Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cairo, the 31st October, 2009

"Sleepless in Cairo"
"Because I cannot sleepI make music at night.
I am troubled by the onewhose face e has the color of spring flowers.
I have neither sleep nor patience,neither a god reputation nor disgrace.
A thousand robes of wisdom are gone.
All my good manners have moved a thousand miles away.
The heart and the mind are left angry with each other.
The starts and the moon are envious of each other.
Because of this alienation the physical universeis getting tighter and tighter.
The moon says, "How long will I remainsuspended without a sun?
"Without Love's jewel inside of me,let the bazaar of my existence by destroyed stone by stone.
O Love,
You who have been called by a thousand names,
You who know how to pour the wineinto the chalice of the body,
You who give culture to a thousand cultures,
You who are faceless but have a thousand faces,
O Love,
You who shape the faces of Turks, Europeans, and Zanzibaris,
give me a glass from Your bottle,or a handful of bheng from Your Branch.
Remove the cork once more.
The we'll see a thousand chiefs prostrate themselves,and a circle of ecstatic troubadours will play.
Then the addict will be breed of craving.
And will be resurrected,and stand in awe till Judgement Day.
Piece taken/passionately stolen from a Rumi poem
Cairo, the 31st October, 2009

"Night on the town - part II"

Having to perform after an whole night without sleep is not one of my best artistic advices but the night was well worth it!

Not being a sleepy person myself and loving to enjoy the mornings, the idea of returning home at 6 o'clock and head to work a few hours later without recovering from the sleep deprived version of myself is not also a genius thing to do but, once again, the night was so great that it was worth it!

P.S. They do some desserts in "Veranda" (besides "Nile Maxim", where I perform) that can melt any hard rock into nothingness...WOW!!!! The chocolate hot, HOT fondue with ice cream is just to die for.

A few more shots of the fun...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cairo, the 31st October, 2009

"Great night on the town..."

Good friends around me, great music and lots of evasion. This was a night to remember and a special time during which I miraculously did not even think about work!

A rare treap outside my 24hour working mode routine. Sometimes, you just need to forget about the "real" world and have fun.

That's what I did tonight.

Here are some images of friends, the future father of my children and a bit of the music I hope you can hear through the images.

There's nothing like the night in Cairo...the many nights, in fact...

Cairo, the 30th October, 2009

"It's very stupid not to dance!"

As said by my dearest friend Mahmoud Reda

"We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once."

Friedrich Nietzsche

Trying to dance, always learning and growing.

Change is my second name!
Cairo, the 30th October, 2009

"A bit of heaven..."

Chaos is part of the path into total PEACE and HARMONY.
The opposites sustain each other and allows us to travel between our divine condition and our human condition.
My assistant, God bless her lack of respect for authorities (at some extent, at least) made two small videos of the "Whirling Derwish's" show (it's not allowed to do so!!!) and I couldn't resist to share, at least, one of them with you so here it is.
For the ones who can appreciate it, no words are needed to comment on the video. For the ones who cannot appreciate it, well...I suggest you keep living and you'll, eventually, catch up with the rest of Humanity. LOL

And yes, I can be a devil.
Only when I want, though... LOL

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cairo, the 29th October, 2009

"Some of my dance videos by friends and such..."

Here are some more home made videos, courtesy of assistant and some friends who came to watch me dance in different occasions and places. Hope to do some REAL recording of my new shows very soon (full orchestra, new "tableaus", soul and all...).
Inshah Allah!

Follow the links and enjoy:

Cairo, the 29th October, 2009

"The Whirling Dervishes of Cairo - Magic in movement"

I can find magic and QUALITY of LIFE in the most unexpected places and if there is ONE thing that really fills my soul and keeps it saciated is GREAT, SOULFUL MUSIC.

I have a particular need for evasion and that's part of the reason why I am an artist. Art can take you to another worlds and, ultimately, to the only invisible REAL world that IS.

The MAGIC happened again in the "El Khoury Palace" in the Hussein.
It takes my breath away to realize how rich egyptian culture, music and dance are. It's just the richest country in terms of inspiration, source materials and talent.
"Ah, ya Misr..."

I had been there before taken by the hand of a dear friend who is also a dancer and a musician. I had my mouth opened and the tears in my eyes for the whole show and the night ended up at the famous Mohamed Ali street where some of the best musicians played for me during the whole night. What a luxury!

This time I took my assistant and another friend with me and they both surrendered to the show's appeal. A single word can describe it: SOUL.
Visual smartness and even beautiful sounds and enchanting words are empty if there's no Soul in them. The "Whirling Dervishes" of Cairo are proof of that.

Looking for some quiet time on my own - and presuming my own audiences don't know about this place! - I was recognized and warmly surrounded by egyptian fans and two tour guides that bring crowds from all over the world to see me. I was both shy and happy about these encounters.
I cannot live without the spotlight but I also enjoy the shadows of that exposed place. I need to rescue myself from people observing glances once in a while as I am totally exposed and vulnerable practically every night. Well, I chose the wrong place for it.

Me, no make-up, no shine, no lights and the "stage attitude". Just me, my simplest self disconstructed from the stage throne. A little uncomfortable but very sweet to be cherished like that.

Egyptian Pancakes and Shopping in "Khan el Khalili":

We made our shopping of materials for "bedlehs" (dance dresses I design and produce myself).

Very hard to pass by and ignore the harassment from the shop "managers" who yell stuff like : "I don't know what you're looking for but I have what you need" at us. You don't know if you laugh or you let them get on your nerves. They can be pretty insisting and daring in a "mosquito" kind of way. Irritating way.

We visited the MUST egyptian pancake shop and had our share of honey and "eshta" on these famous gourmand treats while being harassed by hungry and sweet street cats.

We laughed and had a couple of teas with shop owners, simply enjoying our conversation like there was no time or space. A rare occasion for me, always on the run, always productive and with no mood for talking with strangers who almost always end up trying to pick you up (no patience for that!).
We dreamt and were taken to heaven in the "Whirling Dervishes" show. All the musicians were exquisite and the immense palace was enrolled into God's presence by the hand of music.


All Saturdays and Wednesdays, at 20.30h at the "El Khoury Palace" in the Hussein, Cairo.

Cairo, the 29th October, 2009

"What's with the Private Shows?!"

"I'm your private dancer,

A dancer for money,

I'll do what you want me to do..."

Piece of a Tina Turner's song ("Private Dancer")

During this short yet intense life as an Oriental Dancer -or as a Belly Dancer, as most people prefer to call it - I've been taken by many things and looked upon as a dumb blond (I am a natural blond eternally trying to darken my hair in order not to look "such a foreigner" for my egyptian audiences), as an arrogant person who thinks she's the best (nothing could be more distant from the way I see myself) and even as a prostitute by people who simply don't know me or by jealous ex-boyfriends who couldn't understand how someone they perceived as so sexy and interesting and always surrounded by men chasing her could also be honest and straight in her moral conduct. For some insecure men, tt seems you need to be ugly and boring in order to be trusted...

Being taken as a fantasy for men and as a prostitute is part of my personal Karma. I just can't help it, specially when I am in an area that is still a TABU, a misunderstood art so often connected with luxurious sexual indulgence and seduction towards men.

