We had the fantastic opportunity to connect with Haidar aka The Darvish and hear his uplifting story of survival and acceptance. He tells us how he rediscovered his roots via performance within the LGBT+ community of Berlin.  

You came to Berlin from Syria, how long have you been in Berlin? 

Yes, I am originally From Syria and been living in Berlin for 3 Years now. Here I work on cultural projects and performances by creating stage space for other refugee artists.

Please tell us how you came to learn and perform bellydancing? 

I’ve been always fascinated by body movement and dance in terms of self expression. My career in dancing started spontaneously one day at a gay bar when my drag artist friend Judy LaDivina pointed this out to me. They said that together we could be a great show and we’ve been working together ever since. Each month we bring the spirit of dancing and entertainment to everyone with our performances.

How has this art transformed your life here in Berlin? 

This move to being myself was much easier In a vibrant city like Berlin because of all its freedoms. My decision to perform bellydance or dance in general was very hard for me in the beginning. Mostly because of my background and knowing how that community would look upon me with a very judgemental eye. A male bellydancer is not common nor accepted in a middle eastern society. Nevertheless, I took my chances and began a journey of self confidence and personal growth. The beauty of the LGBT+ community is that it’s always there to support my art.

Is is possible to bellydance with any music or is there a specific genre that is best?

Of course Darbukka and oriental music are preferred to showcase the technicalities and accents of bellydance. In my opinion, it’s not impossible to dance to every type of music since the bellydance flow comes with the beat of music. I consider any type of music an opportunity to start shaking and enjoy the connection between emotions and movement.  The main point here is that dance is a universal language and its importance is the joy it creates.

It seems like it is great exercise, would it be good for a quarantine workout?

Bellydance is a great exercise for quarantine and other times as well. It teaches you the ability to control multiple body parts, enhances muscle control, movement and flexibility. It’s not an easy journey but definitely an interesting one and we have the time for it now right? I encourage to start bellydance or any kind of dance at anytime.

Could you give a shout of positivity out to all of those who are “Home Alone “ in this crisis?

In these times what brings us together is our ability to fully understand the situation and to work together.  We have a responsibility to always think of others and make sure as a united community that we can all overcome this difficult time. Staying sane and mentally fit is crucial and connecting with loved ones virtually can also be a great help. We are in this together and I personally wish everyone health and safety. With love, “The Darvish”. (gt)

Follow him on Instagram @thedarvishofficial