Raifa Bazzi: ‘It’s an endless journey.’
Raifa Bazzi, 26 years old, is a professional dancer who danced in several productions from, among others, the Belgian choreographer Isabelle Beernaert. In Tilburg, where she lives, she developed herself to become a professional dancer at the Dance Academy. However, her fundamentals and roots go back to the province of Friesland, where she used to do rhythmic gymnastics at sports club OBQ in the city of Leeuwarden.
Raifa had no idea which education to pursue after high school. With the knowledge that she loved to move, she chose for a career at the Dance Academy: ‘When I started to dance it seemed as if my original passion for rhythmic gymnastics had been transmitted to dancing and I was sure that it was my path.’ Her goal eventually was to finish her degree in Tilburg and to perform in theaters. Raifa continues: ‘I used to find it so cheesy when people said they could express their feelings through dancing. I used to think: Don’t you just dance because you love to move? I love moving and making creations, but now I also understand that dancing is an emotional outlet for me. I can fully express myself in it, whatever it is that I’m feeling in the moment, and this helps me to feel good afterwards. It is something that helps me mentally, but physically I also love to get loose. It’s an endless journey where you keep on developing and discovering yourself.’
Raifa’s favourite dance style is Experimental, known from the so-called battle-scene. Raifa: ‘I always enjoyed watching battles, but since I’m originally a Contemporary dancer without a real technical background in Hip Hop and Freestyle, I used to be only a spectator. Since Experimental got into the field, I got totally hooked and nowadays, I find it one of the most pleasant things to do. You can do whatever you like and there is no style limitation whatsoever; you don’t know what music will be played, so you literally dance in the moment. I like to do a lot of floor moves and work with my flexibility to create changing forms and shapes. Walking on double toes has even become my signature move now.’
One of the aspects that Raifa likes most about this style is the pressure. She explaines: ‘I feel very natural, there is always a fire in me that wants to battle. I’m a person that likes to act last minute with everything and Experimental puts you in the same position. I need a deadline, a competition or a crowd. These things help me to perform well.’
This power woman can also show a different side of herself. She describes herself as a thinker that wants to analyze every detail; where others know how to imitate a move by instinct, Raifa needs to know the technical details before she can put her emotion into it: ‘This is due to my background as a gymnast. I used to be perfectly aligned with my moves. Dancing opened me op, also as a human being. I needed to start showing emotion and to start moving graciously. That was quite a challenge in the beginning. Thanks to rhythmic gymnastics I know what endurance is and now, I have found the perfect balance between being fierce and graceful. However, sometimes it’s hard for me to decide what I need. I now and then have the urge to be a perfectionist and this doesn’t help me at all. What I do about it? I take classes in styles I don’t master that well and this helps me to simply accept and enjoy. In the end it’s the love for movement that has brought me into the world of dancing and this is what I want to share with others.’
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