Even if I lived shut away into a mountain monastery, there would still be rumours of my extensive and overtly intensive sexual activities.

Oriental Dancers have always been associated with Sex and Prostitution and it doesn't matter if I am the opposite of the image most people carry about me. Very often, we see what WE WANT to see and not the REALITY that is presented to us.

The latest absurd requests! What's up with that?!

Lately, I've been receiving a LOT of "private parties" requests and I ask myself WHY is this.

My exposure at the "Nile Maxim" is greater than the one I had until now, that's for sure. A lot of recent attention was laied on me but nothing could preview what was coming.

The promise of BIG MONEY in exchange for secretive "private parties" that I decline one after the other.

Let's clear this out: I DO PRIVATE PARTIES with my orchestra and the deals are made between the client and the chief of my band. I do my dancing, as in any other normal show, and head home as in any regular night.

The problem is these recent clients are searching for "streap-tease" private shows meaning ME and THEM alone. Well, let me break the big news on this one:


Streap-tease and seduction towards a man are made for their girlfriends/wives/lovers/whatever or to prostitutes and I am none of them so...sorry but no deal!

Grandma's peep-shows:

1. I dance in private for my grandmother who just adores watching me move. Whatever I do, it's great to her (God bless her!). She sits on her chair with her tea cup and just watches in amazement and always with a tear exploding somewhere around her heart.

2. I dance in private for my mum when I am coreographing and want her opinion on a particular piece (she's the hardest of my critics and knows more about Oriental Dance than most "professionals" I know in the international market).

3. I also dance privately for my dear teacher and best friend Mahmoud Reda (the founder of the great "Reda Troupe", the revolutionary group that changed Egyptian Dance panorama in the world). I show him my stuff (things I am preparing for my shows) and he teaches me his new and old coreographies or simply shows me what he is coreographing at the moment, enjoying to watch me practice.

These are the only occasions when I dared to dance privately for someone and in none of them there was a sexual charge or anything connected with seduction.

What the hell goes on in these men's minds to offer me such generous amounts of money to do a "job" that they are supposed to ask from their partners. Don't these creatures have love and joy in their lives? Do they really need to confuse me with a prostitute or a streaper in order to feel some excitement in their lives?!

How sad is that?!

Again and always, I have to add...I am not a fantasy or a "private dancing kind of gal"... I have never danced for the men in my life and I would, certainly, not do it for a stranger in exchange of whatever he may offer me. Just forget about it, guys. FORGET IT!

I think it is humiliating and stupid to locate Oriental Dance in such box or me, for that matter, in such role.

Guys, for God's sake! Speak up with your women and ask them to dance for you or, even better, give away what you wish for yourself: DANCE FOR YOUR WOMEN...YOUUUUUUU.....DOOOOOOOOOOO.....IIIIIIIIITTTTTT....

I am sure the ladies in your life will appreciate the gesture and give you something in return. From their hearts. No money in exchange needed.

Hey, this is me, the eternal romantic speaking up...

I wish there were no perverts in this life or ignorance of all sorts...but here they are.

Just notice and write down the following:



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cairo, the 28th October, 2009

"Dance is LIFE"

Dance while you can. I´ve heard if so often.
Dance as a metaphor of a life well LIVED.

Why doesn´t anybody teaches how to dance then? Because dancing in life as dancing on stage are both forms of Art that require talent and tools.

As opposed to the passive, non-agressive, submissive attitude of most women I know.


As opposed to the bent heads and the frowns that grow on fearing faces of women around me.


As opposed to the silenced voices and frozen bodies of women dead warriors around me.


As opposed to a society that still tells you have to fit the ROLE of what is expected from a WOMAN.


As opposed to opression, ignorance and all kinds of fears.


As opposed to all the prejudices, male blind dominance, weak images of yourself and what others have whispered in your ear that YOU ARE.


As opposed to Death.


Cairo, the 28th October, 2009

"False opportunities and JOY!"

Nina Simone is sounding really cool on my speakers right now. If life could be that cool all the time...ahhhh...

I can try to describe my real life (beyond all that people think about me or phantasize) in a thousand words and yet they will not be enough or efficient. My REAL life is way much more interesting - or boring, depending on the perspective! - than what most people deduce.

I´ve assumed myself as a kind of freak magnet. I suffer from the "warrior-life saver" complex which means that I can genuinely presume I can "fix" and inject some LIGHT into the life of all the Frankensteins walking around in these life´s tough roads.

I smell the bitter sweet odour of a disturbed freak - men and women - and I run to help, to understand, to hold and hug them until all DARKNESS has vanished from their lives and I breath in relief knowing that my mission was accomplished.

Time to change this bulshit, isn´t it?

While I am honestly trying to quit the role of world saviour, I still seem to pull some of the strangest characters into my world, even if unconsciously.

My friends blame it on my job.

"You know what I´re a dancer and you know very well what people think about your job here in Egypt." - They tell me patting on my shoulder as in a sweet but passive support.

"Yeah, I know what they think about dancers but my fame of "being difficult" has already spread all over the market, for God´s sake! They should know I choose with whom to sleep with and my choices never have anything to do with my job or with money.
Do their brains work, for God´s sake?!" - I answer back in a usual tone of soft rage.
I know that people - mostly men - phantasize about the ORIENTAL DANCER as a kind of private dancer-stripper-odalisque who dances to seduce them taking them to a world where imagination, sex and pure pleasure mix them into a bowl of everything that is EXCITING and EXOTIC in this life and the Other.

I am aware of that.

REALITY is so least, for me!
I do acknowledge the fact that I can be seductive while I dance simply because I do it with my body, heart, senses and soul. That MUST result into something seductive even if not intentional.

But I am not an odalisque or a prostitute or even the kind of woman who dances to seduce whoever she wants.
The only person I´ve ever danced for in private was my grandmother (and my mother, for coreography´s feed-back). How seductive is that?! Doing a private dance for my own grandmother?! This is as hot as it gets for me.
I am interesting enough as I am and more than enough to love and be loved by any man without any "dancing-seducing" ritual included.
How small would I need to be if I needed to "dance" for a man in order to seduce him?!

Dancing is my job, my mission, my passion and my air. Not a way to seduce men.
I would hope that is so clear.

ACCIDENTS to prove the world must still roll round and round...a LOT:

Yesterday night´s shows were AMAZING. No comments on this one cause I don´t want to ask for troubles and because you just had to be passion is more alive than ever and not even baskets of snakes biting me on my back can stop what I am meant to do.

Sorry, dear destructive enemies. Your envy and evilness is a huge part of my strenght!
The night had been exhausting and happy and I was exhausted, dreaming to arrive home and take my hot shower, breath in my love and just rest in silence.

A gentleman - should I call him that?! - managed to reach me in my backstage room while my assistant was collecting material from the stage and threw himself at my feet (literally) asking me for a chance to meet me outside the working place.
"What?!" - I asked him in disbelief, hoping some of my musicians would show up and save me from this Prince less than Charming.
"Could I take your phone number for a private party?! Just tell me how much you need me to pay and there will be no discussion." - He continued, ignoring my open mouth and obvious - I guess! - disgust at this intrusion.

