10 question quickie...Amanda Rose!

A Phoenix favorite, this red headed beauty is one of the hardest working bellydancer's you'll come across. She teaches, performs as a soloist (and with others as well) she heads up the Raks Sharqi Movement Collective, she is a featured dancer in the newly released bellydance.org performance DVD, "The Stars of Bellydance". And if that's not enough somewhere in there she squeezes in enough time to compete. Her latest effort has won her a much coveted position on the cast of Jillina's amazing "Bellydance Evolution" Show! Congratulations to the beautiful Amanda Rose.

Lucky for us that with such a full schedule she still managed to give us a quick little interview. I'm thrilled to present to you the lovely Amanda Rose!

1. What first attracted you to Middle Eastern dancing?

AR: I spent my entire childhood as a tomboy and a complete jock so when I started learning Middle Eastern Dance it was the first time that I really felt feminine and pretty. Nothing before that had really brought that out in me and I think that at the age of 17 I was internally starving for it. I had theopportunity my senior year in high school to do an independent study on anything of my choice and I chose bellydance. The rest is history :)

2. How long have you been studying/involved with this dance?

AR: I was either 16 or 17 when I took my first class and around 18 when I did my independent study, soooooo at the age of 24 almost 25* that gives me about 9 years? :) I'm still young :P

3. Why do you continue to study it?

AR: I continue to study and dance because I love it. I love the expression, the depth, the musicality, the physical challenge of new technique and moves. I love learning about other cultures and societies and the way these dances are completely woven into them and reflects the development of their cultures over time. I love it all :)

4. What is most challenging about it?

AR: I think the most challenging parts are identifying what it is that you want to say with your dance, defining what you want your style to look like and then executing it. I also think its hard to say something different, to learn from your instructors, teachers and mentors but then to take what they've given you and find your own voice and own style within the art. Last but not least I think that authenticity is difficult. I love learning about how these styles have evolved, where they come from and what they look like in their "natural habitat" but finding correct information is very difficult. I enjoy seeing the differences between how bellydancers see styles and how Arabs see styles, and what appeals to each of those audiences and why. Regardless I appreciate all styles of belly dance from tribal to cab to turkish or whatever, they all hold their own value.

5. What is your next goal pertaining to Middle Eastern dance?

AR: I would say that my next goal is to continue to develop my teaching and performing skills and to do more traveling. I have some dates scheduled to teach around the USA in 2012 and I'm greatly enjoying visiting other dance communities and showing them what I have to offer. I'd also like to continue to work with Sahra Saeeda and her Journey Through Egypt program which is absolutely amazing and has increased my knowledge of Egyptian folkloric styles, culture and history ten fold.

6. What/who is your inspiration at the moment?

AR: Oooo thats tough... I'd have to name a couple, I rarely can say its just one dancer. Currently I'm inspired by lots of Cairo and Egyptian Styled dancers: Tito Seif, Mohamed Shahin, Orit Maftsir and Munique Neith. All of them are amazing and offer something different.

7. In the early years where you presented with challenges concerning family and friends or did you have their support?

AR: My friends and family were very supportive, the hard part was making sure they were educated. There are so many misconceptions about "belly dance" and its frustrating trying to defend something or deal with unintentional ignorance about the unknown.

8. What did Middle Eastern dancing change for you?

AR: I think Middle Eastern dance changed a lot! How I saw myself, giving me a new outlet for expression and exploration of a new culture. Besides the fact that I am now a self employed full-time dance instructor and performer, I live in an amazing dance community and love so many of the dancers here in Arizona. It honestly changed the course of my life and I'm very happy with where I am now.

9. What is next for you in this dance?

AR: Next I suppose is 2012! :) I direct a dance group that I formed about 6 months ago, the Raqs Sharki Movement Collective. I'm thoroughly enjoying working with them and choreographing new material, we have some exciting stuff planned or 2012. I also started to study Arabic this past semester (I got an A in Arabic 101 yay!) so I really look forward to continuing that facet of my Middle Eastern Dance studies. Besides that I think its just a never ending process of learning and growing, incorporating and repeat :) I look forward to continuing my training throughout the year and I have some special projects and surprises* for 2012 so stay tuned :P

10. What other hobbies or passions do you enjoy and do you have time for them?

AR: I really don't have time for other hobbies lol, they exist in very small form but I have to put all of my energy in one direction, that's the way I am or I never accomplish anything up to my standards. I like decorating, making crafts, pottery, designing cupcakes and food, oh so much food. But for now I have a min pin named B├║falo who takes up my free time and I really really enjoy cupcakes :)

Bonus Questions:

What (one) word would you use to sum up what Middle Eastern dance means to you?

AR: I really wanna use like 12 words here but I'll stick to one... Life . Not in the way that my life is all about Middle Eastern dance, because its not, but in the way that life gives us the opportunity to grow and learn, fail and succeed, feel vulnerable and powerful, and do everything or do nothing and Middle Eastern dance does all of that for me.

Briefly share something about yourself that we wouldn't know from a simple conversation/interview with you.

AR: I am fluent in Castellano (Spanish from Spain). I lived in the Andalucia, Granada and Sevilla, for my senior year of college. I speak Spanish with a lisp in true Spanish style and even pull out the "Andaluz" dialect if I'm talking to someone from Spain. But only Spain because other Spanish speakers already think I'm really weird being super white, red hair, blue eyes and speakin Spanish like a native. Now if only I could make that happen with Arabic :P

*(this interview was done a few weeks before her Amanda's birthday and before she received the news about "Bellydance Evolution")

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