Yannah: Thank you for agreeing to allow me to interview you. Please feel free to answer in a way that reflects your personality.
We want to make sure that our audience really understands who you are and can feel your personality through your words.
Question: What is your stage name and does the name have a story?
Odara Nur Mahin: My stage name is Odara Nur Mahin.
I chose this name because the Odara is a word of Yoruba origin, linked to the African religions, with meaning connected with beauty, positivity. It is a concept of beauty that embraces the good and the beautiful in the same idea. In this sense, related to material, 3physical and spiritual well-being. In Candomblé, Odara is the Esu of infinity, of the eternal, creator of all things.
The word Nur related to Arabic with which means “Light”
And the name Mahin in honor of Luisa Mahin, leader of the Malê Revolt that occurred in Bahia, Brazil that fought against slavery.
Question: Please tell us about yourself and how you became a dancer.
Odara Nur Mahin: Since I was a child, I have always loved the dance! Participated in all activities in public school, such as the presentation of mother’s day, June party [June Party or Festa Junina, Festa Junina is a large social gathering of dancing, drinking, and eating]. As a teenager, I took jazz lessons for a short period. But I left to devote myself to scientific training. I have a degree in biological sciences from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). And I have a Specialization in Parasitic Biology. I am currently a Public-School Science teacher. After finishing college, I started at belly dance classes. And I loved it in the first class.
Question: What do you remember about the first time you saw a belly dancer?
Odara Nur Mahin: The first dancer I saw years ago was very different from the dancer that I am today, especially in the aesthetic sense and in the relationship that I have with dance. But it sure was important! Without her I would not be the dancer I am today!
Question: What is the first word you think of when you hear the word belly dance?
Odara Nur Mahin: I think of ancestry! Bellydance has the power to tell our origin!
Question: Who are some of the belly dancers that you admire?
Odara Nur Mahin: It’s a difficult question to answer! I admire many dancers all over the world! Amar Gamal, Ebony Quals, Rachid Alexander … I admire every dancer from the BellyBlack Resistance company. And many others who do an incredible job here in Brazil. It would be difficult to name. I run the risk of leaving someone important out.
Question: How long have you been belly dancing?
Odara Nur Mahin: I started in 2009, when I finished college. But I had difficulty continuing my studies on a regular basis for belly dance. I had to stop to finish my degree. I returned to dance and working with my sister, Nubia Candace as the duo “Raqs Ibeji” and the group Resistência Bellyblack in the year 2018.