Interview with Mahafsoun

Mahafsoun is a 19 year-old Persian belly dancer with drops of Azerbaijani and Egyptian in her blood. This combination, aside many other reasons, makes her passionate about oriental dances, especially the spiritual, ancient and immortal art of belly dancing. She combines it in her own unique way with modern metal music and uploads videos of her dances to her Youtube channel. I came across this channel quite some time ago, because we have a very similar musical taste – Mahafsoun has danced to EPICA, Kamelot, Nightwish and many more. Mahafsoun, who is going to share the stage with EPICA in November, has agreed to give me a little interview. I am very happy to present it to you today:

 

How did you get into belly dancing and how long have you been practicing it?

I fell in love with the art of bellydance at the age of 15, through my interest in Egyptology. I’ve been practicing it ever since.

 

What are the benefits of belly dancing and what does it mean to you personally?

There are countless benefits in this art form. Not only are you getting a good exercise out of it (although this highly depends on how you are dancing, how fast, how long, etc), but as a woman, I find that it brings me a sense of understanding about myself. It is a positive tool for empowerment in women, in my opinion. I’ve seen women becoming more confident in themselves when they dance. The movements of this dance make the body look beautiful and sensual, therefore the person dancing feels beautiful and sensual.

Any tips for girls who want to take up belly dancing?

Just go for it! I sense a lot of hesitation in girls who come up to me and ask me wether I think that they should get into bellydancing or not. They fear a lot of things, like being discriminated against for how they look or how they dance. One thing I can say that, yes, any field with mainly women in it, will have some drama around. However, only through searching your way in that world will you find your comfortable place. There are good and bad people in any group. As long as you keep your head up, and continue dancing with your heart, you will find where you belong in this field.
Another thing that a lot of girls should know is that in the world of bellydance, there is no ideal “shape”, “size” or “look”. The women in this field come from all different backgrounds. They are daughters, mothers, and even grandmothers, and that is the real beauty of it. For every kind of beauty, there is a place, there is an admirer.

 

How did you come up with the unusual idea to combine this ancient art form with metal music?

Good question! I fell in love with metal music in the same time that I fell in love with bellydance. Because of that, every time I would hear a metal song that had rhythm, like Epica’s “Sancta Terra”, I would find myself moving with it. Slowly I started to add metal music to my dance routines, and found that it perfectly fits. Maybe because I love both things so much, I tried finding a way to make them fit together nicely.
Either way, I think that metal and bellydance are both beautiful things. Both are just as present in my life.

You are going to perform with EPICA on November 10 in Vancouver. How did this come about?

I will be performing with Epica on November 10th at club Fivesixty. I just approached the band and expressed the passion I have to some day dance with them, since Epica was also the very first band that got me into loving metal music. The very first band that I started listening to. Mark accepted the offer and everything went from there.

Which song(s) are you going to be in? Have you already worked out the choreography?

At this moment I am not sure of the song or songs that they want me to dance to. There is still time to decide the song, costume and all those details.


You have performed live with several other bands before. How were these experiences for you?

The only bands that I have performed with so far are Inside It Failed and Eye Of Odin.
The experiences were wonderful. It’s a different feeling to dance to live music, for a live audience. The energy of it is special and very empowering.

You are also a model who has done numerous photo shoots, appeared in magazines and recently graced the cover of a novel! In addition you are a talented photographer, makeup artist and composer – and you are only 19! How did you achieve all these things?

Thank you so much! I guess that almost all of the little things I do fall in the big picture. I have always enjoyed the art of photography and had concepts in mind for photos, so I had to model for them myself. Then I started working with other photographers, and because they were professional, I had to learn how to look the part, so I started to learn how to do decent makeup and edit photos. Through this, I got offered to model for the illustrations of a few books, and took the offer happily. I think that as a dancer who runs her work mainly online, you have to have professional photos, so this works nicely for me.

What is your musical education/background?

I don’t think that I have any, other than the little music classes that they force us to take in high school. I have never really been musically trained. I just love sitting behind my piano and hearing the beautiful sounds cerated by every touch. I love music.

 

What are your plans for the future?

I have so many! I could probably write a novel about the list.
The biggest future plan is my performance with Epica, which I’m lightly preparing myself for. It will be the biggest performance I have ever done, and most likely will ever do, so every time I dance, I dance just a little harder to push myself just a little more.
I just hope to continue working as hard as I have done so far. To continue keeping my head up, even though not all days are easy ones. And to go to sleep every night with my dreamer-heart switched on.
Thank you for this lovely interview, and for supporting me on your blog. It’s been a pleasure having this talk with you!

For more information visit Mahafsoun on Facebook, deviantart or her official website!