"I am sorry but I only do private parties accompanied with my orchestra so you will have to speak with the chief of the orchestra and fix it with him." - I answered , trying to be polite and cold.
"No. I need YOU only. You and ME. Not the orchestra."
"Well, I am afraid that´s not possible. I am sorry. I perform with my team and that´s not negotiable."
"How much do you want?! I will not discuss the price. Just tell me how much you want." He continued with a crazy look on his face.

Now this is the fragile point of the question. Everyone knows that CLEAN work in Egypt in the area of DANCE does not pay very well. Only the "extra" work does.
I struggle to live comfortably and I stop myself from travelling and having another goodies because I work a lot but I invest most of what I earn in good musicians, clothes, songs, dancers, etc and what I earn is not that much in the first place.
I am not rich and I have been through difficult times finantially but no way I would accept a big load of money in exchange for my DIGNITY. I am way too proud and honest for that.

The "gentleman" didn´t show any sign of stopping the request.
I left the room and searched for one of the managers in charge of the place.

I asked him to deal with the man and left. I avoided to be rough and even rude but that was IT.

I didn´t work my damned in order to have the respect of my audiences and then having to deal with some freak´s distorted mind and desires. NO WAY, DEAR SIR!
My patience is short, very short. Explosions - good and bad! - happen inside of me constantly and I am not able to stop them.

This man just hit my wrong button in a very bad timing.
Could I ever explain him that I dance for my AUDIENCES and not for a man? Could I explain him that my intimacy has no price tag on it? Would he ever understand it?
I choose the men I sleep with according to many factors and they never include money or job opportunities. I am sorry but I am a hell of a lady in all sorts of aspects!
I am so sorry that reality - my reality - doesn´t match male´s idea of ME.
I am not a fantasy. I AM REAL.
I could enumerate so many joys of the many...
The most amazing stuff have to be experienced in first hand. No writting, photos or video can fairly tell you about pure BLISS.
You just had to be there...:)
There´s a HUGE smile on my face right now. That´s all that is to IT.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cairo, the 25th October, 2009

"Morning shows, sunset shows, night shows..."

Lately I´ve been catching all kinds of environments and audiences.

Besides the famous Evil Eye phenomenon and all my broken shoes due to it (so it seems) and my constant struggle and hurry (why am I in such a hurry, anyway?!) to find a better, stronger version of myself on stage I am also dealing with my feared foreigner audiences and dancing all day/night round the clock. Thanks God.

Today I caught foreigners during the whole day and tomorrow, hopefully, lots but LOTS of egyptians and arabs to warm me up as I like.

A couple of americans stoped by me to tell me they appreciated..."my dresses"! dresses?! I am dancing for you at 12.00h in the morning after another previous tiring night of shows and I´m giving my best shot for you to appreciate "my dresses"?!

Now you can understand why I am so fond of egyptian audiences. It´s not just that they do KNOW how to differentiate a good from a bad dancer but they would never tell me they appreciate "my dresses"!!!

I guess I am becoming too demanding with myself. What becomes easy starts to feel boring to me and so I presume it also feels the same way to my audiences.

I am running, running but cannot yet define to which destiny.

I hope for the Best and have faith in God and all He has kept for me.

Cairo, the 25th October, 2009

"Falling, stepping ahead, back and forth on the path to my Soul"

Performing practically every day and night has great stuff about it but also its downside.

Besides the obvious exhaustion, there is the risk of falling into routine or loosing the track of the path you initially dreamt for yourself.

I have to land my feet on the ground constantly in order not to loose the sense, reason and goals of what I am doing.

My hands want to grab way too many things at the same time. I am just a normal person and my day has 24 hours like the days of everybody else. I lead myself to exhaustion very often trying to drive several entreprises ahead and never delegating work on others. Unfortunately, I trust myself and no one else can do MY job quite like I do. Maybe I am wrong...

Autumn has finally arrived at Cairo and I´m pissed off at it. I am not a cold´s fan.

Already miss my sunny days...and yet...always...


Friday, October 23, 2009

Cairo, the 23rd October, 2009

"Why we should all pay attention to animals"

Humanity is always being redefined.
We, human beings who walk straight and claim to have a brain and a functioning heart are, many times, more dishuman than animals themselves.

What defines HUMANITY?!

Taking a look at these incredibly touching images (animals are my weakness), I get confused and ask myself if human beings like me don´t have so much, indeed, to learn from our animal pals.

They may not have the mental ability we possess (or at least, the same kind of ability) but they are surely wiser on so many aspects.

These chimpanze took over baby tigers as if they were her own, nursing them and giving them love without ever rejecting them for not being her biological sons or for being different.

If only we could always be loving and wise like this...if only we could...

Cairo, the 22nd October, 2009

“Broken shoes, Duke Ellington”

Three pairs of shoes have been broken in pieces while on stage.
All agree: the damned Evil Eye.
All my team is fighting it and I am getting new “boukhour” (incense) from the Hussein (market) by tomorrow.
The best protection against evil is kindness in one´s heart and peace of mind. I have those.

Listening to…

1. Loads of Arabic music for research. Duty calls and an urgency to do what´s never been done before.
2. Duke Ellington and a couple of other jazz goodies just to freshen my mind up and for inspiration.

Currently reading…
1.All Nawal el Saadawi books I could find. This is a treasure, really. God bless all warrior women who refuse to be stupefied and treated like cheap cattle. God bless them all.

2. Women who love too much by Robin Norwood
This was a strange find suggested by a student/friend. I thought the book and its title had very little to do with me but I was surprised to find myself enthralled into a self-analysis while reading the book and finding some insight into my love relationships. Me, always playing the saviour, strong one, protective and male role. Always!
However you assume yourself as a lover, read this book. I am sure you´ll find some very useful lights in it.

3. A thousand and one nights, by Naguib Mahfouz.
I am entering hard ground on this one.
I tried to read another books from the egyptian Literature Nobel winner but always left it aside from the first pages. I am finally taking it serious and trying to find out what´s the great thing about Naguib Mahfouz. Will report about this one later on…
Cairo, the 20th October, 2009

“I am happy when…”

The concept of Happiness is as wide as the Atlantic Ocean that covers my beloved Portugal.

In the West, Happiness has been confused with achievement on so many levels and yet people strive for the REAL feeling of being HAPPY without ever getting there. Women, in particular, find it hard to figure out what is it exactly that it takes to be happy. Should they be successful career women or build a happy family, simply find a good lover or travel around the world with the Peace Corps?!
The possibilities are endless and freedom has been an almost granted right for us for quite some time. This is great but still we didn´t figure out the way to achieve and maintain a satisfying level of Happiness.

In the East, Happiness is an even more elusive term. I find extremely religious countries to be distant from spiritual awareness and, therefore, dislocated from the smallest glimpse of true Happiness that comes from PEACE of mind, first and most of all.

