Insight Magazine
Creating Art with the Tip of Her Toes

October ‘16
The founder of Motion Studio, Nermeen Fathy Shafik, is your go-to ballet choreographer, designer and instructor when it comes to grasping the art of dance. Nermeen has broken the misconception of having to learn ballet at a young age in order to perfect it; after professionally training both children and adults to master ballet, Motion Studio has become every Egyptian ballerina-to-be’s harbour.
Nermeen Fathy Shafik

How old were you when you took your first ballet class? How did you discover your passion?


My first ballet class was at the age of eight.  I knew I was passionate about the art of ballet when I discovered my life would be meaningless if I quit, as it’s my only portal to self-expression. 

When did you decide to make ballet a profession? Was it a slow progression or a special moment?


It was when I noticed I had an undying affinity for teaching both adults and children this art, and had an infinite pool of choreography ideas. After my very first ballet recital, things progressed quickly from there and I fulfilled my pedagogical propensities thereafter. 

What qualities do you think are required to be a ballerina? Can adults learn ballet?



Ballerinas should be physically robust, creative, persistent and capable of working in a team. Learning ballet as an adult can, in some cases, be a better choice than to learn as a child because mature age makes some individuals quicker learners and less prone to injuries. They just need to have a passion for it.

Name some of the most eminent shows you starred in.



Paquita, Giselle, and Thousand and One Nights. 

Walk us through a typical day in the professional life of Nermeen Fathy.



I begin by instructing students on how to warm up and dance safely before demonstrating new dance moves. I also design and plan choreography for performances, provide students with positive feedback, and schedule group and private classes. 

When/why did you decide to open Motion Ballet Studio?


Being a ballet instructor in your own dancing studio is much better than working for a ballet school that is not even run by dancers. Being a dance instructor and managing your studio at the same time is the secret to succeeding in this career because it’s the only way you could shape your services according to what your students need. I started working on my own project two years after getting married and I could honestly say that my husband has only encouraged my decisions and what I do and helped me step by step to get to where I am now. 

How would you describe your choreography style?



I merely express my thoughts and feelings to convey artistic images through dance. 

What is your favourite choreography piece and why?


Swan Lake is definitely my favourite piece. A good performance of it can be a sight and a sound that will move you to tears, to laughter and to emotions you have never felt before. It’s the cathartic experience everyone needs. 

Who/what are your biggest influencers?



My parents, my husband, my professional ballet teachers who continue to inspire me, my amazing students (kids and adults) and my lovely assistants.

Is it the music that inspires your choreography, or do you pick the music according to the dance routine?


Music inspires me wherever I am and whenever I listen to it. I just feel the beat tingling inside me and I draw the scenes from the way I feel the music moves inside me. When I start dancing, I feel like I can never stop until the music stops playing. It’s a feeling I know every dancer can relate to. 

What do you believe is the biggest misconception associated with ballet?


That ballet is not hard work and is merely fit for a hobby. Ballerinas work really hard for hours just to perfect one move. With rehearsal, performances, work, and more, it can be challenging to create a balance between your personal and professional life. To successfully walk the tightrope between professional and personal life you need to understand where your priorities lie and create a realistic schedule that you can stick to. Hard work always wins in the end. You need to go out into the world and make your own opportunities; you have the power to create your own career. That’s just the epitome of ballet life.