Every young lady dreams of meeting her one and only man; her prince on a white horse or in a polished Mercedes, her Dartanian, her hero.
On the eve of Women’s Day, our reporter in the USA, Mariet Fosnes, talked to one such man. He is talented, temperamental, famous and SINGLE. Nota bene, young ladies…
Rooted in Arabic dance of ancient times, Oriental belly dance, as it is called today, confidently conquers both East and West. Originally performed by women at parties that were far from the eyes of any man, it is now performed for all to appreciate. In fact, it is performed as passionately by men. One such gifted man is Oscar Flores; the center of this interview. Flores is a well known belly dancer from Argentina.
-Oscar, please say a few words about your family.
My small family takes the greatest place in my heart. During my first 23 years of life, I was close to my mother, sister, and niece before I moved to Buenos Aires. My family has always attended my major performances and important events. Naturally, they have come to join me in the recent opening of my new dance studio. I love children, though I have none of my own yet. I adore my niece and she is quite an inspiration to me.
-Is dancing your hobby or your profession?
Dancing is my life. I could make a career in many different areas of work. In the recent past, I have worked as CEO of an international trading company. I have tried other pursuits, but nothing has pleased me as much as dancing. Therefore, I did not hesitate to give up any career for the sake of dancing.
-You performed dances of many peoples of the world and ultimately you prefered Arabic dance. Why?
I studied theatrical art, acting skills, musicals, and I realized how important it was to move and to dance. I was working on Flamenco when my sister performed in the troupe of the Arabic Culture Association of Argentina. It was at this time when the beauty of the Arabic dance and the rich Arabic culture grabbed my attention. That is how I became captivated by Arabic dance. Later I studied traditions and folklore of Arabic countries which differ from country to country. I think a lifetime would not be sufficient to study the cultures of these amazing peoples.
-What is your attitude toward Argentinian Tango which is also now so popular around the world?
In Patagonia, there is a National Federation of foreign communities that represents 23 countries. For several years, I had been a coordinator there and this experience helped me to learn cultural traditions of different peoples. I even happened to perform with Russian dancers. Since then I have been interested in the ways that various dance genres complement and enrich my own style. Tango is one of the most beautiful dances that I have ever experienced. Tango is deeply passionate and infinitely elegant, which makes it unique. Its high esthetic expression attracts admirers from every culture. I love Argentinian Tango.
-You are certainly familiar with the opinion that belly dancing is not meant for men to perform. What do you think of this idea?
I think this opinion is obsolete. Today there are more and more men among belly dancers. Amir Taleb opened the way for men into the world of this amazing dance. He was my teacher too. Belly dancing is good for health, both for men and women, and the belief that it should be performed by women only is prejudice.
-To be a professional dancer of classical ballet means to devote all your time and energy to this art. What is the lifestyle of a professional belly dancer?
In my personal regimen, I must exercise in the gym six days a week, spend two hours daily on the track, and then I teach four to six hours each day. In addition, I perform every week, and these performances require hours of advance preparation. As you see, I have a very busy schedule.
-Belly dancing implies improvisation. Do you choreograph your stage dancing?
When preparing for shows, I do not work on choreography because I have to spend much time studying the music in order to maximize the effect of the rhythm and melodics. When you go on stage, your mood can vary and be quite different depending on circumstances. Working on choreography can make you concentrate on the technical part. Then, it is difficult to express your emotions and character. During a performance, I choose to improvise as it allows me to show my mood; I can carry all my feelings out onto the stage. When I am leaving the stage, it is very important for me to know that I gave all of me to the viewer. As for the technical skills, they are quite manageable and are achieved by many hours of polishing the perfection of specific moves. Thus, during the performance these practiced skills are not lost when you are emotional in the complete dance.
-Many women would like to bellydance, but they think they are not in good shape or are not young enough. What does one need in order to dance?
One needs to want it. Dancing can be called a holiday for the soul and body. When age is mentioned, I share the story of two of my students who are 65 and 87 years of age. The older still participates in New Year Gala concerts. Their enjoyment and participation confirms that one can strive for good health and mood at any age.
-In the future, do you plan to do anything in addition to dancing?
I continue to study dancing including Bollywood and other modern dances. Despite my busy schedule, I would like to resume studies of singing and acting. I believe that one should constantly develop and learn something new. Moreover, I see that the world faces many changes, so I should be ready for new requirements of future times. Regardless of change, I know that all of my activities must be related to art.
-Which bellydancers do you most admire?
I most admire the wonderful dancer and teacher Mahmud Reda. I also like Shokry Mohamed, Samia Gamal, Randa Kamel. Of Tribal Fusion dancers, I like Rachel Brice and Zoe Jakes. I think Sharon Kihara is amazing in her skills and teaching.
-You are famous, talented, handsome, and have crowds of women who adore you. In your opinion, what should your woman be like?
Thank you for such kind words. I would like my woman to rejoice about life, to be able to value simple things, and to not give up during difficult times.
-Oscar, we are talking on the eve of Women’s Day. Will you wish something to Russian women on this occasion?
This is a great holiday! A woman is life. Every one of you is unique, and within this truth your beauty radiates. A woman should be free and happy, and that is what I wish to Russian women.
by Mariet Fosnes edited by Kent Fosnes