1. Greetings from Metal Wani. Good to have you here. How are you?
Mahafsoun – Hello to Metal Wani! Thank you for this interview. I’m doing great, very busy these days, but loving every minute of it.
Mahafsoun – I started dancing in mid-2007 and am self-taught. I’m still waiting for the opportunity to learn from a teacher that inspires me. I’m hoping that I find this individual soon, as I have an urge to continue learning as much as I can when it comes to this art form.
3. Heavy metal is known for its aggressive style and heaviness while belly dancing is elegant and graceful. One is exactly the opposite of the other. What really inspired you to combine these two?
Mahafsoun – You’re absolutely right. Metal is generally aggressive while belly dance is generally smooth and gentle. One of my inspirations to combine both is Balance. Things that don’t go together are often things that end up being the most interesting.
Mahafsoun – It was easier than I expected, because my body was already moving to metal music even before I started to actually dance to it. That is actually why I started dancing to metal, because every time I heard a rhythmic metal song, my body just wanted to move to it. Although I know that the shift is a big one. I started off by dancing to traditional sounds and basically the music that my family (especially my father) enjoys listening to.
5. You have performed LIVE with a few metal bands , one being “Eye of Odin”. Belly dancing on metal is a never-seen-before act. What was the crowd’s response at the performances? Headbanging is also a dance form which is completely opposite to belly dancing. How did it feel to perform something unique and present it to the metalheads without knowing how they’d response to a unique act like yours?
How do I feel generally? I simply love it. The metal community consists of some amazing, open-minded people. Vancouver’s metal scene has been great to me, and I’m grateful to be a part of such a diverse and unique community of metalheads.
6. You recently performed with “EPICA” last month. That is huge! How did it happen?It must feel amazing when you get a chance to showcase your talent alongside one of the bands that first got you into metal. What other bands do you listendance to and wish to perform with?
Mahafsoun – EPICA was an amazing experience. Powerful and memorable. I’m still breathless at the idea of it and hope for the memory to last in my mind as long as possible. Some bands/people that I would love to perform with include Orphaned Land, Epica (again, I know!), Myrath, Eve’s Apple and hopefully some day Devin Townsend, who I am recently super inspired by.
7. Heavy metal is believed to be a male dominated culture by many. But that has been proved wrong. We’ve got so many talented (and beautiful) women musicians all over the globe. What’s your take on this topic?
Mahafsoun – I love it, what can I say? I love balance in everything. Metal is without a doubt an aggressive/strong form of music, but that does not mean it has to be masculine. I love seeing talented and successful female artists in the metal scene. Not only singers, but members of metal bands who are females. Take for example Sandra Völkl of the band Equilibrium. A talented and lovely female figure in the metal scene. It makes me happy to see women succeeding in this field.
8. Besides being a great belly dancer, you’re a photographer, a model and a musician. And you’re 20. Damn! How do you manage it?
9. You’re a brilliant musician as well. You’ve composed music for a Greek movie and collaborated with Stefan HertrichShiva in Exile. Stefan is a great musician and very spiritual, I’ve been following him for a while. How did it come about? Can we expect more music from you? Perhaps some metal? 😀
Mahafsoun – Thank you so much! I don’t play the piano professionally (and you can tell if you listen! Haha). Two of my compositions did end up in two Greek short film, though, which I’m still honored about.
I also have worked with Stefan Hertrich on a song called “Dawn of Understanding and Forgiveness”, where he allowed me to read a poem I had written in Farsi in middle of the song. The song had to do with my personal struggles, and I put my heart into the poem. The song can be found on YouTube on Stefan’s channel called “youtube.com/StefanHertrich”. Stefan has since then become my great friend, and I hope that him and I work together again in the future.
10. What are your future plans?
I’m also trying to get back to making “music” if you wish to call it that. Just playing the piano, sharing what I am proud of, and keeping to myself the things I am not. Hahaha
11. I was going through your Youtube channel and I saw you dance on a few Epica and Nightwish songs. I didn’t really expect you to dance on something heavier and then I find videos of you dancing on Opeth, Orphaned Land and Septic Flesh which totally flipped me. How did some of the bands whose music you’ve danced on react?
Mahafsoun – I love dancing to death metal. It’s extremely heavy… but if done right, it can go perfectly with the delicate (and sometimes not so delicate) moves of belly dance. I danced to Septic flesh’s “Anubis” a long time ago, and right now it is the most viewed video on my entire YouTube channel. A short while ago when I got to perform with Ex Deo, I got to meet the guys at Septic flesh, and they mentioned to me the video and really enjoyed it. I was so extremely honored and inspired to know that the band recognized me as the dancer in the video and also liked what I was doing. This fact made me want to dance to their music more and more in the future. Some other bands that I have danced to the music of, such as Orphaned Land, Myrath, Xandria, Godog, and The Agonist have also seen it and have shown positive reactions, which again fueled my inspiration to continue.
12. You’ve inspired tons of girls to belly dance on metal and other unconventional music(with respect to belly dancing). How does it feel to inspire a whole lot of people at a young age?
Mahafsoun – I have had tons of women coming up to me and telling me that after seeing my videos, they have added metal to their dance routines. It makes me feel honored to hear that. I mean… I do what I do because I love it. I do it because it makes me feel more alive than ever. So, if by doing that, I can also inspire a few people, in any way… then it makes me feel amazing.
13. Are you a full time belly dancer? Or do you study/work as well?
Mahafsoun – I don’t only dance. I am a student and work as well on the side to support the expenses of my art.
14. You are a spiritual person and a follower of Egyptian spirituality and I noticed that most of the songs you like have this Egyptian connection(for example, “Anubis”). Is that one of the reasons you like a band and their music as well? Tell us more about your spiritual journey.
Mahafsoun – I am a spiritual person, yes, but I don’t choose my music based on whether it is connected to spirituality or not. Sure, that would make the song a little more relatable to me, but it doesn’t matter at all. I love a song because of the emotions (and sometimes lack of emotions) behind it… the lyrics… the artists who create it.
15. Thank you very much for taking time off and talking to us. Cheers!
Mahafsoun – Thank you very much for this interview! Stay tuned on my Page for all of my updates and works. A lot will happen this year, and I’m truly excited to share it with everyone who has been supporting me in my journey.