OZGEN has performed, taught, choreographed & directed for the last 18 years. His reputation as a male belly dancer & teacher has taken him across the world. In Istanbul, he joined the cast of Night of the Sultans combining contemporary dance, ballet and oriental dance. Ozgen taught for several years at the Tolgahan Dance School in Istanbul, and is now based in London, teaching and performing Turkish Oriental & Romani (Gypsy) dance internationally.
"I have worked in big productions in Turkey & also have been touring my own dance theatre production internationally, for instance 'One Day In Istanbul' and 'Ashk /Love'. Telling a story through dance is something that makes my heart beat faster but its often a challenge to bring Middle Eastern dance forms to a big stage without loosing the energy and character of the dance."


1. Think bigger and act even bigger! 

The most important challenge you will experience is to make your steps, feelings and moves bigger as you perform on a large stage. What you want is that even someone sitting in the back row can see your steps clearly, get your feeling directly and enjoy your moves. 
2. Play with directions 

Adding direction changes, even when repeating the same moves, will give a different perspective to the audience. 
3. Use the diagonals 

Dancing on the diagonals will make your dance more friendly and captivate the audience more. Dancing square on to the audience can sometimes appear aggressive. Enjoy dancing using stage left, stage right, front and back diagonals.
4.Just walk! 

Using a big stage and trying to travel the stage with only moves and steps can look over choreographed. Enjoy only walking on the stage combined with gazing to the audience. This will help the audience to feel more connected with you.
5. Dance is like talking, speak clearly!  

If you talk fast, very few people will understand you - dance is the same. Make sure your moves are clear and complete, otherwise the shape of the moves or steps can not be understand by the audience.
6. Respect the cultural background

Putting some street style or folk dancing, such as Romani dance, on the big stage is a challenge. Always respect the origins of the dance and change within the feeling or culture of the dance.

7. Choose flex, point or natural point

In theatrical dance we have 3 options for the position of the feet depending on the style of dance performed. I often choose to point the feet for a classical dance style, and flex for folk dancing, using natural point where you have a story of someone sleeping or dying which gives a more natural feeling to the act.

8. Gaze to the audience

On a big stage I like gazing to a empty point while I am dancing; this feels good to me as I can get into the mood of the dance better. Sometimes making eye contact with the audience can distract you from your dance or energy. 

9. Chin up!

Dancing on stage, when the stage is higher then the audience, can be tricky. If you have a dance where you like to make eye contact with your audience, looking down will give you a double chin! So make eye contact with the audience sitting further away and not directly below you and enjoy dancing with your chin up to have better photos.
10. Check out the stage!

Check the stage before your performance and try your shoes on stage beforehand as some theater floors can be slippery or sticky. If you want to be comfortable on stage, especially for turns, check it out before.