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Photos © 1 + 3 Phillip C. Photography, 2, 4 and 5 Konstanze Winkler
Sarasvati is guest at Leyla und Roland Jouvana's
23rd Oriental Dance Festival of Europe
28. - 29. November 2015 in Duisburg.

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That’s the way of fairy tales: You come from the land of fays (England, indeed) to a fantastic festival, you start dancing with nobody knowing you, and then, from one moment to another, you are standing on the winner’s podium.

Why we are telling you fancy stories? Because all this became true for Sarasvati from England (and for quite a few other dancers).

Please read her story …

Interview with Sarasvati (GB)

- by Marcel Bieger

Did you dance other styles before belly dance found you and what made you stick to belly dance?

I am from small village in the Polish mountains on the border with Slovakia and Czech Republic so since I have been 12 years old I was taking part in traditional folk music, singing, dancing, playing instruments (violin) and performing at the theatre shows.

I was very active on that side and always have been drawn to Balkan music. The first Arabic song that I heard was by Natasha Atlas, I was 15 year old at that time and I was so fascinated by her music that I took later on belly dance classes in London. In fact I have attended her dancing workshop in Edgware Road and performed personally for her at private event which was my dreams come true.
You have travelled a lot around the belly dance world and learned with many teachers, when you would describe your personal dance style today, what would you tell us?

At the moment I feel that my personal style is still evolving, I have still so much to learn from other teachers and even myself and I am grateful to meet so many wonderful people on my pathway that have contributed to my personal learning process. I believe that everyone who you meet can teach you something new which makes us even more beautiful, more unique. There is so many teachers that I would like to thank personally for their input and for bringing the best in me.

How is the belly dance situation in England today?

The bellydance scene in England is ever evolving with new talents and teachers emerging on the international dance scene, which is really nice to see. We are very fortunate to have direct access to Arabic culture and community here, so that you can learn directly from them, and also have live Arabic music shows which further help a lot with developing your skills and technique.

Last year you came to Germany to attend the famous contest "Bellydancer of the World" ... and became the winner in the category "classical oriental" (our compliments for that). How did this feel then and how does it feel today, being at the same place, but on the other side of the jury bench (means you becoming a judge)?

Thank you for your kind words. I was very surprised to win the first place in classical oriental as there were also so many beautiful  and talented dancers from all around the world; and I thought that classical was not my strongest point, but as it turned out it felt more natural then traditional belly dance
I remember straight after the announcement I went to Leyla and asked her where can I improve my dance more and it has really motivated me more to improve my style knowing the judges feedback on my technique and presentation.

I am very grateful to Leyla Jouvana for bringing me into this year to teach a workshopand also be part of judging panel for this year’s competition. I feel very happy and privileged to be on the other side and I would like to wish everyone all the best at this year competition. 

What will you show us on stage and what will you teach us in your workshop?

The details of this year’s show I will leave it as surprise. I will only say that it will be very dramatic. On other hand the workshop that I will be teaching this year is going to be all about veil technique and step combinations. Silk veil is one of my favourite "props" in oriental dance, even though I see it more as extension of my body rather than just as a prop. It ads softness and sensuality to the dance and this is what we are going do, we will be focusing on creating beautiful and flowing veil transitions that can be used for any oriental song and understanding how to dance with it. All the steps and veil combinations are going to be part of my new choreography which is also very dramatic and emotional.
What do you plan for your future career?

I am definitely planning to travel more abroad to belly dance festivals as this year it was a bit difficult with my time. I am already teaching regular classes in London, so I am planning to build my school more. I am also starting to teach new additional classes in January next year. I perform for private events on regular basis and I am building additional career as medical herbalist in London clinics. So there are already lots of things going on, but definitely I would like to meet more wonderful people, continue to support festivals like Leyla’s festival, as I know how much work she has put into it and bring more international teachers into the UK to continue to grow Oriental dance in England

Thank you very much and see you all soon,
Sarasvati Dance 


The winners of the solo categories 2014, left to right.: Payal Gupta (India) – Bollywood/Indian Fusion, Chloé Schwartz (F) – Fusion/Fantasy, Mor Geffen (IL) - Tribal Fusion and Folklore, Pauline Ata (F) – Tribal Fusion, Sarasvati (GB) - Classic Oriental Dance
Graphics/WebDesign: Konstanze Winkler