Profile of Salome
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As a second generation Oriental dancer, Salome got an early start in what would become her life's work. During adolescence she enjoyed regular study and performance of Middle Eastern music and dance, along side her mother (dancer) and stepfather (tabla player).
By seventeen Salome was accepting professional solo engagements. She performed in the Pacific Northwest in a myriad of venues, independently and through entertainment agencies.
Salome has since become a sought after dancer in the commercial arena, headlining luxury venues, 5 star hotels, and casino's all over the world since 2000. With "Rising Stars", "Showhouse", "DMI Entertainment" and other agency representation, Salome has been imported for 6 month engagements and one time shows to clients like:
The Sayaji Grand Hotel, India
The Lucullus Cabaret, La Goulette, Tunisia
The Kamagowa Grand Hotel, Kamogawa, Japan
The Saturday Club, Calcutta, India
Night of the Pharaohs, Calcutta, India
Casino Everest, Katmandu, Nepal
Casino Royal, Katmandu, Nepal
Great World International Village, Kang-Shan, Taiwan, ROC
The Taj Bengal Hotel, Calcutta, India (twice)
Leela Palace, Bangalore, India
The Oberoi, Mumbai, India
La Meridian, Delhi, India
And many more...
Salome has been interviewed by the United Arab Emirates magazine "STARS", appeared as cover and feature in "Jareeda" magazine (USA), in abailarina.com (Brazil) in "SAHDA" (Canada), and has been highlighted in countless newspapers around the globe. Salome was honored to be the feature model for renowned Turkish costume designer Ismail of Sim Moda Evi for the Turkish magazine "DANS".
While continuing to perform abroad, Salome now also teaches and performs at events within the larger dance community; the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive, Saqra's Fall showcase, Festival and competition, the MEDGE Festival... as well as collaborating with sponsors as the feature in workshop and performance.
With her finger on the plus of Oriental Dance online, Salome is the force behind OrientalDancer.net, an educational belly dance hub, BellydanceForums.net with discussion on dance from, and inspired by, the near and Middle East, as well as BellyDanceClasses.net, a global instructors directory.
Where are you from?
I'm from the USA. I was born and raised in Oregon, and that continues to be my 'home base'.
How did you come by the name Salome?
It's a common practice, in the American belly dance community, to 'take' a stage name and often one's teacher, or other important figure in your dance life, gives it you.
While the name Salome (pronounced sahl-oh-may) and dance have traditionally been equated (Old testament, Oscar Wilde play, Richard Strauss opera) that is not exactly how or why it was chosen for me. Salome is actually my grandmother's given name.
My mother suggested Salome in tandem with my given name, Galia (pronounced gay-lee-ahh). Though I eventually simplified to just 'Salome'.
What do your names mean?
Salome means "Peace" and Galia means "Undulation".
How did you get involved in Oriental dance?
My mother was introduced to Oriental dance in the 1970's, she continues to dance for her own enjoyment today. So, it was in the home growing up and practiced among my mother's community of women friends.
When did you start dancing?
My mom belly danced while pregnant with me, so literally in the womb, lol. In seriousness though, I took ballet throughout early childhood. My first Oriental class came from Kameal in Corvallis, Oregon, when I was 12 and I studied with her for the next 11 years.
How long have you been a professional dancer?
I was 17 when I began working on a semi-professional basis and soon progressed to a full time career. Prior, I enjoyed Oriental dance as an enthusiast and spent my adolescence taking class and performing in Kameal's troupe, Bayt al Nejmah.
Do you have a favorite style?
American and Turkish Oriental. In folk styles, I absolutely love Fazeni (Tunisian), and Schikhat (Moroccan).
What style of Oriental dance do you do?
My specialty is American Oriental, what used to commonly be referred to as "cabaret belly dance", though you don't hear that term often anymore. In fact, the style itself is becoming rare.
What is American Oriental dance exactly?
The quick and dirty version? American Oriental dance is over 50 years old. It was born out of Middle Eastern cabarets here in the US, primarily on the west and east coast. New Americans hailing from different areas of the Near and Middle East celebrated their dance, music and culture in these cabarets, attracting the interest of the American public.
These cabarets were often a pan Arab, Persian, Turkish... scene. The band might have an Egyptian oudist, an Iranian drummer, a Greek bass player and so forth. So the songs played, the arrangements of the songs - reflected this association. These nightclubs attracted new immigrants; Lebanese, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, Turks etc. who were hungry for a bit of the 'old country'.
The early non-Middle eastern dancers learned the dance and music by observing, imitating, informally studying from the patrons and professionals alike. The belly dance developing in these cabarets was certainly from the 'old county', except it wasn't singular but PLURAL. An eastern fusion if you will and the non-middle eastern dancers incorporated some American qualities to the dancing as well.
Do you still study?
Absolutely. I pursue continuing education in folks dances, indigenous Oriental styles, music, culture... Really any subject that enriches my understanding and appreciation of the field.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
Since the dancing should be a 3 dimensional form of the music (that also encompasses the emotive spirit) - when I am looking for inspiration I look to the music. I am inspired by my peers as well, there is nothing that fans the flames of inspiration like watching a fantastic dancer.
George Abdo, his quintessential 'Amarabic' music is great. And his voice! Like velvet, so smoky and sultry. Omar Faruk Tekbilek, I love his arrangements. John Bilezikjian, and the late Joseph Pusey and the Nile Spice Orchestra.