is beyond the glitter.  Dancer is a difficult job because it is demanding and it does not have many possibilities for the private life, which is limited on time.  We must never give up and recognize that Raqs Sharqi is an entertainment. The audiences are not only sincere friends.  Therefore, we must know how to preserve and maintain the values of Raqs Sharqi in order not to lose ourselves.

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

I am a huge fan of the Egyptian dancer Dina.  I have seen her many times on a stages, but it is always a unique moment of happiness when I see her.  I am also appreciative of the dancer Randa Kamel. she is a my ideal dancer of precision and work.  Dina and Randa captivated me from the first to the last second with their dances.
They are very charismatic and they communicate a lot with the audience.

7. What is your future plan with Raqs Sharqi?

I have many plans and dreams, fortunately! I work a lot, my nights are too short, and I do not have much time for me, but my life is exciting, and I would not trade my place for anything.

8. How and/or with whom do you train?

I teach dance classes all week.  I spent my weekends for workshops and performances from all over the world. The rest of time, I train by myself, taking private classes with my masters, preparing my classes, and my choreographies for my students.  Moreover, I immersed myself in Middle Eastern music.  Even brushing hair or talking on the phone, I sketch the dance steps, I practice shimmies, and I think about combinations.  Dancing is my life.  There is no rest, because dance is everywhere!  Raqs Sharqi is my passion. I wish that I will feel the passion until the end.

If you have some comments to subscribers who love Raqs Sharqi on the blog, Could you write it?

We need websites like “Raqs Sharqi – The joy of dance” to learn about people and develop a community of dance lovers from all over the world. Never stop to share your passion!  We have a same dream. Share the passion on Raqs Sharqi –The Joy of Dance-!

Yaël Zarca Official Home Page

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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