Interview from November 3rd 2016.
In her youth Daya (28) began her education in Oriental dance with international stars. In addition to her Pedadgogy and Theatre
Education studies she completed a further education in Therapeutic Dance (DGT). She loves to explore Contemporary Dance,
Ballet, Yoga, Meditation and Bodywork. Since 2010 she inspires her audience through experimental and classical dance
performances. In 2014 she obtained the Essence of Bellydance teacher certification. In 2017 she completed her Essence of Bellydance
master instructor training, and thus is our first official teacher instructor.
How did you get in touch with the belly dance and what does it give you?
When I was a teenager, my best friend and I wanted to do sports but something extraordinary and cool. So we were introduced
to belly dance by a friend of my mum. And there was our new hobby. First of all we kept it secret and then we surprised our
friends with our moves. At that time, I was so excited, that I practiced every day because it was just so much fun. And I
was willing to learn a lot more.
Dance is so much to me! Dance and movement give me the foundation for my wellbeing. I have learned so much through dance
and dancing. It feels like it is always within me whatever I do. And it helped me to get through difficult times and to
make an connection between my body and my mind. Dance gives me freedom, because I can decide what step to take and how to
move on. It´s my way to find my balance.
How did you start and what were the important milestones or turning points in your career?
Dance was always in my life. In my time in school and in my time at University. I always loved to dance in front
of an audience, with groups and also solo. But my first step towards professionality was to join a two year further education
in Dance Therapy (after DGT). The reason was my curiosity and interest in therapy methods. There I got to know improvised
and free dance, that was a big turning point.
The second step was to be part of a bellydance ensemble and perform at festivals all over Germany. In this time I started
taking classes in contemporary dance, composition and ballet intensivly.
Which led me to the next step of being part of an contemporary dance group and also doing solo performances. Then I also
started teaching Experimental Oriental Dance, a fusion of bellydance, improvisation, imagination and relaxing
The next step was definitely to win the scholarship for the Essence of Bellydance Teacher Training and to learn so much
more about belly dance and teaching. After I graduated I had the opportunity to work part time at a cultural center as a
cultural educator/manager. This was exactely how I saw myself years ago. With a part time job and enough time to dance,
teach, coach and write.
Why and how did you decide to make dance your career?
When I was a teenager I didn´t want to be a belly dance teacher, because I saw many teachers struggling with things
like money. Moreover it felt for me like a boring job just to teach. But with the years my opinion and point of view changed.
The dance grew from a hobby to a profession. And at this point I realized that I had to do it my own way and not like other
dancers. That was a big insight for me. So I decided at the end of my theater education studies, to become self-employment and to
work part-time at the same time. Now I can combine my various interests like writing, teaching, coaching and organizing with
my passion for the dance.
I also feel that I have a lot to give through my performances, classes, coachings and my writing. And I always loved to create
a well-being space for others and to take care of them.
What was the best moment in your dance life so far?
There have been so many... if I have to decide, then it would be those two:
One of them was definitely to be chosen for the scholarship for the Essence of Bellydance Teacher Training. I was so happy
about getting the chance to do this because I love this method and I put so much work into my application.
The second moment was a performance in a church as a memorial for Friedrich Spee. He was the first one who fought against
the witch combustion in middle age. This performance felt so important to me. I was connected with all women who had been
mistreated. It was very moving, I was in tears after it but I wouldn´t want to miss this experience.
Is there something you regret?
My mindset is to live in the moment and in that to give the best I can. So regret is not a big topic in my life. Maybe I
shouldn´t have wasted so much time on thinking about what I want but instead just start. But I think I needed it to become
who I am.
What 3 tips would you like to share with women who want to pursue a similar dream?
1. Find you own way and version of your dream. As it is your dream, you are the creator.
2. "No" makes way for "Yes".
3. Sourround yourself with people who love you, but also who give you honest feedback and support you and your dream.
Why and how did you start your Event Shimmy Hafla?
I had different reasons for the Shimmy Hafla.
For one thing I wanted to submit a peaceful communication between different cultures without language. Moreover I wanted to
create a respectful space where people meet. The Shimmy Hafla was also meant to be an event to reduce prejudices. And of course
it was important for me to show the diverse orient scene in the Nuremberg, Fürth and Erlangen area.
The most important reason for me was to create an event where you can see contemporary belly dance. So my focus was not only on
classical style but especially those many fusions of dance. A point that was also important to me was inclusion. This is why we were
very happy to have a group of the Lebenshilfe Fürth at our event.
I had the idea for a pretty long time. Last year I felt it was the right time and I shared my idea with my dance partner Lucilla and
my team at my part-time job at Amt für Kultur und Freizeit about it. Both loved it and have been happy to realize it. This is how
the idea came to life.
It sold out quickly and was a great success, how did you do it? Can you share practical tips?
I think the reason why it was a great success is that we got so many dancers involved. We had over 50 dancers on stage. Of course
everyone wanted to bring his friends and family. But Facebook was also a great medium to spread the event. It actually sold itself
because everyone was so excited and shared, liked and commented.
We sold out quickly and even had a wait list of 50 people. For the next time in february 2017 we will be in a bigger
space. Of course this was also because of the connection with the Stadt Nürnberg through the Kulturbüro Muggenhof, who has been the
operator. Only with this strong support, we had the chance to realize this idea.
Another reason of the success was for sure the longing of many dancers to connect with each other. And the concept of the Shimmy
Hafla was new in Nuremberg. We also invited some other artists like a flamenco dance & music group and poi players. And
after the show on stage there was Orient-Balkan-Beats Disco. Our guests also had the possibilty to bring their own music.
I felt that this connection was what many dancers have been waiting for very long. This is also why I established a round table
meeting for bellydancers in Nuremberg-Fürth-Erlangen. I love the idea of connecting and exchangeing with other dancers.
Practical tips are: 1. Connect with others. 2. Look for strong partners. 3. Think about what is missing in your city, area,
How does a day in your life look like?
As my life is very multi-faceted, no day is like the other. When I am working at my part-time job, I start around 10 a.m. in
the office, have several meetings and maybe an event in the evening.
On a day in my selfemployed time, I wake up, do my morning rituals, have a breakfast on my balcony, and then I start. What I do
depends on what projects are relevant. In the morning, I prepare my performances, I work on my next workshops and how to spread
it, I prepare my bellydance course or I am filming videos. After lunch I work on my emails, website etc. or I am having meetings.
In the evening I teach and go to a dancing or yoga class. After that I prepare for the next day and set my intentions.
What are the 3 books that shaped your life?
11 minutes by Paulo Coelho
The Cosmic Ordering Service (Wünsche beim Universum) by Barbel Mohr
The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
What is your vision for the future?
My vision for the future is to connect with many people all over the world to share what we can learn from dance and if we
listen more to our body and soul.
I envision a world in peace where we all actively respect ourselfs, every creature around us and our earth.
Thank you so much for the interview Daya! You are an inspiration.
Do you love to dance and want to inspire other women?
Then join our international community of excellent dance teachers and start teaching your own Essence of Bellydance classes.
You can do it!