• Rachel Bennett and Zara Dance

An interview with Zara Dance by Rachel Bennett

I was VERY LUCKY to have featured in Rachel Bennett's newsletter this month it included an interview and I also wrote an article about feeling good in your bellydance costumes no matter the budget!

You can read the original article and newsletter here

I recommend you sign up for her lovely newsletter tooo...

Below is a copy of the interview - Hope it gives you a little more insight into me as a dancer. Happy Shimmies - Zara

So Zara, when did you start dancing? I started belly dancing at the age of 17 – teaching myself with vcrs that my mum had bought at an art fair. I quickly fell in love, joined a local class with Terry Hardy and bought myself a costume. I was hooked and did little else in my free time. By the age of 18 I was performing in restaurants Which Bellydancers inspire you? Without a doubt my favourite dancer and all time inspiration is Fifi Abdou. I love her whole dance persona, very ‘el bent’ the girl next door in her younger days and in later life ‘el set’ a relatable strong Egyptian woman character. Her moves look effortless and so natural when performing. Her musical interpretation is spot on. I never bore of watching her. Where do you currently teach? I currently tour the UK doing workshops (you can find out details of those here) and also teach private classes from my home in London. What's your favourite costume? Oooo it has to be my first ever costume– a pink dress. I had only been dancing a few months and went to a festival. I saw it in the souk and fell in LOVE - I begged my mum to help me to afford to buy it as it was nearly £300!! She said yes, but that I had better take this bellydance hobbies seriously and actually make something of it. I wore it for my first solo– ironically the zip at the back popped open during the performance! I still own it today and still perform in it – It inspires me to always ensure I am making something of myself as a belly dancer!

What's your top bellydance tip? Express yourself – you have to train hard in bellydance technique so you have the vocabulary to express yourself. But if you have nothing to say or express when dancing those moves are vacuous, robotic and I have to say torturous to watch. What's your secret skill? Ooooo well I have a few but without a doubt the one I fall back on time and time again is that I feel I am quite good at getting the audience to engage with me and if they are on side … your performance is always a breeze My favourite part of my body is..... Ooo I just love my curves – so much fun to shimmy lol In my bellydance bag, I'm never without.... A razor … I had the horror of once realising I had forgotten to shave my armpits before a performance and that feeling of fear has never left me. I find knowing I have a razor in my bag puts my mind at rest. How do you boost your confidence?

  • Self-acceptance

  • acknowledging my achievements (it's all too easy to concentrate on what you don’t like/are not good at),

  • channelling my energy into bettering myself and not at being resentful/jealous of others

  • and finally making quite brave and daring decisions to take the steps to reaching my goals and dreams.

If you want something in life GO GET IT! What's your greatest ambition? Like so many: To go to Egypt and become a famous bellydancer! What's the last bellydance song you listened to? My set last night finished with That el sheback! A classic that I can’t help but sing along to whilst I perform. My favourite food is.... Greek yoghurt covered in honey, coconut flakes, figs, dates, raisins and basically anything else indulgent in the cupboard ! Check out Zara's website:www.zaradance.com &www.zaraszouk.co.uk


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Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved Zara Dance, Egyptian Bellydancer London,  
part of the Zara's Zouk family
Photography by Evie Kalila
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