I’m pleased to say that although Shamira is based in Adelaide, I have experienced her teaching – and loved it! I was lucky enough to do one of her workshops at the SydMedFest, and I’d have to say it’s one of the best technique workshops I’ve ever done. Shamira has a knack for apt visualisations to help students “get” a move – I’ll never do a maya again without imagining those ice cream scoops on my hips!
Shamira’s school, Belly Dance Arabesque, teaches Tribal and Bollywood as well as classical belly dance.
Shamira’s classes have also been featured on TV!
Interview with Adelaide belly dancer Shamira
1. How did you get started with belly dancing?
I went along to enrol in a car maintenance class at an adult education venue, but ended up doing belly dancing instead. I never have got round to doing that car maintenance class!
2. What is your favourite belly dancing style and/or prop?
My favourite style is classical. Although I do enjoy the Modern Egyptian style, (it’s a great muscle workout) I feel the classical style is more me.
When I first started performing, some Egyptian customers in the restaurant told me my style was very Andalusian. I thought they meant that I had a Spanish influence in my style, which confused me, but later understood that they were referring to the style Mowashahaat which is also described as Andalusian.
Of course veils go beautifully with the classical style, so I guess that’s my favourite prop. You can’t go past a sword though for the ultimate dramatic effect.
3. Who or what has had the greatest influence on your belly dance style?
Hard to say, as I didn’t have a lot of outside influence in the early days. When I started, there were about 3 videos available in Australia, and I didn’t have a video player, so only saw little bits here and there when visiting a fellow dance student. However after doing workshops with Amaya from USA and Beata from Germany and at Rakkasah in San Francisco in 1993 my style was influenced by lot of little bits and pieces from different people.
4. What advice would you offer an aspiring belly dancer?
My advice to an aspiring belly dancer would be to never forget what attracted you to the dance in the first place. Remember the “wow” feeling you got when you saw your first impressive performance. Never worry about what gigs other dancers are getting or how they are getting them. Just enjoy each opportunity to perform and your personality and love of the dance will shine through. And of course, practise, practise, practise.