Popi runs belly dance classes in Prairiewood and Horsley Park in Sydney.  This year, her annual Hafla raised money for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead – this is her feature performance.

You can see more clips on her website at orientaldance.com.au

Interview with Sydney belly dancer Popi Iatrou

How did you get started with belly dancing?
I remember from a very young age when I would go to any Greek party I would be waiting anxiously for the Tsifteteli music to start and I would be the first one on the dance floor. My first proper lessons were at about age 21 and then I had a huge break to have a family. I restarted at about age 31 simply to lose some baby weight. Things took off pretty quickly from there.

What is your favourite belly dancing style and/or prop?
I love many Egyptian styles such as Oriental, Baladi, Shaabi and many folkloric styles like Saiid and Eskanderani. I am always learning.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on your belly dance style?
Of course my teachers in Sydney have had a huge influence on me. I love to watch dancers from all over the world to get inspiration. Even watching Fred Astaire the other day gave me inspiration. My big favourites from Egypt are Suhair Zaki, Fifi Abdo, Dina and Randa Kamel to name a few.

What advice would you offer an aspiring belly dancer?
Three things:
Firstly, from discipline comes freedom.
Secondly, dance as a way of connecting with others in a positive way. Competitiveness and negativity impede the journey.
Finally, let the dance take you where it wills – don’t force it.

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