It’s such a pleasure to congratulate Irina Shevchenko. This beautiful woman of original oriental appearance( born in Georgia half- Armenian half- Georgian) came to the festival the second time. Last year she had to get only the second place , so this time she left Rostov – on – Don only for victory. And she did succeeded , so we congratulate her!
Right now she is at her peak. She has several dozens of victories at the regional, Russian and international levels. And now the first place here at the festival in Athens, but the real satisfaction she is going to get only after the victory at the forthcoming festivals in Moscow and Cairo. Irina confesses, that everything she gets, brings her fame, help in her career and the promotion of her dance studio. And she just must win at these festivals to have the right to call herself one of the best experts in belly dance.
I had a chance to talk to this harmonious woman and learn a lot.
- Irina, How did it all begin?
- In 2007 I was about 21 and worked at office, but i had a hobby - ballroom dances. I attended all my trainings and even corrected my work schedule to have enough time for my hobby. And suddenly I heard about belly dance from my ballroom trainer…And I got that I didn’t want to work at the office anymore, I wanted to dance! I wanted to live it! So I decided after a month of my trainings. So I came to my husband and said “ I want to give up working and devote my life to dancing!”
- Oh, and what was his reaction?
- If the man loves , he will understand and support his woman. Actually I have a wonderful husband! My husband and son are everything for me . So my idea was rather risky. After our talk i persuaded him to give a chance to go dancing for half a year. My mom supported me. I was sure that I ‘d be successful and he gave me the chance…It was January of 2007 when I started dancing belly dance, and in May I already taught oriental dance. At the same time I studied, attended many workshops and started to prepare a New Year programme . I am very thankful to my mom who helped me a lot as she was a seamstress. We made costumes, my programme for corporative parties was ready, but i had to ask my husband for a help. He was my driver. The success was unbelievable! And I got the biggest sum of money for that period of my life. Now my husband is interested in my business and he is very glad for me. We are already 12 years together and we trust each other.
- Irina, what is belly dance for you?
- Belly dance is a skill of seduction. For me oriental dance is sexuality, of course. Our sexuality depends on men. These are the men , who help us to feel and reveal our sexiness. Everything I do , I do, thinking of dance and i think of it even in the kitchen. I like to cook, and I am good at it. And even cooking I listen to my favourite oriental music, and at that moment I get new ideas, choreography, costumes.
- You have very beautiful costumes. How do you give rise to them?
- My credo is “ The more philosophy in preparation the better the result is.” It inspires me both in dancing and in my life. I think you should be very accurate in your performance and your image. You should think up the best make-up, manicure, hairstyle, be creative in everything. It’s not interesting for me to look at the dancer if she doesn’t have bright, creative image. Regretfully the images of dancers are imperfect, costumes don’t fit well, don’t go with appearance of the performers. I like sexy style , but without pornography, as I am for ethics in the outfits. Also I think , we must mask the defects of the body. There are many secrets for that: nets, strasses. I don’t make my outfits myself anymore, now I have my own fashion designer for that. The image I get in such sequence – music, the image of the costume, choreography,,, By the way I often rehearse, lying on the couch! I listen to the music for many times and then I get the moment when I see the dance to that music.
- How complicated was your way to the triumph?
- I had been longing for this moment for all these seven years. Actually I am very ambitious. And very critical to myself. While watching my videos I find hundred mistakes. Then I make a plan to improve my dancing. I think , that if I lose , I should work and work. My principle is “ If you fail , look at yourself.” But the main thing is – inspiration , of course. I get it from music, from people around me, at workshops. My fans inspire me. And , surely, my family do.
- How do you feel when you dance?
- Dancing I feel very sexy, beautiful, bright. I show all my emotions. I can reveal myself in dance, show my real nature and It excites me a lot. I share my energy by the use of the dance. And if I dance to the “live” music , it seems I can die of such pleasure! I had the case in Cairo when I had to perform for three minutes , but I was so excited , that I forgot about rules, about everything, and I danced for ten minutes instead of three of them.
- What can you tell about the situation in belly dance in Russia?
- Nowadays there are about 10-15 oriental schools in Rostov. It began about 8 years ago and now it has become very popular . The time to feel yourself a woman has come! I see, that women , coming to my classes are looking for the way to feel confident. Sometimes I see a young but very tired and irresolute woman. Then she starts going belly dancing and I see the result! Her life changes! In a month she starts dressing up., making beautiful hairstyles. Cinderella becomes a princess. I enjoy the transformation and the process of it . I help women to be women!
- And how old are your students?
- Mainly they are women from 25 to 40 . But I have one lady of 68 years old! She looks great and even performs!
- Do men attend your classes?
- I had only one case when a man came to the class with his wife but he didn’t like.
- What is the reaction of our men to the men- dancers of belly dance?
- They don’t understand it. The man can’t see the other man in so sexy dance, and, I think, it’s normal. Belly dance is a dance for women.
- It is known that Our country has the best ballet and now we can say so about belly dance. How would you comment it ?
- The spirit of rivalry is very strong among our people. I see it in women’s eyes. Sometimes I watch my students compete at the classes. Foreigners call Russians “ crazy” in competition.
- Irina, you are here in Athens the second time. What can you tell about your Greek colleagues?
- Creek variant of belly dance is very expressive and emotional. Greek women are very beautiful. There was one Greek girl at the show . She was a real eye-popper. She had charisma, good technics, bright emotions. She was rather plump but it was only plus for her. Also Greek people are very kind, while competing they wish good luck to each other, make compliments. Here in Russia competitors don’t’ act like that.
- And to sum up, what would you like to wish to our readers in a New Year?
- I wish them to love themselves, To feel themselves real women, not to be shy in showing all their beauty. And to develop by all means: to dance , to do sports, to study languages, everything to enjoy and develop. The main thing is to feel harmony.