After spending a couple of years with Cirque Du Soleil’s O in Las Vegas, Samir left to work on a variety of different projects before finally ending up as a cast member of Bellydance Superstars. But his road to the world of the bellydance almost didn’t happened.
“I had heard about Bellydance Superstars and friends had encouraged me to send in an audition tape, but I prefer to audition live rather than through video,” explained Samir (pictured right in a photo by John Hartigan).
It wasn’t until he received a call from a friend in Los Angeles about a live casting call for the show that he found himself thrown into action. Problem was, he was in New York and the auditions were the next day on the other side of the continent. Not thinking it would be possible to get there in time, let alone having the cash for the flight, the final push came when the friend called to say there was a ticket booked for him on an overnight flight. Flying across the country, in the wee hours of the morning, Samir went straight to the audition after arriving at LAX.
“I have always had a great interest in bellydancing but this was actually my first introduction to the world of bellydancing,” said Samir. “It was so much fun with the bellydancers”.
That interest and his obvious skills as a dancer paid off, landing the role and has now been part of the company since last September.
Perhaps even more amazing than the good friendship (and his talent) that brought him to LA and the role with Bellydance Superstars, is in the fact Samir claims no schooled training as a dancer.
“I trained as a dancer from my Mom,” he said. “I never went to dance school. The styles I learned were from television and Indian movies.”
Given his interest in Middle Eastern culture and music it isn’t surprising to hear how this permeates through Samir’s dance, regardless of the style he is performing.
“Even when I am doing other dances, like flamenco for example, it still have a Middle East flavor,” he explained. “I never identified as a bellydancer and never even tried to be a bellydancer because it is not me. I always try to find my own style. In my choreography I do have bellydance moves but I am always unique – you will always recognize me.”
Having only been with the show for five months now, Samir already talks about the grueling nature of taking a show like this on the road.
“The longest part of the tour started in September and ended in November, from LA, across North America and even Toronto,” said Samir. “It is my first time touring like that, in a bus across America but I am enjoying it, despite the early morning wake-up calls as we get on the bus to drive to another city.”
Despite the early mornings, Samir says he has enjoyed visiting many of the smaller cities and towns while touring.
“I’ve been to cities that I’ve never heard of in my life,” he said. “Coming from New York I think going to some of the smaller towns, where everyone immediately knows that we weren’t from that town, was the most surprising for me.”
Now getting ready for the next leg of the tour, Bellydance Superstars will wind its way through the Pacific Northwest including stops in Richmond, Coquitlam, Victoria and Nanaimo and no doubt adding to that list of towns Samir has never heard of.
Bellydance Superstars: Bombay Bellywood
4 February 2011 – River Rock Show Theatre, Richmond
5 February 2011 – Red Robinson Show Theatre, Coquitlam