I am happy when I feel loved and understood.
I am happy when I dance or sing by myself, for my grandmother (the only person I dance to in private) or for my audiences.
I am happy when I reach somebody´s soul through my work or a simple gesture in my daily life.
I am happy when I feel total absence of anger and all my enemies are forgiven.
I am happy when I grab my mum´s hand or sleep by my sister´s side.
I am happy when I´m in love.
I am happy when it´s summer and all I have around me is my dearest Atlantic Ocean.
I am happy when I recognize that all my adventures and misadventures were not in vain. All it´s worth it.
I am happy when I stop judging arabic mentality and accept that we´re all simply different from each other and never superior/inferior in any way.
I am happy when I am kind to myself as I am to others.
I am happy when I realize that Life is only NOW.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cairo, the 18th October, 2009

"Many faces, my own endless growth"

Me, always growing in several directions.
It's great when you're not in the "cathalog", when no one can actually classify you as a woman or a human being.

I'm not the usual "belly dancer" most people have in their minds.
I am not a saint and I'm not a "bitch".
I am not a house wife but I enjoy to stay home for a while walking around in my shorts, reading, eating by the light of candles in good company, just remaining quiet.
I am not a party girl but I do love a great party with friends. Salsa and cubanitos with the ones who love me beyond appearances (because I am way too many things for appearances to define me).
I am shy and I am brave.

I am ugly and beautiful.
I am the smile and the tear.

Light and darkness alternating like the day and the night.

I am not white or black. I don't belong to anywhere and yet I am from everywhere.
Not allowing life to stick a single "cathegory" on my skin has been one of my proudest personal assets. Want to keep going.

I reject the idea of having to fit into a way of being, thinking, acting. I am totally myself and that can be offensive to many's sensibility.
Isn't it part of being an ARTIST? Reaching out for your own REAL SELF?!
And knowing we're HUGE, we can be everything. Why diminish ourselves and put us into shelves where we think we can totally figure ourselves out?!

In Egypt, a woman's role is very clear as it is the role of a man.
And yet life's changing. Not even ignorance and centuries of repression and prejudice can stop the Universe from advancing.
Time to open our minds, time for hearts and souls to CHANGE.
Cairo, the 17th October, 2009

“Even tougher…the rope is being endlessly pushed…”

I woke up, like in every common morning, and lighted my incense to thank for the day and ask for protection. I drank my water, stared at the glorious sun and gave my portions of kisses for the day opening (kissing is the best, isn’t it?).
The morning slipped from the mysteries of Time as usual and nothing would predict what a difficult night was waiting for me.
I’ve been used to the constant tests. The ones who know me well and are astrology “aficionados” tell me I am a plutonic person, meaning strong and charismatic with a compulsive tendency to grow and constantly reach for experiences and people that transform me. Believing or not in the sense of astrology, I have to agree with them.

The simple (simple?!) story of my life – so far…I’m so young but often feel ancient – is an huge act of strive for growing and transformation coming from extreme experiences that I look for, consciously or unconsciously.

The rope God throws on me is constantly pushed further and I have no time to breath between sets of learning, shocks, surprises (good and “not so good”). One mountain to climb after the other and me on the driver’s seat being tested, having to adjust myself to every new obstacle and enigma.

The struggle:

Tonight’s work was a success, thanks God, but it was a struggle to put on.
My right arm in the orchestra is very sick and has lost partial memory aptitude. It ‘s breaking my heart to know that this musician that I love so much – as a friend, as a family member, as someone who could be my own father – is so sick and deprived of his full faculties… I am tough in so many things but my soft heart betrays me when someone I love is in pain.
Besides that, two of my best musicians were missing and replacements were there in all their pride doing everything but good music.
As it often happens in Egypt, real talent and merit are not what gives someone status. The appearances and the most superficial circumstances can elevate an ignorant to the place of a sage. A brute to the throne of a king.

These two replacements work with a famous Egyptian dancer and yet they know very little about the subtleness and richness of Arabic music. Having already heard about me, they knew in advance they would find no fool as far as music is concerned.

Being used to dancers who generously pay them with the money that doesn’t come from their dancing gigs (“if you know what I mean!”), these musicians think they’re the best. Also coming from these same dancers who simply don’t care if they play the right notes or hit the right rhythms, they presume dancers have no ear or ability to detect mistakes and what we can commonly call “NOISE”.
Ah…the noise…so often confused with MUSIC!

Like the headmistress of an infant school, I listened and corrected to a single piece of music for three whole hours at the end of which I was sick to my stomach.
The replacements, being now fully aware that I DO KNOW WHAT I’M DOING and, therefore, exposed in their weaknesses as musicians, got extremely arrogant and defensive (like all bad musicians and dancers do) creating a terrible atmosphere inside of the orchestra. I never criticize a personal asset in a musician. I DO correct mistakes and I am a perfectionist. My life as a dancer in Egypt is hard enough as it is. The least I can have is the luxury of having GOOD QUALITY MUSIC backing me up. The lack of it is a deal breaker for me.

One more time, I confirmed what I already knew: the less talented and qualified musicians are the most arrogant.

During the whole rehearsal, I asked my assistant to burn my “boukhour” (incense) trying to dispel the terrible energy around me but not even the incense could erase these musicians lack of talent and knowledge.
I knew I was on for a tough night as I depend so much on my orchestra’s quality, unity and feeling.

The Dancing:

Now here’s the thing. When I am on stage, nothing can stop me.
I can dance to the sound of silence, if it’s only silence I hear.
I’ve performed in the most extreme circumstances and never lost my ground.
And I did it again. Tonight, I listened to all the mistakes, no feeling in the orchestra, no richness in the details, no SOUL. And yet, I performed and ripped myself from the inside out dancing to my own “internal music”.
When what I HEAR is not good enough, I invent my own music inside of my head and dance to it. It has saved me several times.

The audience didn’t seem to notice anything wrong. The Lord be praised for my audiences, the sweetest of ALL.

The after shows:

The same replacement musicians who thought of themselves as direct descendants of Beethoven, had the dream that I would keep them in the orchestra from this point on. They made their best efforts, despite the poor results.
When they knew that I didn’t want them to continue working with me, they exploded in a rage bad mouthing me and trying to know the “reason” why I didn’t wish them to work with me continuously.

“Were they not good enough for me?!” – they asked.
I gasped and looked at them in awe, tired from the night’s shows, trying to figure out what sins I am being punished for while dealing with these characters.

Because the chief of the orchestra is sick (he’s the one who makes the bridge between me and the orchestra), musicians give themselves the right to speak directly to me, coming to knock at my backstage room every five minutes with requests, complaints and comments that add very little to the quality of our work.
Having, currently, in my hands the management of an orchestra of 14 egyptian musicians (with all their specific treats), it can be a maddening task to listen to all of them and yet there’s no choice because the chief of the band is absent.

At this point, I had a rare and huge headache and a sudden urge to arrive home, turn off my mobile, take a hot shower, go to sleep and dream away from the world.
I couldn’t take it anymore.

Then, to give the night a great ending, I caught a cab on my way home that took my already wasted nerves into new hights.
The guy looked strange and pale like a worm from the cabbages. He wore thick glasses that I think gave him the ability to see into Israel’s hiding chambers and I knew there was something completely off about this person from the moment I looked at him.
I could have followed my intuition and caught another taxi but I didn’t. I was too tired for it.

