An Argentinian Belly Dancer
by Martha Duran
posted June 8, 2010
Yamil Annum is a professional male Belly dancer and master instructor from Argentina. He was born on April 25, 1975, and is a master in Argentinian folk dance. In 1993, he received a medal of honor when he graduated from the Artistic Institute of Haedo where he obtained his masters degree in Spanish Regional Dance. While he was a principal dancer for the Superior Artistic Institute of Buenos Aires, 1998, he was proclaimed the principal dancer for the Greek Ballet of Argentina. In 1995, he was head master teacher of Arabic dance in the Arabian Palace of Lomas De Zamora and at the Lebanon Syrian of San Fernando for the International Dance Congress of Argentina. In the same year, he was invited by Amir Thaleb to be the principal dancer of the Arabian Dance Company, 1998-1999.
Yamil Annum has created his own dance style and has evolved his specific style of Oriental dance by using the well established foundations of classical Ballet, Ukrainian dance, Ballroom dancing, Celtic dances, Jewish folk-dance, Bhangra, Armenian and Argentinian Tango. His elegance on the stage has revolutionized stages all over Argentina and Latin America. We had the opportunity to get him under our spotlight and get a glimpse of how some Argentinians can make stages glow when they Belly dance!
1. How did you start in the world of dance?
I started on the dance path with classical ballet; I was very disciplined, structured, and was struggling to achieve perfection, in a competitive ambiance and with the peer pressure that characterizes this universal limb of dance. but I didn’t feel complete. After every show, there was an empty space inside of me! I could only give the audience whatever my teacher taught me, and I was always left with relegated emotions. By luck, one day I found myself in front of an Oriental dance video, and I immediately fell in love with it.
2. How was your personal dance style (that is commonly known here as a style that has influenced a whole nation) born?
My style started evolving; at first, it was very different from what you can see now. I started being a very traditional and oriental folk dancer. You can see that–from my costumes to my dance steps. But the evolution wasn’t planned; it began to shape itself–little by little. I always tried to be different from what I used as reference material, and I’m sure that I did it well.
Afterward, I went through a phase where my performances had lots of feminine movements and dance steps clearly interpreted with a masculine image, after a while I evolved to the style that got me in balance and ambiguity where I reflect my personality mt sensuality and I’m able to camouflage my classical dance.
3. Every choreographer, every dancer knows how difficult it is to put together an Oriental dance production-choreography for a big stage. In your work, we see that you achieve harmony and choreographic perfection! Can you describe the process it takes you to set a choreography?
I always establish some rules of choreography, but I never impose a choreography. I always know where I want to go on stage, how I will travel on stage. However, choreography for my dance performances will never be the same each time. When we’re on a big stage, it’s important to use traveling combinations, where I use lots of my classical ballet background, using diagonals, varying heights, circular movements and of course, finding the center stage for emotional moments. Lights play a very important role in a performance; we must always have a good relationship with the lighting!" Yamil replies with a burst of laughter.
4. Have you ever danced something other than the Egyptian style?
Yes, I have done Greek and Ukrainian Dance. All my teenage years were all about Italian dance and Argentine Tango, but there is nothing I like more than my dance today!
5. What are Yamil Annum upcoming projects?
I am starting a very busy year, thank God! I will be visiting Chile, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, USA, Italy, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus besides the national tour in my country.
6. What would be your next dance goal in a world where you have conquered your own country?
Without a doubt, I will get on a stage in Egypt, and why not tour the rest of the Arab countries?
7. Can you describe a dance class with Yamil?
It’s quite dynamic, demanding, and has a sense of humor. What is important to me is that every student learns, incorporates knowledge, and also has to have lots of fun! In my classroom, students forget their troubles for an hour. They deplete their energy, and they return to their homes with a great sensation of achievement. That is my secret! Also, they receive three certifications: the first is PERFORMER (for professional dancers), ELEMENTARY TEACHER Certification (for teaching beginners) and MASTER TEACHER (which certifies completion of the dance program). Additionally, we have programs for girls and youth studies, also with certification.
9. How do you choose a song to establish a group choreography?
This is a difficult task to explain in words, one must first analyze the group of performers and then to select appropriate music. The age, technical ability and socio-cultural environment of the group are key points of analysis. A simple method to decide whether the piece is right or not is by making them listen to the full track and by debating. According to the dialogues that happen, we will know whether it is appropriate or not.
10. How do you choose a song to set a performance for yourself?
I really must like the beginning and end of the song, both points are critical. I don’t like to edit the songs, if the music creates something if it evolves in my feelings, it means that the melody is appropriate for my performance
11. When you perform on stage, do you improvise or use established choreography?
Yes I mostly do improvisation; I do establish some guidelines, impose a routine, but the rest is totally improvisation in the moment.
12. Do you have any plans that include a visit to the USA?
Yes! I will be in Miami on the month of September of this year, 2010.
It was a great honor for me to be able to interview a dancer, choreographer and excellent performer whom I admire! If readers have the opportunity to enroll in a workshop with this great Argentinian dance master, I would highly recommend that you do so.
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