Interview with belly dancer Leila Yulliyah

Originally, belly dance is improvised dance and I try to bring it back to these roots.

Tell us about yourself and what you do?
I am Leila Yuliyah, a belly dancer based in Berlin, Germany. I started to study middle eastern dance at the age of 12 and have been doing it ever since.

By now, I perform on a regular basis at private parties, like birthdays or weddings as well as in shows and festivals. This year I organized my first own show, which combined a concert with dance performances. Videos of it can be found on my website:

I am also teaching belly dance in weekly classes and workshops for all levels.

What do you like most about belly dance?
Most of all, I like that this is a very free art form, where the performer has all opportunities to express herself.

Originally, belly dance is improvised dance and I try to bring it back to these roots. Improvisation is more difficult than choreographed dance, because it requires full presence at every single moment. It is also more intimate, as it exhibits unconsciously the whole personality of the dancer and puts her inside on the outside.

Thus embracing the true beauty of the human soul.

To achieve this, I work with live music. Through the interaction of musicians and dancer a unity can be reached, where emotions are not separately translated into music (by the musicians) and movements (by the dancer), but into a higher form of communication and understanding, that is free from language barriers and cultural differences.

What are your plans for the future?
2014 was a very challenging year for me with lots of changes in my private and artistic life. Some doors closed, but others have opened. I clearly see the path that I want to follow.

In 2015, I will concentrate on producing videos and photos, instead of performing. I want to reach a broader audience and be more picky about the venues that I perform in. I might even turn down opportunities, if they don’t fit into my vision.

On the one hand, I am committed to the traditional way of oriental dance, on the other hand, I am aiming for a new interpretation of it. This desire will be mirrored in the music that I choose for my dancing. I am slowly moving away from traditional belly dance music to more contemporary pieces of middle eastern music. I cannot tell, where this will lead me, but I am very excited to learn and grow.

Most importantly, I focus on working with live music. I started taking classes with an oud player and want to consequently improve my performance skills. I am thinking to take acting classes additionally.

At the end of the day, I want to create my own production, but I think, there is still a long way to go. I would be happy if you would join my journey and follow me via facebook, Youtube or on my blog.


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