He glanced at me and my Egyptian assistant the whole way and I asked him what he was looking at most of the times I noticed it. He dismissed my accusations as if they never existed.
I thought how tired I was and how I would handle this guy in case we reached a “punching” situation. My assistant, as most Egyptian women in these cases, is useless. They expect a man to defend them and, if I am around, I am the man. That’s my “karma”, I guess… So, it would be a one on one duel. I was prepared for it.

We arrived home safely, thanks God, and we left the taxi when I noticed that he didn’t leave and just stared at us while we went away on my building’s direction.
I looked back and there he was, still staring at us from his taxi without any intention to move on.
And again I failed to follow my intuition who told me to just keep walking and forget about the weirdo. I didn’t.
I was too irritated and I guess I had to throw it on someone.
I returned to the spot of the taxi and looked inside it asking what was going on for him to keep staring at us and not leave. He didn’t answer.
It was when I noticed that he was masturbating using me and my assistant as arousal material. Yuck…yuck…yuck…a thousand times. How sick are these men?!

The “funniest” thing is that he was doing it in front of my home and parallel to a bunch of polices who laughed really hard when I went to them – in an act of stupid “innocence” – telling them about the situation.
Not only they didn’t act upon it as they laughed on my face.
What were two women doing in a taxi, alone (with no man, they meant), at 2.30h in the morning? No respectable woman would be caught in the street at that time of the night! So PAY FOR IT!
This was the message I received.

I run to the car and punched it and kicked it hard until the pervert left.
I couldn’t feel the pain in my wrists or legs and I know now – by the CURRENT pain I am indeed feeling – that I hit the car really hard.

The hidden sorrows:

On my first chance to be alone, I burst into a deep crying ritual (very rare these days) coming God knows from which part of my soul. I would never allow one of my co-workers to see me cry or the police or even a pervert disguised as a taxi driver. That would give them way too much pleasure. Around here, the weaknesses of a lady like me are meant to be kept inside of four walls with myself as unique witness.
After all the crying was done, something inside of me had been washed and renewed and I fell asleep in peace.
The next morning I was ready for the battle fields, once more.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Cairo, the 16th October, 2009

“Weird things about me ( which Egypt has helped create or enhance!)”

It’s known to anybody to has ever met me for five minutes:
I am a totally “out of the box” kind of person.

It’s not even something I cultivate or cherish though it’s stronger than my will. Being an alien is part of my nature and I know for a fact that “education” or, should I call it, domestication against nature never worked with me.
My mum always knew what she was talking about when she called me a wild horse or the “daughter of a gipsy” (terms that were supposed to impart a slight critic but always sounded just great to my ears).

I often wish I was more “normal”, I wish I fit into this material crazy world expects from me, I wish I was a little more stupid and less sensitive and even correspond to the image most people have of myself. A bit of normality, please…so that I wouldn’t feel like a fairy for most of my life.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE WEIRD THINGS ABOUT ME (which Egypt has helped create or enhance!):

1. I have become supersticious since I ‘ve arrived to Egypt which is something strange coming from a sceptic and often rational person like me. After having contact with the effective power of envy and even witchcraft, I have learnt since then that protecting myself from it is as important as an health insurance.
As my spiritual Mothers well know, I am a kind witch myself and I’m protected – Thanks God – against external evilness but the ones around me – maybe weaker or simply unaware – are the ones who pay for it (plus the downside of all evilness you send or do to others that, ultimately, returns to you like a boomerang).

2. I don’t own a television. I’ve never been a television addict but I have reached a point – when I moved to Egypt and then, to my new house and by myself – that all superficial, empty gadgets that fill most people’s empty lives make no sense in mine.
I listen to no radio. I see no television or read magazines/newspapers with the “small news” about celebraties and such. When I want to know about a specific subject, I search for it on the internet and spare myself the mental garbage most people consume on a daily basis.

3. I didn’t become a “shisha” lover ( the water pipe so common in Arabic Countries and seen all over Egypt in coffee-shops and restaurants) and I simply hate all kinds of drugs and cigars, EXCEPT for a high quality Cuban cigar (“Romeu e Julieta” is one of my favourite “cubanitos”) shared with the right person.
Smoking a great “cubanito” is not a lonely pleasure for me. It has to be shared with a man, never a woman (I have no idea why!) and the possible list includes:
My man (my love).
A good male friend who understand the subtleness of a “cubanito”’s flavour, texture and odour. A very special man, for sure.
If the Cuban cigar and the companion are inserted into a “Salsa” night, the cherry just lands on the top of the cake.

4. I am a compulsive reader who never starts devouring her current book without smelling it to the core first (weird, weird, weird…I know!). The pleasure of smelling books (an often disturbing one to occasional observers) is an old one but the compulsive way of my current reading – another courtesy of Egypt or effect it had on me – is something extraordinary and, I admit, weird.
I read in the bathtub, in the elevator, taxis, while walking in the street, pretty much everywhere. Books – in Portuguese, Spanish and French – have become a source of evasion, pleasure and endless fountain from which bits of knowledge and LIGHT pour into my mind, heart and SOUL.

5. I became a bigger and stronger admirer of women even – or because of – when I see how the feminine side of society is still treated like a second class of humanity created by God to SERVE the man, his needs, desires and will.
By contrast, I have become a full supporter of all feminine causes and, obviously, an even greater fan of Oriental Dance – or my dear BELLY DANCE – which is the major example of ALL that a woman should not be, according to local (and even international) standards:

Powerful from within (not the kind of temporary, weak, illusory power of most men in this world but a power that comes from her spirit and pride in her body and soul);

Sensual from the her core and to herself (not to seduce or please any man);

Creative and independent in her choices (she’s totally herself and what she expresses is what she REALLY thinks and feels and not what her father, brother, husband or society tells her to think);

Sensitive, emotional and feminine and yet strong and in control of herself and her environment.

Egypt, with all its fascinating treats and contradictions, with all its condemnations towards my ART has enabled me to LOVE and RESPECT even more Oriental Dance and ALL that it represents.

6. I drink tea ALL the time. Water and tea. Tea and Water (EVIAN, EVIAN…this enterprise should sponsor my shows!).
This habit also came from Portugal but was maximized in this country by the force of availability and traditions. Egyptians drink black coffee – often Turkish coffee much appreciated by “coffee lovers” from all the world plus my mum – and tea all the time.
Like most of them, I also don’t drink anything with alcohol but, unlike most of them, not for religious or moral reasons. I simply hate the smell and taste of alcohol like the one of common cigars or any kind of drugs. My body says NO to those and I listen to it. Simple as that.

7. I question everything and make uncomfortable questions. This is seen as “weird” by most people around here. A woman, and specially, a DANCER is not supposed to think so much and “bother” men and their structured reality with questions that expose incongruence and ignorance.
I have been told by an Arabic man whom I considered intelligent and educated that “I had to think and agree with him because…TCHAN TCHAN TCHAN TCHAN… HE’S THE MAN!”
This is not fiction, it’s reality indeed and I lived in on my skin.

