by Sherif Awad
I am an artist who has loved dance since the early age of two. I have trained in Cecchetti ballet from the age of five and have completed my advanced exams. Not only that, but I have also completed all grades in modern-jazz. I am devoted and hard-working. I am looking to build experience and to further my career as a dancer.
I come from a very musical family and was exposed to music at a very young age. I have always enjoyed being on stage and have sung on stage countless times together with my family. I wanted to start dancing from a very young age. I started dancing at two years old and then starting ballet when I was three. Dancing has always been a huge part of my life and I continue dancing to this day. Being on stage and performing, whether acting, singing or dancing, has always been my favourite thing to do, and it continues to hold a very special place in my heart.
As a child, I always looked up to a local and well-known choreographer and dancer here in South Africa, Kirsten Isenberg. I have always strived to be as kind and as graceful as her, and still look up to her to this day. As a teenager, I started to see Margot Robbie as a role model. Her hard work of researching her roles and performing so many of her own stunts has always been admirable to me. Lastly as an avid watcher of Dance moms while I was still in school, I was inspired by Maddie Ziegler and her ability to act so well while dancing.
I have always enjoyed studying dance and am really enjoying bettering my skills as an actress at this time. The performing arts industry is very critical so at times it can be difficult to stay motivated, but my love for the arts has always pushed me through. No matter what, there is always room for improvement, and I strive to better my skills every day.
It is definitely satisfying now; I am so grateful for each opportunity I get. I am happy that I am working towards my dream and that I can do what I love on a daily basis. However, working on a worldwide scale is a big goal of mine, and I hope that I will continue to work on larger projects in my future.
At this time, I am not struggling due to my gender however, I always hear stories on how difficult it is for females in show business. I also worry about being on my own when the time comes and feeling unsafe. I hope that all the awareness that has been raised of the difficulties of being a female in this world continues to change the gender norm in society.
I feel that the creative industry in South Africa is not well-supported. It seems that most performing arts companies have to support themselves. This is disappointing as South Africa is so rich in creativity.
I have found the casting business and making my first steps into the industry very difficult. Most casting sites require you to pay monthly to be able to apply for jobs which is very difficult to pay for when you are already paying for your own studies.
I approach all work offers with an open mind. I am very excited to gain experience from all jobs that I do and to work with different people.
My greatest artistic achievement was being chosen as the role of the Nightingale in Kirsten Isenberg’s production of the Nightingale.
Besides the performing arts, I love to sketch and paint. I have a degree in Criminology and Psychology and am currently studying for another degree in Forensic Science and Technology.
The music I use for dancing are usually songs that I find randomly, which make me feel something emotionally. Having that emotion that comes from listening to the music definitely helps to make choreographing easier. I like my choreography to have a story to it and often base my dances on things I have experienced in my own life. Watching and learning from different teachers and choreographers helps to expand your choreographing skills. When I choreograph, I like to just let the dancing flow freely and then add and polish from there.
My advice for any newcomers in the industry is to never let anyone tell you, you cannot do something. In this industry, you will face a lot of rejection, so you have to keep yourself motivated to keep on going. Always be open to and listen to critique and correction, as it is your only way to improve. Continue to work hard for what you love.
It is difficult to separate your private life from your professional practice, as so often the people you work with become your friends and your practice is also your hobby. It is a good idea to ensure that you do take a break at times to avoid burn out.
At the moment, I am practising for the International Arts Talent Showcase that is held here in South Africa. I get to perform in front a various international talent scouts and am hoping that I do get scouted during the event. I am also part of a short film by Mercury films. I will also be constantly auditioning for any possible future projects.