Samina's natural talent for dance has seen her train in a range of styles over many years. In 2000, she found her heart's home in folkloric bellydance, and her first love 'baladi'. An accomplished teacher and choreographer, her effortless style expresses the emotions of the folkloric style of baladi through mesmerising taqsim and earthy and enlivening improvisations, highlighted by playful accents. She has performed with various troupes including Awalim, the Roving Raqs Sharqis and Kahi Hiomi: women of earth. She is one of the founding members of TABLA bellydance.
I love the exploration of emotion within the style. Whist it's not really a story-telling dance form, you can take your audience on an emotional journey. I love the friendships that are made and the amazing support that comes from being part of this community.
2. If you had time to learn another dance style, what would it be?
You know, that Morris Dancers Vs Bellydancers Challenge that ran at the National Folk Festival for a few years did get me thinking that Morris Dancing could actually be a lot of fun (if very strenuous) ... if not Morris Dancing, then ballet, though I think I'd want to take Sirene Dance's "Rock the Ballet" classes.
3. What has been the most challenging movement for you to learn in bellydance?
Upwards figure 8's nearly killed me until we started moving with them. I think having that moment where your legs and feet can create the movement gave me the insight I needed to put my heels back on the floor and create the movement with my hips. I do also recall the shimmie layered over a downward figure 8 that was in Legendary (though everyone but Basimah says it was never there) ... that was a bit tricky at the time! :)
I don't know that the berber walk is something I have felt totally comfortable doing ... I always feel that it jolts a little ... I'm sure one day I'll work out what I'm doing wrong!
4. If you could have a private bellydance lesson from anyone in the world, who would you choose?
Ooh! So many choices! It's difficult to choose one ... Mata Hari - just to find out what she was like! Suhaila Salimpour, and I'd really love to hang out with the ladies from Bellydance Soulfire! I love their drum pieces!
5. What is your favourite piece from the TABLA bellydance repertoire and why?
I loved doing Megan's Orientale duet with her, and the Baladi Orientalis that Johari and I choreographed was always enjoyable to perform. I think my all-time favourite would have to by the "Byzantine Tambourine" to Istanbul, not Constantinople - it's a really fun dance and always gets a great response from an audience.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is new to bellydance or is thinking of getting into bellydance?
Learn as much as you can, go to as many classes as you can with lots of different teachers, and go to lots of workshops! There are so many dancers out there and each of them will teach you something new and different. Ask lots of questions, don't be scared to make mistakes, and do lots of personal reading and research. Bellydance, and Middle-Eastern dance, goes well beyond what it initially appears to be!
7. What is one essential item you keep in your dance bag?
My water bottle ... well, it should be, but I am bad at remembering it sometimes!
And now for the serious questions:
8. If you could only eat two foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Rice. And bok choy ... if I have bok choy with cashews does that count as one?
9. If you were marooned on a desert island (with a plentiful food source), what three things would you want with you?
My husband (can I bring a person? ... is it fair to make him marooned, too?), a solar powered iPod with unlimited internet access so I can download more songs when I'm bored of the ones that are on there ... and ... a solar powered e-reader, same deal as the iPod. :) It must have been hard to be stranded on a desert island when books only came on paper!
10. Sweet or Savoury? Day or night? Top Bunk or Bottom Bunk? Driver or Passenger? Pirates or Ninjas?
Depends on my mood. Night. Bottom. Passenger. Pirates!