I am accustomed to be taken as a “dumb blond” for a long time and that has been used – by me, the dumb one – in my favour more often than I would like to admit.
Listening to me talking about any subject – besides cloths and make-up which seems to be the main subject in local women’s minds – has been, I have been told, some of the most shocking (and, sometimes, interesting) experiences most men has had when meeting an alien like me.

I am, simultaneously, extremely emotional and rational although these seem to be antagonists. I speak my mind off and never allow anyone to disrespect me or fail my dignity on any level. That has cost me LOTS of troubles and enemies everywhere (never forget I am a “RAKASAH/DANCER”) but I don’t seem to be able or even wish to change.
I am proud of myself.

8.There must be so many other weird treats about me but my consciousness cannot grasp anything more for today. Will keep you posted in case any other weird feature comes to light.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cairo, the 13th October, 2009

“Discovering the Great Nawal El Saadawi and other arab feminists”

I´ve said this a thousand times before and cannot stop myself from repeating it: one of the greatest things about Oriental Dance – or Belly Dance, as it is commercially known – is that it opens DOORS to so many other interesting and ESSENTIAL subjects not only connected to women but to the world and, even further, to the Universe.

“Common” people and even “professionals” of all levels fail to grasp the depth of this dance and take it as simple sport or cultural/performative activity (at its best!), not allowing themselves to enjoy or pass out to others the whole “picture” and the mind/spirit/heart opening this ancient ART enables.

One of the great women I came in contact with in my constant research connected to Oriental/Belly Dance and Women´s creativity and Empowerment is
Nawal El Saadawi (please search for her books and google her on the internet and find a tremendous treasure in this lady/warrior).
No other readings or personal contact has filled me with such joy and extra energy than the one I am presently living right now.
Egypt has had some famous – and well punished – feminists and, knowing local prejudices and social pressures as I know around here – all I can do is admire these women that risked their lives to defend what they knew it was their born right: DIGNITY and FREEDOM.

I am overwhelmed and excited while discovering one more pearl in this endlessly rich country…
To know more about the subject, I suggest you may also check on this book:

“Men, Women and God(s)” by Fedwa Malti-Douglas
Cairo, the 11th October, 2009

“Salsa night at “Stilleto” and Billie Holiday”

Listening the my very own new jazz and soul goodies while dancing in my under wear around all the corners of my home.
This was the Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald day. I sang along with them, got their vibes and prepared for a great night of Salsa (hysterical dance, as called by a fascinating man I´ve recently met).

Still holding to Tony Bennett´s “Fly me to the moon (in other words)” because it´s just so good…when he throws those first two words (“flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy me………”) the whole song is defined and already solved. I wouldn´t need anything more from that song to get “the point”. I totally got it and I do, indeed, fly to the moon when I hear those first notes. Great Tony Bennett. Only GREAT singers can do this.

Am I too crazy or too much of an artistic sponge?! Everything seems to affect me deeply…touch me in some place. Can someone, please (PLEASE) explain me how to become a little more insensitive?! That would be so refreshing and relaxing…ahhh…to be a normal, insensitive rock for a while. A dream…
Being too human is damn tiring. I´m a little sick of it.

I would appreciate a fast feed-back from my readers. Thank you very much (what would I do without you?).

Cairo, the 10th October, 2009

“ The bothering FACTOR…plus belly laughs from great funny books”

- Do you think Oriental Dance will eventually die in Egypt? – Asked me my dear friend who didn´t seem aware of the question´s difficulty over an early breakfast (too early for these hard questions!)

- Well, it all depends on Politics. – I answered briefly hoping for her to get my point and quit the subject.
She looked at me as if waiting for a development and I couldn´t escape.

- In any country where most people are still illiterate and the cultural level is about as high as temperatures in North Pole, people´s mentality are shaped by what the Governments and life´s hardships tells them is RIGHT and WRONG.
This is the case in Egypt. Muslim Brotherhood, as opposed to Hosny Mubarak dominant party, has been the most powerful force in the country for over several decades. They had the sources (money, money, money injected by who knows whom) to build a charity strategy that overwhelmed poor people
( the massive voting quote, the most ignorant part of population and also the ones who need more help) and have convinced them – slowly but surely – that an extreme Islamic view of society would solve all their problems and provide essential answers to the main philosophical questions of our time.
Dear ignorance.

Mosques and hospitals have been build by these “underground” soldiers of extremist Islam. Schools, all kinds of charitable activities and a strong religious propaganda that blames “secular” Governments for all the faults, depravation and misery in Egypt.
I would suggest these propagandists a looksie at Saudi Arabia and the incredible results of an extremist religious government ( corruption, depravation, prostitution, ignorance, under the table orgies and general promiscuity ). An example to follow, for sure.

Oriental Dance is in the antipodes of all what religious extremists consider “hallal” or according to God´s will and approved actions.
So I guess Oriental Dance situation in this country is totally connected by the political power ruling the country. Let´s pray these guys never come to full power, otherwise dancers and all artists are “screwed”!


- But why do you think Oriental Dance bothers so much and is seen in such a negative way until today?” – She still asked me waiting for more of my UN conference and thus testing my theory that great women, as her, can often be celebrated masochists.
- Well… Oriental Dance brings to the world a very uncomfortable and misunderstood concept: the Sacred Sexuality of Women.

I never considered it as a sexually charged dance for many reasons.
I´ve been a dancer from the age of 4 years old and all my life I´ve dealt with my body in a very practical, creative and healthy way. Plus I have learnt this dance from incredible masters who taught me BEAUTY much beyond any sexual or emotional fault we may carry.
There´s also a deep feeling of knowledge about this art right there inside me where ALL is LIGHT and INTELLIGENCE.
I JUST KNOW THIS IS A HIGH ART, I just know it (as I know God exists without having to prove it).

- Oriental Dance puts in evidence an eternal power of creation and destruction coming from women´s body and its deepest sources and fountains. It´s a Sacred Sexuality, a concept that Hindu culture has tried to cultivate over the centuries but the world never quite accepted or understood.
People cannot explain exactly why they feel seduced/repulsed/fascinated/disturbed/amazed/CONFUSED by Oriental Dance but they react to it and look upon it with a careful, strange look as if they were admiring a wild, dangerous animal that allures them (like a dancing Medusa) but can bite them at any given moment.
Something not understood and not to be trusted.

- This is the Dance of the Eternal Orgasm…permanent ecstasy, celebration of Life in all its colours. It´s just TOO much to take. It´s an ART built upon TOTALITY –of breath, feelings, soul, LIFE – and that concept is just way to advanced for people to fully accept it.

At this point, I had an appointment and had to leave. There it stood my friend, finishing her already cold cappuccino. My friend stood there, disappointed by my sudden departure and asking for more (beautiful, sweet masochist, masochist, masochist).

Sudden and happy subject change: BOOKS that will give you belly laughs:

“Funny in Farsi” and “Laughing without an Accent”, both books by the same author, Firoozeeh Dumas

Ohh…what would the world be without music and laughter (both so similar in their natures and secondary effects)?!
I am a compulsive joker (all my family and close people know that often painful and irritating truth). It´s a genetic matter (from my father´s side) and it seems that I got a big, fat, strong willed gene to go along the way surviving to everything with constant jokes and laughing holding my hand. I carry this paternal curse of constant joke making as a throne I am not able to renounce to.
Thanks God (sorry to all the dear people who have to endure my constant joking on them, on me and everything that moves).

