We had the good fortune of connecting with Alejandra Camacho and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alejandra, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
This year, living through the pandemic has put the world and ourselves in a way we didn’t expect. We have questioned our motives in life, we have redefined our intentions and considered so many alternatives to keep our businesses alive or maybe shifted our perspective to a different place because we lost our beloved ones or our companies. I am adamant to believe that things happen for a reason, I think things just happen either because we worked hard to get them or they are a consequence of our good or bad decisions. But I definitely think that there are things that happen that are beyond our control, however we are responsible in how we react to the conditions life puts us in. COVID-19 came to stay, so I thought It was time to start reconsidering the plans that I had been putting aside for while and that was starting my bellydance business. I guess it was the perfect timing. It made me realize that It was an opportunity to help each other out by sharing our talents. I wanted to reach out to women and men of all ages that have always wanted to dance but had been postponing it. So, I decided to design a bellydance program, starting from level 1 for those who always wanted to learn but were too shy to even try it or were too afraid of judgement. Taking classes at home lets us dance without worrying about who is watching right? With lock down most people turned to TV Shows, streaming platform movies, work outs at home. We witnessed the importance of connecting through digital spaces. Artists warm up the place we are in, they either make us laugh, cry, dance, or reflect on some important matters of our life or life in general. Art makes us see our lives from another point of view. It makes us love ourselves, be patient with others and definitely change our habits. What would we have done if we didn’t feel the way we felt when we listened to our favorite song, watched that TV program, that 15 second skit on instagram or taken those zoom classes? What could we have done without sharing our talents? I want to believe that through Belly Dance I help my community, because it is a way for humans to express their inner selves, find their passions and face their fears. I help my community with my art through my online classes.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am very proud to present my Bellydance Training, you can find it in YouTube for free and it is getting more developed every time. This training is so unique because as a certified teacher by CIAD (The Inter-american Confederate of Dance), certified in Arabic Rhythms with the great musician Fadi el Saadi, it has given me the tools to understand and teach technique and Arabic rhythms. Also, as an actor I am always learning new methods and techniques; this has given a way to give a unique interpretation to my dance pieces and the way I teach belly dance. As dancers, we have to approach the story we’re telling with our bodies the same way we approach a scene, a monologue or a character. Why am I dancing what I’m dancing, what am I saying with this movement, who am I talking to? We need to have an inner story or monologue to fill the form and to give meaning and layers to our interpretation. At the end of the day we are performers and as belly dancers we are also telling a story with the hips and our hands. I teach this in my training online; every movement is a word and an intention. Let’s give life to it, and not leave it empty. I must say that technique has let me go deeper in how I dance. I know sometimes technique can get in the way of letting go, but it is also a very important stepping stone. Without the proper execution of a plié a dancer wouldn’t be able to go up in the air, and technique is something everybody can do in order to execute a step. If you find yourself having trouble with it, I always say to my students, let’s go through the technique again. I distinguish myself in teaching it properly so that my students can develop that camel, that hip pivot or that arabesque correctly. Each dancer is gonna do it in their own different way because we have different bodies, but the technique is gonna loosen us up once is there to get where we want to be, that and believing in ourselves. I distinguish myself in teaching excellent technique and not giving up on you. Once the technique is intrinsic then we forget about it and enjoy our dance. Thanks to my family that has supported me from the beginning of my dance and acting career, it has let me complement acting with dance and dance with acting. I think that hobbies give us a different perspective to what we do and how we see life. For example, If a salesman studies reiki on the side, I am pretty sure the way he approaches sales and people is gonna be different to a salesman that practices boxing. The fact that I like learning about different cultures and dance styles helps me give a different flavor to my own style. I am a lover of all different kind of dances. Flamenco, salsa, bollywood. I also love listening to the “mawwal” the emotional vocals the Arabs and Flamenco singers make in their singing, this make me feel the music differently and complement the story I create my characters and the stye I dance with. It is exciting the endless stories I can create and adds something extra to my brand. In acting and dance there are some things that have been easy, others that have not. I think the most difficult thing is believing in yourself after failure. Failure can destroy you if you let it happen or build you up. Fear of messing something up and failing holds you back in the worst way. So, I think the lesson I have learned has been to overcome my fears and do it even if I fail. This has also been my challenge; my own fear of sucking at what is most important to me, my art. I think the best way that has worked for me to overcome my fears, is saying this to myself everyday “Even if I don’t do it, time is going to pass. if I do it I’ll eventually find a way to make it work, if I don’t, I will still be standing in the same place I am now”. Most artists dream about making it instead of making it happen by small daily actions and it requires facing our own fears and having courage. We need to be courageous every single day with our actions. The lessons that I have learned a long the way are; 1. Stop complaining, it won’t take me anywhere. 2. Do it, if I fail, do it again and again and again. 3. Enjoy the process, because without process there is no result, the process is everything. 4. Pay attention and be present, it is the only thing I have, enjoy and have fun in my present. 5. Connect with people, exchange wisdom and opinions to grow and learn new perspectives. When we die, the connections with people will matter more. Take my bellydance classes on my YouTube channel, and follow me on instagram to learn new bellydance steps. Give yourself permission to learn something new, take care of your body, experiment new movements with different music and be on the look out of my new little film coming up called “Served”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve been lucky to have a couple of friends visiting over and to be honest I love when they come to the US and we happen to meet in the same city. When my next friend visits I would definitely take them to Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign, they will never get old, they have an amazing view when you can admire the entire City of Angels from afar. I had the opportunity to visit LACMA when a very good friend from France came and we loved it. I am an actress so I love movies and LACMA has this room where it explains and shows how cinema and film cameras worked back in the day. Downtown is a great place for art so we would hop off at MOCA (The Museum of Contemporary Arts) pass by the Grand Central Market and have a bite with all the various styles of food it has. I would take them to the Ahmanson Theatre to see a play and having a night out to the really good restaurants around. We wouldn’t miss a comedy show at The Comedy Store and an improv show at UCB. I am also a fan of the ocean, so of course I would take them to ride by the pier from Santa Monica to Venice on a bike and definitely Disneyland would be in the itinerary. I love No Vacancy in Hollywood for a night out with my friends and would love them to visit the Mosaic Tile House and the OUE Skyspace in Downtown for sure!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are definitely people I want to give a shout out to because when I told them my idea of starting online classes, they listened to me and gave me a reason why I should have the courage to go ahead and do it. First of all, my brother and my mom have always been very supporting. They told me, “Yes, that is a great idea, definitely do it!”. When I am scared my ideas might fail my mom always tells me, “how are you going to know it works if you don’t try?”. My friend Paloma who I commented my ideas to, she said “Che, let me know what you need, I’ll be there to support you” and Maria Barajas, who started her own fitness business as well, she told me “We have to start with what we have, otherwise we would never do it”. I also recommend this book who unleashed my creativity for writing and producing called “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron, it is an amazing book to unblock creativity in artists that haven’t trusted themselves to create because of fear. This book is a blessing. It changed my life.
David Chimal, Joshua Quintero, Danny Rodriguez, Robert Olin, Marius Shanzen