gili levari

who are you?

my name is gili levari. i am an artist. i am a painter. i am a really curious person and love to learn new things. i feel like an eternal child. i love animals, especially gina my cat. i am 40-years-old and i have lived in tel aviv for almost my whole life apart from the 3.5 years that i lived in london where i studied pastry. i was a pastry chef up until the age of 29, and then i decided to pursue my real life dream and to become a belly dancer. i have danced since i was a kid, but being a professional was never an option since i studied classical ballet and i don't have the body for it. when i discovered belly dance, i fell in love with it immediately and i decided i had to pursue it.

where are you from?

i was born in israel and grew up in ramat aviv, a beautiful neighborhood in the north of tel aviv. now i live in jaffa, which i absolutely love. it has a slightly different vibe. it's a mixed city with muslims, christians and jews, places are open on saturdays, people are open-minded, you can be whoever you like, and you can find any style of art and culture you like.

what is your passion?

i have three passions: painting, dancing and eating. i like to capture the beautiful things i see. i love choreographing arabic and oriental dance because you can be whoever you like: a princess, a witch, a sexy lady. belly dance is very dramatic and theatrical. the music is beautiful even if you don't understand the lyrics. but food is my favorite thing. i love to eat, i love restaurants and markets, i love reading and seeing documentaries about the culture and history of food. israel is a really good place for it. you can get amazing high quality food in the markets and it's cheap!

best piece of advice?

i saw it on a documentary with lady gaga. she spoke about one of the times when she was not successful yet and she got another rejection from a record company. she went to her grandmother's house and cried and her grandmother told her, 'okay, today you and cry and tomorrow just wake up and kick some ass.' i find this really helpful with performing. you practice forever in the studio, the dance comes out perfectly, then you go on stage and it's not the way you wanted. when i'm disappointed, frustrated, annoyed, sad, it is better to let myself feel it. then the next day i wake up fresh and keep on working.

3 things you can't live without

hummus

my mom

tel aviv

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what makes you feel alive?

creating new things. once i go to the studio and paint another painting, it feels like i changed the world a tiny, tiny bit. creating new choreography. connecting with people through dance. you get such nice moving feedback which really makes me feel like i'm doing something good. most times i don't feel like i'm at work because i come to a show, dressed as a princess, and make people happy. they really react to me so it makes me feel alive. also, walking in the streets of tel aviv, i love being in the city. it gives me inspiration. seeing people, shops, pets gives me great energy.

what do you want to do next?

i  would love to be one of the best belly dancers in israel, perform abroad in festivals and teach. i would love to be a successful artist selling my art, exhibiting around israel and abroad. i would love to travel to new york, san fransisco, ireland, turkey and china...and hopefully i will get another cat.

describe yourself in a hashtag

#peterpan

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