So these two books from Firoozeeh Dumas are MUST picks to anyone who enjoys the cultural differences and their funniest bits. I just LOVE a lady with a sense of humour and this author is part of my club. Love her!
Proving, once more, that differences between religions, cultures and mentalities are not to be taken so seriously because what unite us is stronger and more important than what separate us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cairo, the 12th October, 2010

"Some of my loves...filling me, protecting me from close and far..."

Love and constant learning is the real fuel of my work and, ultimately, of my life.

I am a tough cookie to crack (even or specially when I look smooth and foolish to others which fits my interests more than they can deduce) but, deep inside, I live for love and get stronger from it.

Some people live up to compliments and illusions. Some even live up from lies and gossiping/bad mouthing others (what a stupid waste of time!).

I am aware and thankful of my success - actually, I thank God every day for it - but I am also conscious that the ones who REALLY love me are the greatest treasure I possess in my life. Here are some bits of my heart. Just some...

Cairo, the 12th October, 2009

“ Masters and Apprentices”

I’ve soon found out that there is no difference between giving and receiving – two faces of the same coin – and, even less, between masters and apprentices.
The whole concept of a master – the one who holds the knowledge – and an apprentice – the ignorant who receives that knowledge – has seemed, for quite some time, an illusion to me.

We’re all masters and apprentices of each other and the one who presumes to hold the throne of Knowledge above anyone else denounces himself as the most ignorant.
Some times, you are the one who holds the strength to pull someone else up and lift him and, another times, you’re the beggar laying helpless in the gutter of your spirit asking for a loving, compassionate hand to lift you up. We’re nothing but ONE running in ups and downs throughout life. No one belongs ONLY “Up City” and no one belongs only in “Down There City”.

Knowing that, here it is another piece of “Food for the Soul” from one of my favourite eternal entertainers, Michael Jackson (a genius of a kind but also a very confused, lost person with some Lights that prove my express made theory: we’re ALL LIGHT AND DARKNESS, Masters and Apprentices).
Here we go:

“It’s curious what takes courage and what doesn’t. When I step out on stage in front of thousands of people, I don’t feel that I am being brave. It can take much more courage to express true feelings to one person. When I think of courage, I think of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. He was always running away from danger. He often cried and shook with fear. But he was also sharing his real feelings with those he loved, even though he didn’t always like those feelings.

That takes real courage. The courage to be intimate. Expressing your feelings is not the same as falling apart in front of someone else – it’s being accepting and true to your heart, whatever it may say. When you have the courage to be intimate, you know who you are, and you’re willing to let others see that. It’s scary, because you feel so vulnerable, so open to rejection. But without self-acceptance, the other kind of courage, the kind heroes show in movies, seems hollow. In spite of the risks, the courage to be honest and intimate opens the way to self-discovery. It offers what we all want, the promise of love.”

“Allah aleik, ya sidi! (If you don’t speak Arabic, ask any Egyptian what this means cause I have no need to translate it right now).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cairo, the 10th October, 2009

"Still fighting the "Evil Eye" PLUS CSA intimate show, big wedding and "Nile Maxim" restarting season...lots on my mind"

"Evil eye is a look that is believed by many cultures to be able to cause injury or bad luck on the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike. The term also refers to the power, superstitiously attributed to certain persons, of inflicting injury or bad luck by such a look.
The idea that the term (which has been around for over a millennium)[1] denotes causes many cultures to pursue protective measures against it. The concept and its significance vary widely among different cultures."

From wikipedia

So far, the evil eye is reaching everybody around me - the closest ones- but not me -God be blessed. If one of my best friends - also an experienced astrologer - was here, she would say that "of, course, you´re protected"...A kind of a benevolent witch that reflects evilness on the sender like an ironic boomerang...the ones who try to "screw me" (forgive me the poetry), end up naturally screwed up themselves while I watch and move forward.

Thank you, God!

The sick musicians and assistant are still sick. Praying for them.

As far as I´m concerned, it has been a crazy return.
A fast CSA (the Institute where I teach Oriental Dance) show, a big, fun and messy wedding and my "Nile Maxim" challenges- shows - restarting at full energy and inspiration.
I have a question here: "Why do I always have so much fun performing in egyptian weddings but am never allowed to actually DANCE which is the job I am being paied for?!"
I leave this question to all of you to consider (the ones who are interested which I suspect are a very meager percentage of readers).
The dance floor was invaded by the sweetest bride and groom and virtually ALL the family and guests - and even staff of the hotel - in the wedding. If I had had space to move a finger, I would have been lucky but...not the case.
The extreme situation got to a point when I displaced one of my percussionists from his chair and stood up on it doing all my tabla solo on the chair.
Did I set fire to the party?!
Well, YES!´
Did I had fun and gave joy to the people in the wedding (and flies, mosquitos and buffet appetizers)?!
Damn, I did!
Did I dance?!
No. :(
If I am a dancer and I am not allowed to dance, it should be frustrating but, most amazingly, I had so much fun that frustration was erased. If only this time...
Is my artistic sense disappearing? HEEEEELLLLLPPPPPP!:)
Oh, I am happy!!!
Plus, me discovering Tony Bennett at home singing "Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars..." (simply AMAZING), Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, all the american goodies.
Because Oriental Dance is not only about Oriental Music and food for the soul comes from varied sources, all the time.
Thanking God for ALL the protection and blessings and preparing for a great Salsa night with cuban cigars and friends!YES!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cairo, the 8th October, 2009

“ The effects of the evil eye and the official proclamation:
Oriental Dance is even better than a great orgasm”

The day started really, really bad…
I’ve been warned and warned 1000 times by egyptians – as well as arabs - about the famous, ancient and oh so national “Evil Eye” and its effects and yet I always forget about it and show myself too much, share too much and with everyone (not even thinking about the possibility of some envy or bad faith from anyone).
I should learn the difficult and useful art of “KEEPING MY MOUTH SHUT”.
How hard can it be, for God’s sake?! Just shut the…up and spare yourself lots of envy and troubles.

I swear I am working on it from right NOW. It’s a survival question.
I DO GET THAT, thank you very much.

Sudden show booking for lunch time (not my favourite because it mixes early day mood and homogenous groups of tourists more interested in taking photos and eating than in watching the show).
Also the first show I will present upon my arrival. Not my new program…
I feel frustrated.
Anxious to present my new stuff to my audiences.

Well, it’s work.
Let’s do it.

First tough point of the day:
My assistant fell sick during the night and cannot come to work today.
Well, I can survive…”Don’t be such a spoilt brat”, I say to myself.

Second tough point of the day:
My driver – recovered from Ramadan abstinence – also fell sick during the night and left me, literally, hanging on the street begging for any passing by taxi to take me to work already late! Being in the street in full make-up and hair with a huge suitcase and a dance stick is not a dream situation for any woman who dislikes being harassed and bothered. People’s imagination flies – due to repression, repression, repression – and all they see is a prostitute going to “work” with a bag full of goodies and a stick to spank a weird client.

