What it means to be an Oriental Dancer


Being an Oriental Dancer – a professional artist who loves the craft more than she/he loves her/himself – is more than a label or a stigmatized gift. It´s a way of life, an awareness that shapes everything you think, feel, say and do.

Here are some of the things Oriental Dancers, the ones who are in the art for the long (upper) run, know and do:

  1. They know their bodies are their primary tools. So they feed them well,  keep them fit (not skinny), give them the needed rest and appreciate them.
  2. They know their craft demands total presence – body, mind, heart and soul. So they make sure each of those dimensions is attended on a daily basis. A good, clean and clear head; a soft, pure heart and a soul which is present & active in the body are non negotiable.
  3. They know Oriental Dance – aka Raks Sharki – is a Language. So they make sure they have worthy, rich, beautiful stories to tell.
  4. They know humbleness and question marks belong to the Artists as much as arrogance and certainties belong to wanna be´s. So they cultivate humbleness and a mind which always open, eager to keep learning and expanding.
  5. They know their craft is bigger than themselves. So they serve the craft instead of serving themselves through the craft.
  6. They know Oriental Dance demands Humanity. So they make sure they remain human in a world which tends to turn us into extensions of machines.
  7. They know there´s no evolution, and long term success, without reinvention. So they find new ways of expressing themselves, venues, tools and projects.
  8. They know Listening & Feeling is at the core of their craft. So they take time to STOP!, Listen & Feel.
  9. They know there´s no great Oriental Dance with vanity. So they loose themselves – their ego – in the music and disappear inside the dance. They learn, study, prepare; they cultivate technique and every sort of important data but they empty themselves of all that knowledge once the Real Dance starts. “Travel light, sister” – they whisper to themselves before making a move. Curiously, once they lose themselves, and their egos, they become as big as the soul which is suddenly guiding them.


    Art by Dr. Wassma Al Agha

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