Oreet, the creator of SharQui – The bellydance workout®, is an award winning performer and a sought after choreographer and teacher. Oreet is a world-class belly dance that teaches and performs at a variety of festivals and events. Her business, SharQui – The bellydance workout, is a fitness accredited program that is taught as an online course across the globe. For more information about Oreet and SharQui – The bellydance workout visit sharqui.com.
First time you saw dance?
The first time I saw dance and knew that I wanted to become a dancer was when I saw the American Ballet Theater’s, The Nutcracker, in NYC at the age of 6.
First time you saw bellydance?
The first time I saw bellydance was at a party in Israel (I’m of Israeli heritage) at the age of 5. I loved the coins, the sparkle and the zills.
How did you get started?
Well as far as dance, I knew that I wanted to become a dancer ever since I was 6 years old. So from the age of 6-18 I took tap, ballet and jazz lessons; then continued into college with modern dance; received my BFA in Dance and Performance; then moved back to NYC to grow my career as a modern dancer for 10 years.
Now as far as how I got started in bellydance… bellydance is part of my Arabic/Jewish culture; but how I got started as a profession is a funny one. Here it goes…In 1998 (yep, do the math) I was at a staff meeting at Gold’s Gym in NYC, (I was teaching group fitness for them) and my director was complaining that class attendance and membership was at an all-time low. He encouraged us to think of ways to bring more people in and offer ideas that would spark interest. I immediately raised my hand and said, “I can teach bellydance for fitness – it’s about loving your body and everybody can do it!” (little did I know that not everybody CAN do it unless it was structured in an effective way) Well, his eyes lit up and said, “Fabulous, you begin teaching it next week!” I thought, “Holy crap!” And the next week, I taught the class.
The push into teaching made me want to become more educated, in a formal way. Up until that point, I had taken a few classes in Israel and danced socially at parties. So I took every class that I could in NYC and loved it! I was learning so much more in the U.S. Then about 3 years into my teaching I started to perform at Haflas.
Easy…because for me, it’s about “No Judgments”. It’s not about looking a certain way; it’s about how good you feel. I remembered the older women in my family who danced. They were robust and gorgeous!
Why do you dance?
I dance because it makes me a better person. It’s my meditation. It’s my therapy! I also perform because it still gives me such a thrill to be on stage.
Hmmm…great question. Wow I can really go off on this one but I’ll go with the most important for me, educate yourself about the dance’s roots. Doesn’t need to be extensive but enough that when someone asks you what this dance is about and where it’s from, you have a nice base knowledge to share. Now while educating yourself, please, please, still BE YOURSELF. Look, bellydance is simply dance. Do what makes you feel good. If you want to fuse a little jazz, ballet or other bellydance styles, do it! Don’t get caught up about doing the right move to a certain rhythm, or doing a drum solo after the veil dance or wearing the perfect costume. When your beauty and passion shines through, people will watch. Plain and simple.
Anything inspiring you lately?
Yep…the show, So You Think You Can Dance! It always has. And now, So You Think You Can Dance – The Next Generation! Side note, I have tried many times to contact the producers of the show to showcase my choreography in hope to be a choreographer on the show. Hey if Bollywood can do it, so can Bellydance!
What’s up next?
I have signed on with the Bellydance Business Academy as an instructor to offer business pros and teachers business advice. I hope to create another online product about how to crush bellydance competitions. Will also be adding a new line of SharQui apparel. And still continuing and tweaking my Online SharQui Instructor Training program to continue the global presence. So excited to now have SharQui Instructors in Australia, England, Germany and soon to be Tokyo and Trinidad!
More information on classes?
Go to www.sharqui.com for info. Click on “Take a Class” to find a class near you.
What is SharQui?
Ok I know I am biased, but SharQui is simply a kick-ass format that fuses authentic bellydance with in a fitness class design. What does this mean? You have a warm-up, and then it’s non-stop for 45 minutes where I break down movement, build it up, and link together to create one, long choreography. Oh then a cool-down.
How did it get started?
So as we all know, dance alone doesn’t pay the bills. So I supplemented my living with fitness in NYC. I was tired of the hustle of dance, tired of fitness because it wasn’t fun, and there was a lot of pressure to look a certain way, but I wanted the income that fitness offered me. So I thought, how can I fuse fitness, which gives me more financial security, and dance, which is my ultimate passion? I immediately thought about how I felt when I belly danced. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fabulous to dance a format that’s non-judgmental, in a non-judgemental atmosphere AND get a workout!” (and make money, too). In 1998, the seed was planted to create SharQui – the bellydance workout®.
Advice for those looking to start a business?
Yep…Jump in. If you are nervous, that’s fine. But if that nervousness still excites you, then you are ready. Now is the best time to start your own business, as there are so many free resources. Back when I was just starting, I knew nada! Holy crap, if I could tell you all the mistakes I made (and expensive ones too). #1 on my list is have a mentor to help guide and support you!
How can someone become a teacher?
Simple! Go to www.teachsharqui.com to find out when the next online training is. Better yet, get on the mailing list so that you can get notified and receive some awesome, valuable freebies that you can use in teaching.
Also after you get certified, I don’t leave you hanging. I offer you support and continuing education with an instructor platform called CREW. You can read all about it on the site.
Anything else you would like to say about SharQui?
Yes. I am very proud of this as I worked really hard to get SharQui fitness accredited. SharQui has been a fitness accredited format since 2002. Because of this, it has opened many doors for me. It has been the ONLY bellydance fitness format represented at fitness conferences across the U.S and Japan.
It’s also a beautiful marriage of both traditional bellydance and fitness. I know a lot of bellydance teachers struggle with getting this right but I promise you that with the right tools and sequencing, it works and creates happy students. Again, just go to www.teachsharqui.com to learn more about it.