I have been dancing oriental dance since 1991 and immediately fell in love with it. It felt right and gave me a good feeling. I have no idea what I was taught during the first year, I only remember that it felt good.
Four years later I was asked to give lessons and I very reluctantly agreed. I had never thought of myself as a teacher of anything. However, the more I taught the more I learned about teaching and the more I liked it. Gradually it became a full time job that I now enjoy very much. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to make a career out of a hobby.
I have been studying with the best teachers that oriental dance has to offer, and among my favourites are Mahmoud Reda, Yousry Sharif, Raqia Hassan and Beata and Horacio Cifuentes. Having had many different teachers has given me a wide perspective of different oriental dance styles and techniques. It has also given me a good understanding of the necessity of a good basis. Variety gives the opportunity to learn more and find your own character as a dancer.
I have been to Egypt nine times now and go there every year. When dancing and teaching an ethnic dance it is essential to know and understand about the culture it comes from. You have to be a constant student and educate yourself more and more about the dance and its origins. Apart from Egypt, I have studied dance in France and Tunisia and of course Finland. In Paris I studied mainly with Leila Haddad, who introduced me to North African folkloric dances. Among those Tunisian dance, proud, energetic and powerful, is my favourite.
As with most other dancers, my the extra-curricular activities tend to be dance-related. In the year 2000 I was a co-producer of the first Yalla! International Oriental Dance Festival in Helsinki and also acted as its publicist. I have continued to do public relations work for the festivals of 2002 and 2004 and it is nice to see that gradually the media awareness of oriental dance is getting more serious and real.
I feel alive when I dance. I love it.
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