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Graphic design: Konstanze Winkler
Photos ©: Title, 2 and 3 K. Pisowicz, 1 archive, 4 André Elbing
One of the most exiting new Oriental dance artists comes from Poland – Suraiya. Whereever she performs, she will stir up furore. In Germany we could admire her art already at Asmahan el Zein’s “World of Orient”. In November she can be seen – together with her husband Mansour – at Leyla Jouvana’s and Roland’s 19th Oriental Festival. There she will also be a jury member for the contest “Bellydancer of the World”, which is saying something. In the interview below Suraiya introduces herself and her more than full agenda to us.

"I ALWAYS GET INSPIRED BY BEAUTIFUL MUSIC"

Interview with Suraiya

by Marcel Bieger

What did you do before dancing?

I have been involved into sport and dance ever since I remember. I always used to spend a big part of my life on physical activities. Apart of being a dance teacher, since nearly 10 years I am also working as a fitness instructor. I tried many dance styles but nothing really stole my soul like oriental dance did. It totally changed me!

Dance was always my big passion but I did not plan to be a professional dancer. I am educated as Master of International Affairs and Diplomacy – I was supposed to have a “regular office job” but my passion for dance and artistic soul won and I decided to make dance my main profession. I put all my energy on oriental dance as the only one that I really loved the most. I started very hard trainings, travels, classes with world best masters – I dedicated all my time and attention to it! It worked sooner than I expected. I am very happy I made this decision – it has changed my whole life. It is truly amazing that thanks to one step I took years ago now I can consider myself as a very happy and fulfilled woman. I really love my job in 100%!
What are your favourite styles and dances?

I don’t have any favourite one really. I love oriental dance in all it’s kinds. If I would really have to pick up then I think that I would say that Egyptian Baladi is something I love the most – whenever I hear a baladi music I get a very intense artistic excitement … it makes me melt and totally fall into music.
How do you proceed when you are working on a new dancing piece?

An artist can get inspired by anything. If it comes to me, I always get inspired very easily by a beautiful music. If I hear a music piece that steals my heart usually I automatically have a vision of the whole performance. I just close my eyes and I see straight the choreography, costume, make-up etc. in a few seconds I get a full vision of what I want to present with this music.

I love working on new performances – I feel that I create something that is very personal, emotional and I always give a big part of me to every dance.
You seem to be very busy, please tell us more about "Euro Raks" and "Egyptian Fever Festival”.

Yes, that’s true - I hardly find some time to rest but I love my active life style full of travels, new people, new places- it is very exciting. I usually have around 20 international trips a year plus work in Poland.Apart of being an Artist I must be also a business woman because I am organizing two festivals a year in my home town Katowice : Euro Raks Congress in spring time and Egyptian Fever Festival in autum. I treat these events as my “children” – I love inviting world best Oriental Artists to Poland and introducing them to Polish dancers, I feel like it’s my small mission to do that.

I am trying to organize a complete oriental event with best stars giving workshops and shows, competitions, open stage, bazaars etc. I am very happy that my events are not only popular in Poland but we also have visitors from abroad. Apart of travels and organizing I am trying to find time for other projects like recording DVDs and so on but it is not that easy to connect it all and still have some time for a normal personal life. Luckily my husband Mansour, originally Egyptian, is involved in my work, we usually travel together sharing our love for an art of oriental dance. He is a big support for me.
Would you care to tell us something about your "skype classes"?

It is a very exciting project. It actually works pretty well. Thanks to new technologies the world became really small. Skype classes are giving me a pleasure to meet students from far corners of the world and work with them on technical sides of oriental dance. I enjoy this very much and thanks to it I met many lovely ladies from all over the world!

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Homepage Suraiya: www.suraiya.pl
Suraiya
on YouTube
Suraiya will be guest at Leyla & Roland Jouvana's:
What will we see from you at Leyla's, and what kind of workshops will you give.

First of all - we enjoy working in Germany very much! Students are very open and audiences are extremely generous! During Leyla’s event I will be working with Mansour. We will teach one workshop about Arabic Rhythms and one about Shimmy and Drum solo secrets. We are very happy to be part of this fantastic festival and to meet students we already know and many new ones.

It will be also a pleasure for me to judge in the “Bellydancer of the world” contest – I always feel very happy to watch new generations of international dancers, their fresh visions and interpretations, I find it very exciting. If it comes to the show for sure I will dance something with all my heart and soul - to know what it will be I guess you just have to come and watch it live!