The Woman Who Fell in Love with Dancing

The Woman Who Fell in Love with Dancing
Professional Choreographer Rhea Harmoush Tells her love story

May 2020


Martha Graham once said: “Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.”


A passion for dancing is so magical because it is the energy that drives you to create movements you can feel and enables you to express your emotions. Life makes more sense with it and every passionate dancer can tell you all about it.

Professional choreographer Rhea Harmoush told Special Arabia how she fell in love with dancing, how she took it to a professional level. We also discussed how dancing and other arts are underrated and not taken seriously as a good career in the Arab world.


Who is Rhea?

I am a professional dancer and choreographer. I love creating dance moves with passion to inspire others to find their own passions as well and unleash their inner strength to achieve whatever they believe in.

My heart lights up when I put my soul in what I do; through dance and creativity of movement, I build healthy outlet to express my feelings and reach people's hearts through the universal language of dance. I want to prove that dance is truly for everyone to love and appreciate.

My dedication, hard work and belief in myself helped pave the way to where I am today. Those are fundamentals I stuck by ever since I first set my foot in a dance class and throughout many years of being a professional working dancer.




How it started

I started 12 years ago, working in advertising and marketing firms, however, dance was always my accomplice. I used the ethics and values learnt in the dance studio to climb my way up the corporate ladder. My job was all about understanding human behavior, brand values and interpersonal communications induced by creative ideas. Years later, I decided to focus all my energy on my sole life purpose: dance. Thus, I combined both worlds together and created the most out of it, as a creative director and create dance performances, as a choreographer.

Besides teaching all styles of dance to different levels of students, I continue to nurture my love for dancing by learning new stuff each day.


567ray by Rhea Harmoush

All this has soon allowed me to launch my own dance company called 567ray by Rhea Harmoush. It is like a heaven to me where I get to share my experiences and passion with others to inspire them follow their passion.


How did you discover your passion for dancing?

My passion for dance began at a young age when I started performing on stage where I fell in love with dancing.

When I started working in a corporate job, I wouldn’t miss a dance class or session. I never felt for one minute that there was some place else I’d rather be when I am in the dance studio.

It is actually an endless discovery for me, as I find new passions through it every day. Dance isn’t just my full-time job; it is something that cheers me up when I am having the worst days. I feel alive every time I dance, teach, perform or create. It leaves me with such hunger and fulfilment, to this day.




How did you decide to take dancing to a professional level? Were your parents against your decision?

My parents watched my love for dance grow since day 1 and until this very day. They introduced me to dance and let me follow my passion under no conditions.

They were very supportive, however, just like any Arab parents, they insisted on me to get a Bachelor Degree before taking dance to a professional level. Noting that they always motivated me to keep dancing on the side. Their trust in me made me confident about what I want.

I trained hard for 12 years straight and my parents would attend every show, watch every performance online when they could not physically be there.

My parents saw the passion that I have for dance and supported me all the way and pushed me far beyond of what I was expecting, and they totally get me on pursuing dance as a full-time job. Today, I can fairly say they are one of my biggest fans.


Who is your idol? Why?

I don’t have an idol. Not one. But I do admire many people in different areas of expertise, whom have had an impact on me, and see how best to incorporate it within my life and journey to where I want to reach. I look up to so many different people for different iconic and admirable things they stand for. I choose the best of different worlds as I have not yet found that one person who has it all.  But to those that have idol-like qualities, I believe they have star-like attributes and crazy passion and work ethics which are traits I look up to so much and go by as much as I can.


Which type of dance is the close to your heart? Why?

I get asked this same question in almost every interview. I love all styles. It’s similar to asking a parent which child do you prefer; they can never choose one. I am able to take on pretty much any style thrown at me; thus, I love them all.

I love hip-hop and commercial dancing because they are more of freestyle energetic, which helps a lot in self-expression. However, I also love contemporary dance, which is more expressive and flowy. I always refer to it as the dance I can fully speak to my soul and articulate my feelings better than words.

The sexier feminine empowering style is that of the heels or jazz funk which I love because it is sassier! It helped me in building my confidence as a woman over the years.  

Finally, jazz is one of my favorites, because I have been told that I was born to be a jazz dancer. It sits most naturally within my body and I think I am strongest as a technician in that style.

Last but not least, I love ballet. It was my first puppy love and will always be. There’s true beauty in dancing to classical music that is so soothing to the soul.




How can dancing be helpful during quarantine?

Dancing can be one of the most beneficial things one can do during quarantine. It is a good cardio exercise strengthening our muscles and make them lean. Also, dancing has psychological benefits:

  • It releases our happy hormones, serotonin and dopamine, therefore, improves our mood instantly.
  • Injects positive energy to your day, even if for a short period. It personally helped me to cope with the situation.
  • Makes you feel fully present and allows your mind to relax.
  • Makes you have fun.

We all remember how fun it was when we were children to just dance in the room. Quarantine is now giving us the chance to unleash our inner child.


What songs are on your playlist right now? Your most played songs for dancing?

I have so many playlists at the moment and trust me you don’t want me to list them out! HAHA!

I have been listening mostly to classical music in the morning or whenever I need to concentrate on something. Not necessarily to dance. I play mainly instrumentals or classics while organizing my house, meditating, or even working. I have always enjoyed classical music (especially piano based songs) because it puts the whole aura of the house in a good and calm mood. And I would like to believe it helps with concentration. 

One of the songs on repeat during this time is “River Flows In You” by Yiruma.


Why do you think dancing is underrated in the Arab world?

That is a good question. There’s is a big undermining of the artistry of dance as a proper profession in the Arab world, because parents are conservative and overprotective. They tend to lure their kids to pick a safe career that seems fixed and secure for their future. While art or any other risky career scare them! Dance is considered an underpaid industry but that is the case for any artist in general. Dancers don’t make the big bucks like lawyers and doctors in an ideal world, who by the way can also earn a lower income.

Parents aren’t supportive in this matter because they believe hobbies aren’t supposed to be a good profession. This misconception is transmitted to their kids who would also believe that it is hard to make it as a professional dancer. Also, universities do not offer a dance curriculum. Unfortunately, passionate dancers have to fly abroad pursue a professional dancing career.


What can we do to encourage young talents?

I would love to nurture the Arab mentality more perhaps through sharing my own experiences.

Hopefully we can change this misconception and help spread more awareness for parents to encourage young dancers to grow up believing that if they follow their passion and put hard work and effort to it, they can make their dreams come true, and maybe make it their full-time job with good income.

I would also hope that we can keep on improving our dance education, so we can have highly trained professional dancers with plenty of opportunities for them to catch and make their dreams come true, instead of seeking a better future abroad.