‘Whatever you do, everything is behind bellydance’

Posted by admin in World Dance

In preparation for my trip to Turkey, I talked to and emailed and facebooked everyone I knew (and didn’t know) in connection to Turkey or Turkish dance. From the amazing Artemis Mourat, Turkish and Romani style teacher and dancer, I received a few wonderful leads. It seems her student, Gigi (Dilsah) was now living and working as a dancer in Istanbul. Not only did Gigi reply to me kindly and promptly, she was going to take the same workshops as I with Ozgen and Reyhan.  I’m so blessed for this introduction by Artemis, because Gigi turned out to be such a sweet generous person who translated the interview with Reyhan and gave my sister and I a tour of Istanbul!  She’s a beautiful dancer and performer and an intelligent teacher who is currently performing at Gar restaurant in Istanbul.

The following videos are excerpts from our interview we did after her show.  She talked about the limited dance opportunities for Oriental/belly dancers in Turkey.  There are only a handful of places where you can see ‘real’ bellydancers perform.  She told me about the confusion people have when they think of bellydance as many performers or exotic dancers will use similar costumes. Many club owners will mark the distinction of their clubs by having raised stages that separate performer from audience and some prohibit dancing around the tables.  That these night club and dinner shows are ‘classy’ and charge a moderate to high amount for the experience, excludes many Turkish people from seeing dancers who treat this artform with pride and commitment.

We talked about her personal dance history and her commitment to dance.  When discussing other danceforms she said, “Bellydance is so strong and selfish, it wants you by itself.   Everything else is supporting your bellydance.  Whatever you do, everything is behind bellydance.”  Well we can all be greatful for artists like Gigi, who commit so passionately to their artform.





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