| 27 I think it’s really important to examine things that you nd ugly, because those are often prejudices Mislim da je zaista važno ispitati stvari koje smatrate ružnim, jer su to često predrasude Yourwork is oftendescribedby critics as being the cliché of a multicultural meltingpotonstage.Howwouldyouyourself de ne the essence of your work? - First of all, I think that for any artist in any eld it is never nice to be de ned as anything. I dance because I don’t want to be de ned. But of course people need you to explain yourself, to say who you are, where you come from and what you do. What I do is try to stay as close as possible to the things I care about, love and nd defensible; the things I want to stand for. This can be a mix of things from di erent cultures that areelementswhichmatter tomeand formpart of who I am.When I worked with Flamenco artist María Pagés, it was not the de nition of Flamenco that I cared about, it was the movement. So when people say “he is mixing cultures”, I say, “no, I am translating”. I’m translating into the eld that is contemporarydance. YouhaveworkedwithBuddhistmonks, a Lebanesesinger, aCorsicanvocal group, while your pieceTeZukAwas inspiredby Japanese manga... In your opinion, are there some elements that are genuine parts of the culture you were raised in, given that your mother is Flemish and your father is Moroccan? - I lovethe owthatyou ndinArabicwriting, where the letters are connected and the words are intertwined. Beingeducated inreadingfrom right to left has sometimeshelpedme to lookat things fromadi erentperspective.When Iwasa kid,weused tohaveverses fromtheQuranwritten in calligraphy above our doors. I loved the aesthetics of them. I think the part of me that is Arabic has been indoctrinated with a certain sense of beauty. But the idea of what I consider beautiful was also shaped by my mother, who is Catholic and used to takeme to Antwerp Cathedral andshowme themurals there. But there aresimultaneouslymany things thatmyparents didn’t consider beautiful, butwhich I learned to appreciate. I think it is really important to questionthe thingsyouconsiderugly, becausethose are prejudices. Youoftenclaimtobeasketchartist rather than a choreographer? - My aesthetic, my sense of beauty, came frommy childhood, whichwas amixture of calligraphy andFlemishpainters, like theones you seeatAntwerpCathedral, andRubens.Mymain expressionwasdrawing–andI reallydofeel that I’mmuchmorea sketchartist thana choreographer.When Imakework, it isdrawingand I don’t make a distinction. Even when I’m singing, I’m actuallydancing– it’s likeachoreographywithin thebody–yourmouthmoves, yourdiaphragm, your palette – you have to have a sense of the technique of movement that generates sound, which is choreography, which is dance, so your actuallydancingwhenyou’resinging.Anddancing for me is actually when I’m drawing a circle and sketching.