This time I thought I would talk about what I am currently up to. As normal I'm teaching, performing and dancing across England and Europe. In the summer of 2017, I was selected to be the #faceofMOVEIT2018. My friends seem to think that this is quite a cool achievement and want to know more after it was announced on social media. Seeing as my friends think it's exciting, I thought maybe my readers would be interested too.
What exactly is #faceofMOVEIT2018 I hear you say?
If you don't know, MOVE IT is the UK's biggest dance event with over 25,000 people visiting in 2017. Dancers from all disciplines participate from ballet, jazz, contemporary to Latin, ballroom and dancehall. It is a 3 day dance extravaganza taking place in ExCel, London on 16-18 March 2018. The likes of Strictly Come Dancing stars, Flawless, Michael Flatley Lord of the Rings, Urdang, Jenifer Ellison, Darcey Bussell, the Royal Ballet, Kimberley Wyatt, Capezio, Bloch, Dance Moms attend. It is one hot dance event.
For this year’s campaign MOVE IT were on the lookout for 6 dancers from different dance styles to be the face of the show for 2018. I was selected from hundreds of applicants to represent belly dance along with 5 other dancers.
What does being the #faceofMOVEIT2018 entail?
I get to respectfully represent belly dance as a serious dance form on the same platform as ballet, jazz and contemporary to a vast dance audience not just a belly dance audience. For me this is a big deal and a responsibility that I don't take lightly. I'm here to represent my Turkish background and Middle Eastern dance culture.
I know that there are probably some misconceptions about the dance and I'm here to definitely challenge them. Although the people I have met so far have been very encouraging and keen to learn about the dance.
On a more fun note, myself, the 5 dancers and the MOVE IT team participated in a two day photoshoot. One day on location and one day in a photography studio.
It was great to work alongside other dancers and find out about their experience. We were photographed by Virtuoso Imaging who has photographed so many famous dancers. The other 5 dancers represent ballet and jazz, Bollywood, street, hip hop and commercial dance styles. It's so incredible to see how they work in their own way.
Each day was 7 hours of shooting in different outfits and concepts. Which sounds easy but after the initial 3 hours outdoors in your 4th outfit of the day in London weather - steam tends to run out and it becomes difficult to smile/pose for the 500th shot.
I thought I'd share some tips with you about being on set all day. This might come in handy for those who want to refresh their portfolio or if it’s your first time being photographed professionally.
What did I learn from the photo shoot?
- Be prepared. It was a really busy week in the run up for me so I felt under prepared. I was prepared in the sense of outfit changes/ accessories, hairstyles, make up, packing my essentials etc. I was underprepared with what poses to take. I'm not naturally comfortable with 'posing' in front of the mirror or on camera. It makes me feel awkward. If I was to do it all again I would prepare thoroughly in front of the mirror for my 'best' and most varied poses.
- Be open minded. We were lucky enough to have a choreographer on day one to put us into place and arrange the photos on location. I sometimes felt awkward thinking, 'this isn't like me'. Sometimes for the camera you have to trust in a choreographer and that they know what they are talking about.
- Setting powder. The more I perform the more new makeup tricks and tips I find. I'm not a natural at applying makeup. Day to day I tend not to wear makeup so it's taken me a while to perfect my stage make up. I love playing with products now and what looks I can create. One of the girls on shoot had setting powder which she kindly let me use, I’ve loved it ever since. I would recommend setting powder when going in front of the camera, it tends to finish the look and provide even coverage on shoot. I recommend MAC setting powder prep and prime. No7 from boots is a good cheaper option. Apply with a prepping brush, I like Real Techniques brushes.
- Play songs of your choice in the background to help get you in the mood and relax.
Other perks involve being on all of MOVE IT's event posters, literature, promo materials on and offline. In addition, we were interviewed by MOVE IT and all of us six dancers will be at the event.
My aim is to be at the forefront of Turkish belly dance in the UK and improve knowledge of Turkish belly dance in the U.K. This role will definitely help spread the word about Turkey’s rich culture and history.
I will be teaching at MOVE IT on Saturday 17 March 2018. It would be great to see you there. Also, watch out for me at a few different festivals in the UK.
Photos courtesy of Virtuoso Imaging