What can I say about Georgette? I’ve taken her classes. Her lively, bubbly personality is a great motivator – plus she really knows her stuff. She’s also a lovely entertaining dancer, with precise technique and an irreverent sense of fun which never fails to get the audience going!
This performance at the 2008 Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival is typical. I saw it live and she shimmied…and shimmied some more. Then she mimed feeling faint (still shimmying) and a roadie rushed out with a bottle of water. She threw it back – still shimmying – then, revived, shimmied even more! Comedy and awesome skill at the same time – amazing!
…and here she is at one of Terezka Drznik’s shows:
Georgette has followed her partner to Darwin and is now teaching there.
Interview with Belly Dancer Georgette
How did you get started with belly dancing?
I began belly dancing to lose the weight everyone seems to put on in their first year of university. I hate exercise with a passion but dancing never felt like exercising! My teacher Despina Rosales, seemed to think I had some sort of potential despite my having two left feet and not having any training in “ballet, jazz, bla bla bla” and so she lined me up with a regular restaurant gig which, looking back at it now, I really wasn’t ready for but she knew I could pull it off! She then introduced me to Amera from Amera’s Palace who took me under her isis wings and I have never looked back.
What is your favourite belly dancing style and/or prop?
Probably the old school Balady Accordian – it’s just so organic and soft and strong all at once. You can really feel the emotion and get stuck into it and not have to worry about anyone or anything . It’s a very personal, very selfish ‘me’ style that you can get lost in. Plus it’s usually all improvised and I’m a BIG fan of improvisation (not just because I can’t remember choreographies!) as it doesn’t limit you in regards to things such as expression and interpretation.
Khaleegy – The rhythm just gets you in and you can’t help but move to it. AND – if you’re having a fat day, you just throw a thobe on and away you go! Because it’s a folkloric style it’s nice to be able to dance with other dancers so I guess what I’m saying is that it’s a very social dance and as it gets mighty lonely out there performing solos day in a day out, it’s nice for a bit of change!
Saiidi – it’s so strong and powerful and I like having a stick to weild! Plus you just gotta love the mizmar and drums!
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your belly dance style?
In an artistic and professional sense – Amera, Dounia, Dahlia and Michelle (internationally – Fifi Abdo). That generation of dancers (just before me), each had their own style, their own personalities, didn’t choreograph too much and knew how to dance to a band and work a crowd. They were/are true entertainers in my eyes – not just dancers. They knew how to have fun. They were/are classy, strong women who took crap from no-one and yet were very respectful towards each other and their audiences. Oh, and they all wore the most amazing costumes!
In a business sense, I owe it all to Despina who taught me to value what I do, respect what I do and the others who do it and never accept anything less than what I deserve. There are so many dodgy restaurant owners and clients out there that you really do need to be confident in your abilities and stand strong. She also taught me the art of bling and the importance of looking FABULOUS! Neat hair, painted nails, perfect makeup, shaved legs (even if it was just the one that stuck out from the skirt split!) and sparkly accessories.
What advice would you offer an aspiring belly dancer?
Know your art and LOVE what you do. Continue to learn. Have fun and don’t take things too seriously. Don’t overthink things and learn to be able to go with the flow – that’s what belly dance was all about originally. Smile! The more fun you have the more your audience will too. You don’t have be the best technical dancer but you do need to be the best YOU can be. Never compare yourself to another dancer. Be yourself – not a mini version of another dancer. Relax. Enjoy your moment. Invest in a designer costume.