Saturday, September 11, 2010
The Beautiful Belly Dancer
The first thing you notice about Jamila is that she is super tall. We later find out she used to be a part time model. Originally from Beijing, her real name is Hai Qing and she has been in Singapore for almost 10 years. She chose the Arabic name 'Jamila' as her stage name because it means 'beautiful'.
When did you start belly dancing?
I have been belly dancing for 6 years. I was looking for a good yet fun form of exercise. At the time everyone was into salsa classes. But salsa needs a dance partner. I'm 173cm tall and it was difficult to find a good partner, the right partner. So I checked out belly dancing classes and I liked that it was very flexible, you can choose any style you want from very classical music and also there's pop Arabic songs, so there are quite a lot of different elements and that's very interesting.
So I did it at first to exercise and get a fit body, then I really fell in love with this beautiful art form. It's so great, because women build up confidence when they dance this, and they can learn to enjoy their own inner beauty.
After 10 months, I joined my first Asian belly dancing competition and won first prize. I didn't expect to win, I joined to gain more experience. Also the other contestants were more trained from other countries.
That win was a turning point. I felt that maybe I do really have potential as a belly dancer. I now take a lot of Master workshops.
Do you go to Turkey and Egypt a lot then?
Oh, no, actually I do those workshops when they come here, usually on an Asia tour, they stop here for a 3-day workshop, so I will join.
What's different about your style of belly dancing from what we've already seen on the show?
I like playing small instruments when I dance. Its a very difficult skill to master. I will be playing the Zills, which are finger cymbals.
What are the benefits of belly dancing for you?
My body is more flexible now. If you keep doing it, you will be happy every moment. I have met a lot of local friends and its really nice to enjoy a 'sisterhood' with them. We all perform together.
So why did you join OMG!?
I just want to perform. I want to showcase belly dancing and show the audience what its all about and clear up the misunderstanding most people have of belly dancing. Actually the original name of this dance is 'The Oriental Dance'. Not many people know this. It was the Americans who changed the name because they brought it to America and wanted to promote it, so they called it the 'Belly dance'.
Thats not the right name because actually it's a whole body movement, not just the belly. Also there's a lot of different props we use - veils, fans, small instruments.
I like classical/traditional music. I like to be creative, so I can also do some fusion of Arabic pop and baladi songs (Arabic rhythms) into my performance. I just really love the Arab culture.
There was once, I asked the fortune teller if in my past I was Arabic. But he said I was a bird. I guess maybe that's why now, nothing can stop me, I always fly!
What would you do with the $50k if you won?
I just opened my own studio, so I'll put half of it into that. The other half, I would donate to old people and children for food. I also want to perform for the elderly to help cheer up their day. As for my studio, I started it to give young talents a place to teach. I know the difficulties as a young instructor, so I want to make it easier for young people just starting out by giving them this platform to make their dreams come true.
I think the people who are passionate about the arts are addicted to it. They want to showcase their art and it's all about the performance. There's so much we do for a simple 90 seconds. We have to choreograph, edit music, design costumes, do make up and of course rehearse and rehearse and rehearse to make that 90 seconds perfect.
What do you do outside of belly dancing?
I do a lot of charity work. I contribute a lot of my time to help new migrants from China. I was lucky that I was raised well and got a good education. There are so many from China who didnt get what I did, so I want to help them make a smooth transition to this new country.
Who do you think you'll challenge?
Desert Roses, Rhythm & Moves or Vertical Dancers because they are all in the same genre. Desert Roses would be my first choice, eventhough I am solo and they are a group, but we are in the same genre.
Catch the very beautiful and smouldering hawt Jamila perform on OMG this Wednesday at 8pm on Channel 5.
Do you think you're better than her? Or have you got a talented friend you'd like to nominate? Email firstname.lastname@example.org the details and you (or your friend) could be a Challenger on the show!