The costume has to fit well. Have you ever heard of dancers in uncomfortable costumes? She would move clumsily and the audience wouldn't enjoy her dancing. You just keep waiting for something tailor-made. My costume has to fit or I can't dance.
I always wanted to be a performer and to travel, from the time I was very young. I was also passionate about playing music and sports in high school and I think dancing followed naturally. When I was a kid I wanted to fly airplanes, a childhood-fantasy which now makes me laugh. I can hardly manage to drive my car, I can't imagine flying a plane! The world is a safer place because I became a dancer and not a pilot.
I think I am lucky with my job. I work in the evenings so I can spend much of the day with my kids and I go to work when they are safely in bed. I also work with my husband so we get to see a lot of each other. Sometimes when we travel to perform, we take the kids with us. We spend a lot of time together as a family.
I have been in Egypt for ten years now and it feels like home. The only other place I would live besides Egypt is the United States as most of my family is there.
Dancing for me is fun. No matter what my mood is before the show, it is always better after a dance. Each wedding is different so it is hard to get bored. Honestly, occasionally there are times that I really don't feel like dancing-I'd rather be home eating pizza and watching a movie. That feeling never lasts past the first few minutes on stage. Once I hear the music and see the people, I immediately shift mood and get the dancing vibe.
Yes, I'm always learning. Whenever I add a new number to the show I try to push myself to do something different. I like to add elements from Lebanon, the Gulf, Tunis and Egyptian folklore. I watch old movies with dancers for the music and movements. I go to the Opera to hear classical Arabic music or watch modern dance. I look for ideas. I don't want people to say that my routine never changes year after year.
I couldn't say I've mastered any other forms of dance but I've been lucky to be able to try them. I danced for the opening and closing of the Cairo Film Festival a few years ago with Flamingo inspired numbers. There was also a stage show with Hishem Abaz that had a gypsy-themed dance and a series of Tango lessons for an advertisement with Ahmed El Saka. Tango is really appealing to me, it is the sexiest and has the best music.
I design all my own costumes. I start by making sketches and then I choose fabric and stones. I have a woman who beads them for me. I watch music videos and old movies for inspiration with my designs.
I don't really practice for an individual performance but if I want to include a new number into the show I usually rehearse with the band and sometimes choreograph parts of the song before I put it on stage.
I used to have my hair done all the time and after a while my hair was in terrible condition. Now I go with more simple and natural styles, the kind I can apply myself. I was lucky to work with some of best make-up artists in Egypt. I learned a lot from them and now I do my own make-up. I love buying make-up, it's kind of an addiction. I enjoy experimenting with different colours and looks.
I actually studied acting before I came to Egypt. It was wonderful to act in the film and some other TV projects that came after. The language barrier has been my biggest problem to landing more roles. Although my Arabic now is quite good, my accent is definitely 'foreign-sounding' so it limits the kind of roles I can play. I would love to make another film if the right role comes along.
Being sexy is all in your attitude. If you feel sexy, you will be sexy no matter how you dance or what you wear.
My job. I perform almost every day so I have at least one hour of cardio workout with dancing per day. My job is great in that it saves me the effort of going to the gym.
I think that each costume is different. Sometimes it's nice to wear one that shows a bit more and then the next costume much more covered. It is good to have variety. I think that keeps people's attention. I suppose my only rule is that costumes which are TOO revealing are tacky, not sexy.
I used to think I was too skinny, especially for a belly dancer. These days I fit the stereotype a bit better. I still wish I had even more curves. Funny, most women want to get rid of some curves and I would gladly take on a few extra. Remember the dancer Azza Sherif-that is the body I want.
A few years ago, my website designer was adding a link from Youtube to my website and noticed one person was leaving really horrible comments under all my clips and had been doing it for a long time. It was like they were stalking me over the Internet. It scared me a bit, because they must have spent hours and hours to do that. I suppose that being a famous dancer might attract weirdos'¦but to think that someone you don't know having an obsession with you is unnerving. But really that is the only incident like that that has happened over the years. On the other hand, I've found other people that are really supportive, including the people close to me.
I will never forget this wedding. It was years ago in one of the military clubs but not in the main hall, they had built a tent in the garden. There were about 1,000 people with the men in front of the stage and the women behind. When I came on stage all the men rushed up to the stage to take photos. The stage was made of wood and had steps leading up to it. As the people stepped up onto the steps, the stage started shaking. The security came rushing in. We stopped the show after the first five minutes. The security guards and some of my band had to surround me to walk me though the crowd to leave. Even as we were driving away, people were running after the car.
It would be impossible to choose one song only. The song has to emote I'm feeling at different types of moments. I can always find something I like from Adaweya or Abdel Halim. Their songs are excellent for dance.
It must have been when I was 12 years old. A little boy from my class wanted to kiss me. We 'negotiated' the terms of the kiss for a long time before. It was a complete disappointment. I suppose it taught me that kissing should be spontaneous.
Turn on's: talent and intelligence. I always go for artists and super smart guys. I've never cared about looks. Turn off's: muscles that are too big and a vain guy who talks about himself all the time.
If he can inspire me.
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