Interview with Oriental Dancer & Teacher Helena Russo
Helena Russo is a dancer, teacher, choreographer and eternal student in love with the history and the culture of the countries of the world, especially the Middle East.
HELLO, HELENA! PLEASE, BRIEFLY INTRODUCE YOURSELF. WHO IS HELENA RUSSO YOUR OWN WORDS?
I was dancing ballet for 18 years and was taking graduation in law, then I have met oriental dance and started traveling since I arrived in Egypt (short time) for studying and teaching and I definitely felt in love with middle east music, dance and culture and I didn’t stop traveling, studying, listening and dancing.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
I am from Sicily, an Italian island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND?
My brand was really spontaneous. I love to share my days that before COVID were traveling and teaching around the world and in my school. Actually teaching online and in my school 😀 but anyway I love sharing videos from what dancers and woman can get inspiration for their movement. And what I love more is that the biggest part of my followers are woman.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A DANCE TEACHER?
I thought a lot about what means to be a teacher and what lets me continue to make a good work with my students. First of all I respect them. Also, I really love my work, it was my dream when I was a child, I live for it, so I work just with people that respect dance and have my same view of art. That’s because I need to give completely myself during the class, I don’t want to reserve anything for me, so I must feel positive feelings with the person I am teaching to.
Also, I am really satisfied of my career, this allows me to never be in competition with a student, I try to let them dancing better than me cause I don’t want they have my same body limits or make same mistakes (each dancer have own secret mistakes).
To continue studying is also very important, cause it lets me changing and changing and it gives me evolution so that I can also change in class and show one “different me” everytime.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AS A DANCE TEACHER SO FAR?
I had many but the one I was not expecting is from last April 2020. It was in the middle of lockdown in Italy, and I passed it giving online classes to students from all over the world. Really from every part of the world which for me was absolutely unexpected. Me and the girls talked a lot about culture, I corrected their videos after classes, then we had live meetings on platforms and days were passing like this.
At the end of the whole classes, when we said goodbye to each other I cried like a child! Cause for me it was very important continuing teaching, and it was more important to teach such amazing girls, which I hope to meet in person one day. I really loved that experience, it saved my months.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS/DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE?
My dream is to be back to my crazy and busy life and maybe meet all the students I am teaching online in person.
I also dream to visit as many countries as I can. My goal is to dance as longer as I can and continuing doing my job for my whole life.
WHEN IT COMES TO TEACHING DANCE, WHAT STYLE OF DANCE ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN TEACHING?
My favorite style changes day by day. Today it is Andalusian but yesterday it was Iraqi Kawleeya and maybe tomorrow it will be something else. But people around the world and online are actually interested more in Iraqi and oriental, in Sicily are interested in Andalusian, a theory about middle eastern dance and oriental.
YOU ARE FAMOUS ON INSTAGRAM, ACCORDING TO YOU WHAT STANDS YOU OUT FROM OTHERS?
I didn’t know that I am famous 😀 maybe because I am not obsessed by fame.
HOW IMPORTANT IS PERSONAL BRANDING AND WHAT DO YOU DO TO GROW YOUR PERSONAL BRAND?
This answer is connected to the preview question also, cause I think the key is that I when I opened Instagram 2 or 3 years ago I even didn’t know how to use it. My teenager student created it for me. Then I didn’t expect to be famous there. I just tried to be myself and if I film something that I like, even if it is not perfect, I post it. So I think my power is to be spontaneous.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Thank you all for your support!