This is the translation from a blogpost in German on Bellydanceinfo.de:

Chapter 1: Butterflies

Bildschirmfoto 2018-02-18 um 13.49.26Around 2002: I am standing in one of my bellydance classes and I rediscover an instrument I had only ever experienced before in Russian folk culture. But this time it sounds so different. Foreign and familiar at the same time. It’s like I am hearing accordion for the very first time. I am hypnotised by the interaction and the soulfulness of this strange music.
(Picture: My first Baladi CD)

 

Chapter 2: The First Date

1148892_641294685903995_550877635_nI spend years studying and travelling to complete not one, but many dance education programmes. Baladi is often mentioned, but still, something is missing. I love Momo Kadous’s teaching and Baladi-style choreographies, but what I remember most is how he loves this music the way I do.

“You have to listen to Baladi when you are ill,” he says “because this music heals.” I realise this is something big.

(Momo Kadous Education Certificate, I finished in 2013)

 

Chapter 3: Going Steady

I take more workshops. A lot of them. At home and abroad. Good ones, bad ones, downright terrible ones! And then: the excellent ones. I’ll focus on those. I’d heard Nesma was a good dancer but the moment which changes everything for me is when I see her dancing Baladi with Live Music. This touches me like never before. It’s like that first time again, only… better! Beautiful accordion played by the charming Ahmed Abdel Fattah. I watch Nesma dancing with such effortless pride and elegance – pure joy. I notice something. Nesma is dancing on her own schedule. Accenting and reacting to the music only when she chooses. She doesn’t allow the music to rush her or slow her down. She tells her story, her way. I book my flight to Madrid to study with her.

Bildschirmfoto 2018-02-18 um 13.16.5011667488_1020482191318574_4262584799489985307_n11700843_1020482121318581_5330183259643538401_n10645077_858822627484532_7607906062709068668_n
(Pictures: From Raks Madrid 2013-2016, Nesmas Education and Baladi Projekts with Ahmed Abdel Fattah and her)

Chapter 4: Doing The Groundwork

1383187_667737469926383_143835727_nEarly on, I understood that, dance is only 50% of the story. The other part is the music. So I dig deeper. I take more lessons, again some good and some not, but let’s stick with the best of them. Egyptian drummer Guy Schalom teaches me to analyse the structure of Baladi from the ground up. Suddenly a whole new depth of musical understanding hits me. All those complicated changes and mood shifts which before seemed chaotic and random now make perfect sense. I can see the music in my mind as I hear it. I can even anticipate the changes as they come. I almost dance without thinking.

(Picture: with Guy Schalom after finishing studying with him for one year in Berlin 2012)

 

 

 

Chapter 5: Saying Yes

IMG_5751Now, I understand the history, the dance and the music. It’s time for the next step. It’s new years eve and I decide to go to Egypt. I fly to Sharm el Sheik and also visit Cairo, Luxor and every city I fancy. No return flight. I did something similar when studying with teachers in Moscow the previous year. I want to step into the unknown and to stay there as long as I need. An adventure just for myself, not for Facebook. This golden opportunity cannot be waisted with selfies. This is the reason I never made this time public, because it was only for me. I meet people, see dances I love and dances I hate. I take private lessons with superstars and housewives and enjoy every moment.

Now people tell me my dance has changed. That I am more relaxed. They don’t know that I changed not only my dance but I am a different person now. I don’t believe in being ready. I believe in doing what frightens you. Because that’s the only way to grow. But still, it’s important to look back and realise what you have already achieved. And just be thankful. And I am.

My newest Baladi Video:

My next projects with Baladi and Live Music in Berlin and London:

27751627_10160158073035434_8808265096285385209_nPassion

Find more out about it here: www.guyschalom.com/berlin