When I'm performing I let my body express the feeling of the music to the audience.
Belly dancing has fewer constraints than other dance forms and for that reason it's very
liberating, very creative. For me, it is not just coming out to show my body or for the
money, it is about giving my audience a feeling of happiness.
I started belly dancing back in California when a friend and I took an introductory
course together. After the eight weeks of classes were finished, she gave it up ; I
didn't. I've been performing for 18 years now and have danced in the U.S., Canada,
Australia, Egypt and most memorably in the Seychelles near Madagascar, my husband's home.
He arranged a charity performance there to raise money for the Seychelles' Special
Olympics Team to travel to the international games in Canada. Some of the children danced
with me on stage and it brought tears to my eyes.
In Tokyo, I am always busy. I got my first dancing job in response to an ad in Tokyo
Classified. Now I perform at places like Asena in Akasaka, Alla Din in Chiba and Al Ain in
Yokohama or at private parties and cultural events. I also perform at weddings involving a
Japanese person and an Egyptian or Turk because it is a tradition in Islamic cultures to
have a dancer. I also teach belly dancing classes in the afternoons and spend the rest of
my time listening to music or working on choreography for those classes.
Most belly dancing music is from Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey, and is almost always about
love. Separation, perfect love, bitter sweetness are all classic themes. Each culture has
its own musical character -- Egyptian music is very strong, Turkish lively, and Lebanese
lyrical. The contemporary cabaret costume comes from Egypt, which has the strongest dance
tradition. Of course, in Egypt, under Islamic law, the women have to cover their bellies,
but they simply wear a very sheer fabric.
My students include both foreigners and Japanese. Japanese women today want to explore
ways to express themselves. It is much like America in the '50s. Belly dancing gives them
a special opportunity because it is physical, emotional and spiritual. And it is a women's
dance. Though men in the Middle East do dance, belly dancing is very much the realm of
women. That's what makes it so special.
INFO. Sa'dia 3364-1626.
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