Got the damned taxi.
Arrived at work stressed and carrying my own bags, Saiidi stick (“Assaya”) and supplementary bags all on my own. I’m not used to this anymore. L

Third and fourth tough points of the day:

As soon as I arrived, I got informed that my two main musicians (on the melody section of the orchestra) got sick during the night.
Is there anyone who DIDN’T get sick during the night? Did all my staff secretly got together in a restaurant last night and ate rotten “kebab” or something of the kind?

Did I get sick during the night and simply forgot? All Cairo got sick during the night?!
What the hell is happening here?!

Now let me explain this “small drama”.
There is the emotional question of the situation. I do LOVE my musicians.
I am blessed to have great artists as well as great gentlemen working with me (I can’t work with people I personally dislike). We have built a relation of mutual respect and tenderness and I get all teary and sad if I know anyone from my “musical family” is in hospital or with any problem I can sense.

As I hear the details of both hospitalizations my eyes start to get full of tears ( I am the easiest laughter and the easiest crying baby ) and I fight against the tides inside me not wanting to show any emotion that is taken as a weakness by the other musicians who watch me with full attention.
I control myself – I’m already well trained at it – and refuse to let emotions flow out of me.
I need solutions now. That’s what really matter. Working on solutions and never getting lost in emotions. Egypt has taught me a few things.

There is also the practical, professional problem in the moment.
No time to get substitutes for the missing musicians.
The musicians that are missing are the ORGUE (chief of the orchestra) and the ACCORDEON which are two pillars of the melodic body of the orchestra.
Besides these two, I have a violin (kamanga) and a “k’anun” but these instruments follow the songs with details and enhancements and I know they’re not enough to build the musical background we need for 1 hour show.
I breath deeply and know that God is with us (although, some times, He seems to vanish).

There is a solution, there’s ALWAYS a solution.

I immediately mobilize the whole orchestra (melodic and percussive body) and we do a fast rehearsal where I think I lost my ears. Until now, my ears must still be there laying on the floor, exhausted. I’ve never made such an effort to orchestrate a full hour show in a quick rehearsal.
The instruments that are used to “sleep” over the orgue and the accordion had to wake up and work in unison to compensate for the absent ones. I asked them which songs they knew better and also to replace many of the details with basic melodic structures that are essential to build some sense in the songs we’ll perform.

I was nervous and more stressed than ever. What a “reentre”, dear Lord!
Does a terrible beginning mean a great season?!
I hold on to that positive superstition in order not the demoralize and pray for a great audience to compensate for it all.

Now this is when I know God is on my side!

I danced for myself and for the world. What else could go wrong?!
Me, loosing my skirt or bra on stage (it already happened and I survived)?
One of the musicians taking off his pants and doing acrobatic strange movements on stage "a la Cirque du Soleil”? I would manage it with my eyes closed.
Me, falling on my “derriere” during a crazy spin (also happened more than once and the world kept moving forward)?
I expected everything and anything. Prepared for the fight and the possible and impossible absurd stuff that only seem to happen to ME (Why?Why?).

When you think you have it all, you fall on your face.
When you think everything is going terribly, God hands a sweet to your lips and you regain faith in life once again.
We need to stay humble and give our best, always. No matter the circumstances.

This is my lesson for this day.

I just had the greatest time of all doing my final “tabla solo” and, may I say, I OFFICIALY AFFIRM THAT ORIENTAL DANCE CAN BE BETTER THAN A GREAT ORGASM. I even bit myself on the lips…outch!
YES!!! Thank you, God.

I’ve always said that there was nothing better in the world that a great orgasm with someone you love. An orgasm coming from a relationship where mutual love, passion and spiritual connection is there! Ahhhh…nothing better. Or so I thought. Until today.
After that orgasm as my Number 1 Pleasure, it came DANCING (sorry, dancers of the world but this had always been my number 2 on the pleasure scale).
Today, the order of the Universe – my Universe – got twisted and inverted.
Dancing can be, indeed, better than a GREAT ORGASM.
How can I describe it? Well, you must know what I’m speaking about.

It took me quite a while to recover from that “stage orgasm” and I never felt so good about being on stage. This is it! Looking for it again and again…(my new addiction and utopia, reaching my “stage orgasm” every time I perform).
I am already a demanding lover. Now I have become a demanding “stage lover”.
Does this make any sense?!
One more thing to reach for (besides being a better person and artist). Maybe the “thing” that defines everything else.
Is there anything better than reaching full presence, pleasure and spiritual awakening on stage?! Anything higher than this?!
I don’t think so.

NOTE to the attention of Sexologists and psychologists of the world:
Nothing better in the world…

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cairo, the 4th October, 2009

"New challenges upon my most difficult Cairo return"

Oh, my heart is not in Cairo. This home coming back was the hardest one, so far...

O.k, enough drama and romantic little tragedies!

Here´s what you should follow in Cairo, as far as I´m concerned:)


1. Preparing my brand new and totally CRAZY new show for the great "Nile Maxim" (near Marriott Hotel, Zamalek).

Programing, rehearsals with dancers and musicians and new cloths.

An also brand new microfone for me to ....SING! The terror...I am being pushed to sing more and more and it´s really scaring me (which is a great sign, isn´t it?! Isn´t it?!)

Excited and stressed. That´s who I am and I just arrived to Cairo. Just a while ago...

Oh, God...I need an urgent massage (fancy, fancy, fancy!).

CALL "NILE MAXIM", ZAMALEK for infos or ask me about it through the
Or call "NILE MAXIM" reservations: 002 - 012 73 88888 / 002-010 73 88888/
002 - 011 73 88888

2. Another show - nothing to do directly with Oriental Dance - that I absolutely have to do. This show was born from a magical encounter with a great man and it was asked to become truth in a dream I had at night. And yes, I am quite insane (just in case you were wondering, by now...).

3.Regular Oriental Dance and Egyptian Folclore classes in Cairo from the 5th October ahead at CSA INSTITUTE, MAADI (21st Street, number 4) - more infos through CSA ( 010 382 96 38 or email: )
Schedule for regular classes (from the 5th October):
Mondays from 12.30h till 13.30h - Beginners Oriental Dance Class
Wednesdays from 12.30h till 13.30h - Intermediate Oriental Dance Class
Tuesdays evening from 7.00h pm till 8.00h pm - Beginners Oriental Dance Class
Tuesdays evening from 8.00h pm till 9.00h pm - Intermediate Oriental Dance Class
4. Egyptian Night at the CSA on the 7th October (starting at 17.30h) with EGYPTIAN DINNER, INTIMATE SHOW OF JOANA S.(live egyptian music), dance video-clip show and open conference about Oriental Dance and Egyptian Culture.
For infos and bookings, please contact:
5. Still working on my books to publish. Please, God! HELP ME. I never thought it would be so hard to give birth to a book.

6. My first collection of dance dresses is almost ready. Wait for some shots of it here in my BLOG. Coming soon...:)

I´m still dizzy from the long treap and my sudden arrival. Promise to keep updating this BLOG with news as much as I can.

Welcome to Cairo! (I´m saying to myself)