DISPLAY IMAGES Farah Nasri Dancer
An Exclusive with 
Farah Nasri
Welcome to this month's Zameen. In this issue we'll be talking with Farah Nasri an international bellydance star. Based here in London she works in the top restaurants, is director of the Algerian Ballet and founder of Bellydance Trophies. She talks about her love of dance and shares her advice on how to be the best dancer you can.

Since the first time I saw Farah dance she has been an inspiration to me.  It's been an honor and joy interviewing her. I hope you enjoy this and the rest of the newsletter.
Love Zara & Sandra xx   

Display Image

Farah Nasri

An exclusive interview with an international star and inspirational dancer

Farah - where to start! You have done so much as a dancer, trained in so many styles, directed your own ballet and you have even run your own bellydance competition! How did this all start? When did you realize you wanted to be a bellydancer?  

Well, I don’t think I ever chose or wanted to be a bellydancer…I loved dancing… I think it just happened… I did my first restaurant appearance when I was 16 simply because I wanted to wear one of the sparkly costumes Suzannah had on her sofa, on the table and in her cupboards! Suzannah was my very first bellydance teacher. Entering her home was like opening a treasure box, everywhere you looked, you could see sparkle â€“ still today, I look forward to visiting her.

Farah Nasri
If you were there you wouldn't believe your eyes : Costumes made, costumes being made, fabrics, coin belts, chiffon skirts, dancers' portraits, saggats …everything shinny…her home was an experience in itself. The TV would be on with dancers from old or more recent times and after having indulged my eyes with the beautiful cossies, we would listen to classic Egyptian songs from cassettes. Suzannah would move her head left and right with her legendary smile and with each cassette she was telling a story…I would pay attention to all the details from her various narratives…

Finally, my first show…it was in a Lebanese restaurant.  Suzannah had lent me one of the beautiful costumes – very Samia Gamal. I had put a cross next to each of the songs I wanted to dance from a CD we had at home. My mum and her friend came with me.  There was no way I was allowed to go alone so with my 2 bodyguards and trust me they were taking their new role with utter seriousness (though they were still excited), we entered the restaurant. Soon, I started dancing. People were clapping, joining in and I was smiling. That smile never left me; I had found what made me happy; what made me truly smile. 
"That smile never left me ... I had found what made me truly smile." 

Display ImagesRestaurant shows were coming once in a while, then once a month, then every every week!  I had 2 costumes : a green bedlah and a purple 2 piece from Madame Abla. Thinking about it now, I still don’t understand how it all looked normal: getting changed in the kitchen cupboard.. it never shocked me! I would die if someone was asking this of me now.  I mean, I am so used to changing in the toilets these days that dropping this comfort for a kitchen cupboard would not be on! Ok, jokes aside… I loved it. I was doing my choreographies, which I would have always prepared extensively – I was so into not making any mistakes and remembering every step I had put together. No one could have ever disturbed my concentration.

I was loving it! I also took part in stage performances, as a company member, which I enjoyed very much: big stages, more costumes, dancing with the girls, the rehearsals… but nothing had taken my heart as much as the restaurant work. And still today, if I have to choose between a renowned theatre stage or a cabaret, I’d be in the cabaret! Or me being me, I would do the stage show for the experience but run after the show to the cabaret.

Why? Money matters? No, because people matter. Nothing can replace the proximity of people, seeing them smiling, clapping, taking part or just watching them getting on with their business. It is a whole soap opera you are taking part in. You know you dance but you watch what people do too. You can imagine their stories: couples making up,  couples breaking up, family meals, groups of guys focusing on a group of girls and making plans on how to get their attention and vice versa! You see the singer, the musicians, the boss, the waiters, the shisha boys and how they all interact with each other… and you dance. 
"..nothing had taken my heart as much as the restaurant work...if I have to choose between a renowned theatre stage or a cabaret, I’d be in the cabaret!"

You dance not only for you or for the customers but for EVERYONE, and you know what? When the singer, the musicians, the audience, the waiters, the kitchen chef, the bouncer: all of them stop what they are doing to simply look at you, clap, smile & cheer… it is when the osmosis transforms in hypnosis as if the whole place was high on some delirious substance. That’s why I want to be a bellydancer.  Yes that’s my answer - I want to be high on dance and music.
Check out Farah's dancing at Zara's Zouk event Dance Meze:

 "I want to be high on dance and music."

That all sounds so passionate - is this what drives you? How did you become so good as a dancer?

Well, as I mentioned above my aim is to reach this hypnosis state and to reach it you have to take a higher dose each time. So you multiply the possibilities of getting high by being more creative musically and technically.  The good news is - there is no overdose and if I was dying of dance, I’d die with a smile on my face. 
Then, I don’t know if we can say I became ‘so good.’ I guess I‘ll just leave it to people to judge. As far as I am concerned, I will never be good enough and this is a blessing and a curse! It pushes me to learn more, train more, listen more. The problem is that the more you learn, the more you realise that there is MORE to learn! I am aware I am very harsh with myself but in my eyes it is a good thing too.  

It sounds like you are on an amazing journey with your dance. Can you share some of what you've learnt along the way? What are your top tips for a show stopping performance and dancers wanting to reach the 'top'? 

Farah Nasri ImageOh dear, I don’t know if I am able to answer that. I mean, what makes a show stopping performance? I guess, we are all sensitive to different things, different factors take our breath away. 

In my opinion, being yourself is key. I know it is easy to say and how many years did I spend trying to be myself? The question was: who was I? What was suiting me? How was I appearing in people’s eyes? What triggered this or that in the audience? What costumes suited me? Am I at ease to dance or not? What music do I prefer? What dance style makes me thrill? And you learn. You watch. You listen. You try. You practice…and ... you don’t know! And you know why you don’t know? Because at the back of your mind you are not searching for you but you are making decisions trying to please others! 
"It is only when you finally dance for you that you become you…"

It is only when you finally dance for you that you become you. I guess that ‘s what makes people fall in love.  It is not about being selfish. It is about getting to know you, accepting you, your body, the movements that suit you, taking risks that are measured to you. When finally you reach that state you enjoy and when YOU enjoy, the audience does too!

Farah, thank you for your inspiring words and advice. We wish you continued success in your dance and always look forward to what you have in store for us next!  x x  
Workshops with Farah Nasri
Learn From The Expert ... Not only is Farah a fantastic dancer but, from personal experience, I can't recommend her teaching enough! She has two workshops in London coming up.  I'm booked on both and recommend you come too ... 
Saidi a la Farah
16th March 2-4pm London

Saidi style technique - Wow your audience with modern and traditional Upper Egyptian steps, Cairo influences and a touch of Lebanon! MORE DETAILS HERE

Check out Farah with a STICK !!
Modern Oriental
29th June 2- 4pm London
- Expression and interpretation, 'Drama, but not too much!'
- Improvisation, 'Repetition, to avoid or to make the most of?'
- oriental technique and combos 
'Practice makes perfect' MORE DETAILS HERE
Also ....
Check out Farah's Website:
and Like her page on facebook 
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