Zubaidah – 45
Hometown – London

Aiming to empower London-based women, Ozgen’s One Day in Istanbul presented by Dunya is an innovative community project that brings together a mix of amateur and professional dancers from diverse backgrounds to take part in an Ottoman Turkish-inspired dance theatre show at the Cockpit Theatre on 2nd December 2012. Zubaidah is one of our beautiful and talented cast members, and this is her story.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

While studying for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Performance Techniques at Flinders University in South Australia , Zubaidah discovered Belly Dance classes and was instantly captivated by the beautiful music and flow of this ancient dance form. She spent several years attending regular classes with the two main instructors at the time, Marjolein and Lassa.

Upon graduating working as an actress in Adelaide she relocated to London and worked in many restaurants in Central London including a five year residency at the popular Greek restaurant Cafe Corfu in Camden . She also enjoyed dancing at a variety of private parties including birthdays and weddings, themed events and cabaret nights.

Highlights include performing for the Nigerian Embassy, Stelios and the staff from Easyjet, Uri Geller and family and in the Bollywood film, Pyaar Ki Dhun. She has also enjoyed dancing at a tribute evening for the influential 1960s musician Davey Graham.

She has a particular affinity with the cabaret style of Bellydance and has utilised this in her theatre work, in particular playing Tania the rebellious daughter in the premiere world tour of a theatre adaption of My Beautiful Laundrette (Snap Theatre Company) and in the physical theatre /cabaret show The Piranha Lounge with Dende Collective (Time Out, Critics’ Choice)

As a result of both her performance and drama teaching experience of teaching drama, she was invited by the Student Union to teach Belly Dance classes at both Hammersmith and Ealing College and Southall College.

Other experience includes teaching year six students a short dance as part of using drama and improvisation to enhance the topic of Ancient Egypt.

This led to her gaining a certificate on the JWAAD Foundation course which covers safety elements when teaching Belly Dance and as a follow on this she taught a very popular class at Eastham Leisure Centre for two years.

Zubaidah has always sought to learn more about this dance and has attended many workshops and blocks of regular classes with both international and local Master teachers. She has also attended classes at major Middle Eastern Dance Festivals such as Ahlan Wa Sahlan in Cairo and Fantasia and the International Bellydance Congress in the UK.

Why did you decide to join the One Day in Istanbul project?

To improve learning choreography, and to be in a theatrical show as have been in many as an actress but not as a dancer. To learn more about Turkish styles of dance and also Ozgen’s style.

What has been the best part about participating in this project thus far?

Learning new dance steps and being part of a group have been the best part of this project.

Support Zubaidah and the One Day in Istanbul team on 2nd December 2012. Doors to the theatre open at 7.30pm and the performance starts at 8pm.

Tickets are available from the Cockpit Theatre box office (tel 020 7258 2925). The theatre is located on Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH. One Day in Istanbul is proud to be sponsored by Zara’s Zouk and Oriental Istanbul. If you would like to participate as a Sponsor, make a small donation or collaborate with us, please visit our Sponsume project page or contact Michelle Deniz at deniz@dunyabellydance.com for details.