January 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
I didn’t really know Viktoriya. I had the pleasure of taking a workshop and participating in a performance with her in 2007. I only spent several hours with her, but it was an incredibly inspiring few hours. It was actually a pivotal moment in my dance direction.
I came into belly dancing with American Tribal Style and began taking some Oriental classes within a couple years. While I had always been interested in Oriental Belly Dance, most of my performance opportunities and main focus had been on the Tribal side of things. I had taken many technique classes in Oriental style and learned a couple of choreographies, but it was never really developed in my repertoire. After being blown away by Viktoriya’s magical stage presence and delightful dancing style, I decided to put more focus into Oriental Belly Dance.
The workshop I took from Viktoriya was on Classical Egyptian Belly Dance. I loved the flowing, feminine movements. She told us in her exotic Russian accent that when she performed free style Classical Egyptian she felt like she was melting. She talked to us about being expressive. She said a permanent smile on a dancer was American Belly Dance; when you do Egyptian dance, you have to also be an actress.
She talked to me specifically about my shimmies. I have shared here in the past that I had a difficult time with continuous hip shimmies. Viktoryia noticed some of the problems I was having and shared some pointers with me. She discussed technique. She pointed out the two things I was doing wrong (basically, I was not allowing enough movement and my right leg was dominating so I was not alternating my hips evenly). She told me how she shimmied constantly when she was learning. She shimmied during every day activities such as doing dishes or brushing her teeth. I worked a lot with her suggestions, and it took time, but my shimmies are a million times better now because of that discussion.
Rest in peace, Viktoriya. You will be missed by the dance community, but will certainly live on in the memories of those you inspired.