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During the “Proserpina Nacht festival” in Dresden, Germany organized by Una Shamaa, I had the chance of meeting the British dancer Bex. Known for her very personal “psychobilly style”, her exact technique and huge presence when performing, Bex belongs nowadays to the true icons of the dark fusion scene.

        And, of course, I am very proud because Bex is going to be in Karlsruhe teaching and dancing at Oriental Varieté on
8th of November. If you are looking for inspiration, come and join her in her amazing workshops “Psychobilly Sweethearts” and “Medusa”. Don’t miss this!


Interview with Bex

- by Latifah Abdel

When did you start dancing?

I started about 2007-2008. I first learned there was gothic bellyance when I was a DJ at my local club and a lady did a demonstration of gothic bellydance. She did a piece from, I think, “Sisters of mercy”, and I was like WOW! you can do dark and scary with bellydance. That inspired me a lot, so I started to take classes with that lady and that’s pretty much how it all started.

How do you define yourself as a dancer? Is the question of naming important to you?

Oh, no! I find it very hard to define myself. I think gothic bellydance is where I started, because I was working with proper goth music. But I turned myself to “horror psychobilly bellydance”, and that’s the style I do, because I haven’t seen anybody do what I do in terms of the look or the music. I think dark fusion is more me because I don’t stick all the time to psychobilly, and there I can be theatrical or cheeky … depending on my mood.

The question on naming is really weird. Many people always put things into pitching holes, but I don’t like to put people into pitching holes. As long as people know what they are performing and they present it as real to the audience I don’t think I need to name it. But it’s true at the beginning, when you want to learn, names help a lot. If you want to perform gothic bellydance, go and see a gothic club, go and see what the culture is like, just before you perform a gothic piece so that you’re aware of the things you should and shouldn’t do. So names can be useful to help people to know what they want to do, but pitch holing is not good, because it’s good to be different.

In your opinion, what makes a good dancer?

I want people to be able to express themselves without the fear of being different, without worrying about being the next “somebody”.  I want them to express and feel the passion of dancing. They don’t have to be technically amazing to really move me or to move the audience.
What piece of advice would you give to dancers wanting to become really good ones?

Practise, that’s it. Be yourself and practice. Don’t worry what people think. As long as you stay true to yourself and you’re inspired you’ll be individual. And that’s what makes a good
dancer to me.

Do you have any dancing idols or do you just take inspiration from life?

When I first started dancing I was really blown away by Zoe Jakes, Ariellah, Morgana and Shashi and also by Rachel Brice and Mardi Love. But I also take inspiration from dancers I’ve grown up with, like Alexis Southall, because she’s working hard and she’s technically amazing. And also from my teacher, Dawn O’Brien, a completely out of the world dancer, who has an amazing knowledge of anatomy. And many UK dancers are always trying something new, so I get inspiration from everybody. And also from anything, like maybe I go out tomorrow and see a leaf, and think “oh, that’s pretty” and I do something about that leaf. And also horror and monster movies are a huge inspiration to me, because I like to be creepy (laughs).

What are your impressions so far about “Proserpina Nacht”?

So far, it’s been brilliant. I am just upset I missed the open stage, because I love watching everbody perform. I’ve been impressed by how friendly everybody is, and the venue is amazing. The workshop place is lovely and the people that attend the workshops work really hard and I’m really impressed by their skills and their level. I can’t wait for the show, because there are many more people I haven’t met yet, but so everything is beautiful.
To move on to a very existential question, do you believe the voices saying that gothic bellydance is disappearing from the fusion scene?

Gothic bellydance in general I think it’s taking a back seat. There are always shifts and moves and things coming back in circles, and I think it’ll all come back, but at the moment, I think the focus is more on contemporary and oriental styles. I think a lot of people are going back to raks sharki to find their roots. Gothic bellydance comes from the original tribal fusion because gothic culture could see something very similar in the movements, the aesthetic and the costume. It’ll come around again in a few years when the fashion is there again. I’m sure.
So, more things about you, what are your personal highlights of this year?

Oh, I’m very excited (laughs). This year I have some big exciting events. I’m going to be going to Tribal Fest in May, so I’m teaching at Tribal Fest. And at Gothla Italia I’ll be teaching along with Sera Solstice, Ariellah and Morgana and that’s a dream for me. So I’m like “Oh, my God! These people I watch since I was a baby dancer!” I really never expected any of this. I just kept working and suddenly people were asking me to teach, and that’s for me very humbling. And I am also teaching an intensive week long in Romania in the summer and I’ll be teaching there with Ida Mahin and Deidre Anaid, who focuses on buttoh and theatrical dance.

Bex ist guest at Latifah Abdel's "Oriental Varieté"
on November 8th., 2014. All informations here