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Alisa Gurova Implements Belly Dancing Techniques In Jazz Performance

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Alisa Gurova
As a performer of tribal dance, Ms. Alisa Gurova has showcased her work internationally from festivals in Italy (the Umrah Festival and Tribal Trip); the Czech Republic (Let's Dance Festival); her native Ukraine (several festivals in cities across the country); and Russia (Gala Show).  She has been a unique marvel in the dance world as she engages not only typical belly dance movements and isolations (chest circles, undulations, snake arms, shimmy, etc.), but also movements of legs, feet, pirouettes, jumps (ballet), floor work (contemporary) and theatrical acting in her performance. This has led her to winning “The Challenge” in the Ukrainian International Competition for Contemporary Jazz in 2015 and 2016, along with Miss Belly Dance Ukraine in 2010.

Q: Where were you born?

A: Kiev, Ukraine. It's a beautiful place. Really feels like a different universe compared to the beautiful western civilization. 

Q: Growing up, were you raised in an environment of dance? 

A: You know, My parents were successful entrepreneurs who had their own business and they couldn't be more removed  from the dancing culture. Initially, there was a lot of skepticism from my parents when I wanted to pursue this path professionally; however, once my dad recognized my passion, he really pushed me into dance and tried to be as supportive as he could be. It sounds cliché but he truly believes 'you can be successful at anything' as long as you are willing to work hard and be passionate about it. 

Q: When you began dancing professionally at the age of 13, was it the same styles that you are doing now? How did all of that develop?

A: My roots were in classical belly dance and tribal fusion style; I was fascinated with body isolation. Right now, I am doing a mix of ballet, jazz, contemporary, belly dance and tribal fusion. These are all styles I rigorously studied during my teen years. I got fascinated with thinking in multiple dimensions and I naturally gravitated to combining these styles together. The catalyst moment for me, it all started to develop when I got to the College of Art and Culture in Kiev where we did a lot of ballet and many contemporary styles of dance. 

Q: Were your parents supportive of your dancing?

A: They were very supportive which was a big surprise for me.

Q: When was the first time you saw belly dancing, and in what ways did that appeal to you?

A: I remember I saw belly dancing for the first time in the TV show El Clone. It was something totally close to my heart.  I fell in love with this art form and with orientalism in general. For me, it was really this feeling of 'lost art'; I was so far removed from the modern-day connotations of the art form. I was really chasing the mystical and 'oriental' / traditional aspect of this dance form. 

Q: How would you describe tribal fusion belly dance?

A: Tribal fusion belly dance is a new form belly dance where you have freedom to experience and add different styles  of dance like flamenco, hip-hop, locking, popping, contemporary, and etc. 

Q: How many competitions have you won overall? Which ones? When and where will you be competing next? 

A: I've won close to 30-40 competitions but for me the defining one was The Challenge competition in 2016; it was extremely special because it was the Ukrainian championship, and I was in the jazz category. It was the first time, I was going to implement tribal fusion techniques into a jazz performance. Winning competitions is sort of a different mentality than a creation for the sake of creation mentality. Currently I'm entering that headspace where competitions aren't on my mind but truly just taking my time to innovate and experiment outside of the constraints or realms of a tightly judged competition. I think I'll be back to the competition circuit in a year but, right now, this is the time for innovation.

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