Safa is a welcome addition to the vibrant Perth belly dancing community. Originally from Canada, she has taught and danced all over the North American continent and developed her own unique style of fusion belly dance based on her studies in West African dance, hip hop, classical Egyptian bellydance, and modern tribal fusion.
She’s now teaching at Victoria Park in Perth. You’ll find details of class times, costs, class outlines and more on her website at www.khafif.com/safadancer.
These two clips show two very different sides of Safa!
Interview with Perth bellydancer Safa
How did you get started with belly dancing?
When I was 13, one of my friends in school’s mother taught bellydancing, and I gave it a try. I liked it so much, I kept doing it! I started taking classes everywhere I could, traveling down to the US from Canada to study; then I started teaching classes and performing regularly…and the rest is history!
What is your favourite belly dancing style and/or prop?
Well, I’m a tribal fusion dancer, so I have to say tribal fusion! I think tribal fusion is amazingly beautiful: it’s a combination of technical skill and deep emotion, expressed through multiple forms of dance all melded together into a cohesive whole. I love that you can add all kinds of dancing together to create something truly unique to the dancer.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your belly dance style?
The dance group that had the greatest influence on my deciding to study and perform in tribal fusion is a group that isn’t together anymore: Ghawazee, based in Pittsburgh, PA. They were one of the first performance troupes in the US East Coast to perform what we now call tribal fusion — they wore textiled choli tops from Rajasthan instead of coin bras or beaded bedlah, and combined traditional bellydance moves with Persian and Indian moves.
Since then, I’ve studied with a variety of wonderful dancers: Rachel Brice, Suhaila Salimpour, Jill Parker, Mira Betz, Carolena Nericcio and Zoe Jakes among them, as well as with professional dance companies Urban Tribal, Awalim, Ultra Gypsy, UNMATA!, and Gypsy Caravan. I also get a lot of inspiration from modern dance and yoga as well.
What advice would you offer an aspiring belly dancer?
You wouldn’t be dancing if you could say what you want to say in words: you’re dancing because that’s the best way to express yourself. So let that expression show!