PRODUCER Carmen Jones talks about her new show, which entails music and belly dancing and is inspired by Middle Eastern traditions

What is it about belly dancing that you find appealing?

It’s very social and it brings people together. It’s not practiced as openly in the Middle East nowadays, but in the global sense it’s seen as a more open art form. It’s difficult in some Middle Eastern societies, they’re not open to expression. It’s all-encompassing and women of all shapes and sizes can take part.

The plot revolves around two sisters on a quest. Where did that come from?

It’s my story, based on an old Chinese story. I’m not particularly a writer but I felt compelled to do this. You look around at the news and you feel for people and relate to them. I wanted to create a storyline which resonates with what’s going on but also has a fantastical element. It’s about looking beyond the conflicts of today and seeing the bigger picture of humankind.

Do you touch on the Middle Eastern conflict directly?

Not directly. It’s just about what people go through in any area of the world, in any conflict. But because all of our music and dance comes from the middle East, it does reflect that a bit.

Who is the Serpent Slayer?

In fairy tales it’s Prince Charming who saves the day, but I wanted a story which has a woman as a hero. I was drawn towards strong women in history and fairy tales. The dance itself is very feminine and earthy and strong, too.

Did it take a while to work out how to blend the music, dance and narrative in your show?

It felt natural on the whole. When you’ve got a passion and vision it all falls into place.

It took a lot of effort and my cast and crew have worked incredibly hard. We got there and everyone is proud of what we’re doing.

You’ve done a lot of research into dance around the world, haven’t you?

I’ve been to Turkey, Egypt and Ibiza, surprisingly. That connects you with people around the globe that have similar interests. One of my highlights was being in the Sinai desert. We took a trip on camels and I danced around a fire while drums were banging. That was one of the best moments of my dance career. Under the moonlight – you couldn’t have a better experience.

Did your love of dance come before this interest in exploring other cultures?

Dance is everything to me – it’s like breathing. It’s my therapy, I don’t know where I’d be without it. As you move through your career you explore different things or places, and that’s what I’ve done.

I used to stick to traditional belly dance, but now I’ve broadened out to more theatre elements. I’m trying to do something different in the genre. We’ve got storytelling, puppetry and multimedia projects. We’re taking it to another level.

Have you been to the Fringe before?

We were here two years ago and had a really good time. The staff are really helpful and efficient even though you’re in and out quickly. The Warren is cool – I’m so glad we are there. We’re very lucky to be back and really looking forward to it.

Club Cairo: The Serpent Slayer is at The Warren: The Hat at 7pm tonight