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THE TIME OF THE GODDESS

Interview with Samira about her career
and the belly dance situation in Poland

- from Marcel Bieger
continuation...
Today BD in Poland is developing very fast and we keep on inviting stars who give classes and shows so we can learn all the best from them. We also travel abroad to be able to attend at workshops and buy costumes.

Today I dance this two dances flamenco and belly dance professionally and keep on learning all the time. I mostly dance and mostly like to perform classical oriental dance - I love the elegance of this style! I also think that the most difficult thing in dancing is to dance without props and show the art and attract people with your own body!

I am very emotional and I love the interpretation of Om Kalsum I also like and perform folkloristic dances like Khaleegy (my hair is really long so I can let it dance!) and Saidi with the stick. Because of my flamenco I also dance some flamenco-oriental fusions like using lots of skirt and a flamenco fan. Another thing I dance is oriental pop-shaabi and fantasy-fusions with classical or modern music using different kind of props like veils, fan veils, isis wings etc.

Do you see yourself as a member of the Polish Oriental Dance scene and what performances, shows and so on do you have in Poland. 

I definitely see myself as a main member of a Polish Oriental Dance Scene (laughs). I am one of the first and most known and popular Belly Dancers in Poland. During the last years I was invited to teach in many dance schools in the whole of Poland. I regularly was travelling to most of the biggest cities in Poland like Warsaw, Wroclaw, Katowice, Lodz, Szczecin, Poznan, Gdansk, Krakow etc. to teach BD and flamenco and to perform. Every year since the last 7 years I'm invited to the biggest dance festivals like: International Contemporary Dance festival in Poznan, International Summer Dance Festival in Ladek Zdroj, International Jazz Dance Festival in Kielce.  

I was performing in many music, ethno and folkloristic festivals in Poland and abroad. As for typical BD festivals we don't have many of them - mostly small local affairs but I am the artistic director of the biggest Belly Dance festival in Poland "Nova Orient" in Katowice. When you compare our festival with other big festivals in Europe it is pretty small but for our Polish conditions it is quite big. You need to remember that BD in Poland is quite young and has no real history  - actually it exists only since 10 years and we still need a bit of time to develop our environment and be able to make bigger festivals and invite more and more great stars to our country! This is not easy, takes time and requires money and Poland is still not a very rich country. But although we don't have many professional BD events and dancers in Poland there are some who are very talented and are travelling a lot to learn and also win BD contests! I think and hope it is just a matter of time and we will grow bigger and stronger in our Polish BD community.  

Is there any Tribal fusion in Poland (you may have noticed at Leyla’s that many German and West European dancers performed Fusion mixtures, whilst virtually none of the East European dancers did so, but dancing traditional Oriental dances – could you think of a reason for that or is this only a question of time?)

We also have Tribal dance and tribal dancers in Poland and some of them are really good! Mixing different dances, cultures and creating their own style. I think that in other east European countries there are also Tribal belly dancers. It was just by accident that none of them had applied for. As for Russia I think that they are very professional with classical dance (I mean ballet) in their country and the belly dancers and all other dancers from Russia are well prepared, have a very good technique and naturally represent a very high level specially when they dance classical Raqs Sharki !

Your performance at Leyla's (17th Oriental Festival 2009) was not your first time dancing in Germany. Please tell us something about your experiences over here.

 No, it was not my first performance in Germany. As a young girl – as member of the contemporary dance group I mentioned afore, I was performing a few times in Germany. I also played with my musicians a few flamenco concerts on a festival in Greifswald (and Würzburg) I also performed BD on some private partys in Germany. So this performance at Leyla’s was not the first in general but it was the first time on a BD festival in Germany. I really hope it was not the last time!!! I like to be in Germany I feel like at home there because I speak German, after spending 3 years of my life in Dortmund when I was a child - it was the end of the 80s and I was visiting the elementary school there, so performing in your country is for me special and reminds me on my childhood and I really hope I will be able to come back and perform again.

You write that you have danced Contemporary, Hip Hop, Jazz and the likes. Well basically mixing these with traditional Oriental Belly Dance or with Tribal Dance is all Fusion is about. So you could do it too …

I used to have classes in all these styles when I was younger but all these were only additional courses or elements I’ve been thought during the classes I took. I never had a proper, real education in these styles – so I wouldn’t say that I have a big experience in Jazz, contemporary dance etc. The lessons I took gave me only an impression and inspiration and also helped me, as a dancer, to develop my technique and knowledge about dance in general. I think you cannot do everything in life and you cannot dance everything perfect when you are a dancer. Otherwise you do everything just a little bit but don’t really go deeper into it.

In my opinion it’s good to try different styles because it might help you to search and look around what you really want and what you are made for. But many people never stop searching and they end up doing things not properly. So one day you just have to choose.  Although I love many styles and dances I stayed by flamenco and (mostly) classical Oriental dance. To make good mixtures and fusions you need to feel confident with both (or more styles) you work with. After many years of dancing flamenco and belly dance I can do the fusion from these styles.  But modern, contemporary stuff is just not my style.

How did it come about that Leyla Jouvana invited you to her show?

I saw Leyla and Roland in England on a festival almost two years ago. I really loved their show!! Few months later I was looking for some interesting BD festivals and events on Internet and I found their page by accident! I’ve seen that Leyla is not only a great dancer but also a director of a big BD event and I wrote her an email introducing myself and asking if maybe one day we could do something together. And so she invited me to come and perform in Duisburg. I really liked the festival in Germany and I hope it was not the last time when I was performing there.

Samiras homepage:
www.samira.art.pl
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Photos: 1, 2 and 4 (c) Marcin Kuran,
3 (c) Edyta Pilichowska
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