Bellydancing – December 2004

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When I watch Shahravar dance, I am transported to another time and place: to exotic lands, spicy scents and multi-layered earthy music. There is magic and mystery in her interpretations, and an absolute excellence of technique. Her performances are always unique and beautiful, which comes from her obvious joy and delight in dancing, and translates effortlessly to the audience.

[Shahravar]Shahravar is a native Utahn, heralding from the far distant land of Bountiful. Her only dance experience is Middle Eastern dance, which she began in 1993, and gives her a focus and purity in her belly dancing. Inspired by a performance by Zahirah at the Utah Belly Dance Festival, Shahravar was soon taking lessons from her, and not long after that, was performing as a member of Zahirah’s dance troupe, Desert Orchid. To this day, Zahirah remains Shahravar’s inspiration, teacher and mentor.

“I never thought that I’d be a dancer. I just thought it was a beautiful art form,” she explained. “My first solo was at Robert’s Deli on 9th South. I opened for Zahirah.”

Shahravar specializes in Turkish, Lebanese, Arabic, Egyptian, East Indian, Tunisian, Spanish and flamenco dances. She is a skilled dancer with zils and veils, and has also mastered the difficult art of dancing with a sword on her head. She strives to be as authentic as possible, though purity of form for the Western audience is always a challenge.

“My personal style is an interpretation of all of many styles and cultural dances.” explains Shahravar. “I pull from all the Middle Eastern styles I love so much. I find it difficult historically to say what dances are actually pure and what ‘purity of form’ truly is. The Spice Road trade was huge, and not only goods were exchanged, but music, thoughts and dance. It is difficult to say what is a ‘pure’ form of Middle Eastern dance, except perhaps East Indian and the deep desert tribes that have kept their dance history for many centuries. Even then, there has been much interpretation, influence and change. “

Besides performing, Shahravar teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced bellydancing. She believes that each dancer first requires a definite core of basics, and then they can move on to more percussive and lyrical movements. She focuses on improvisational skills for her dancers as Middle Eastern dance is often performed without choreography. It is with live musicians that the dance really comes alive.

“I am so excited that Miles Copeland is giving this form of dance national recognition with the Belly Dance Superstars and presenting them on a stage. This elevates our art and promotes the dance in such a positive manner with excellent dancers and the diverse styles of Middle Eastern Dance.”

Shahravar can be seen performing regularly at the Cedars of Lebanon Restaurant, and will be performing at the Rachel Brice Concert on Dec. 4, Meeting of the Tribes, Spring Fest, Café Med and the Utah Belly Dance Festival