Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cairo, the 28th November, 2009

“The GREAT NEWS for you ALL to follow”

2009 was a year of GREAT transformation for me. It was not an easy year, that´s for sure, but it was a very productive one both personal and professionally.

I´ve finally learnt how to erase what doesn´t bring something positive to my life and grew immensely as an artist and as a person. I am so proud of myself…
2010 will be the savouring of the fruits I have planted so far.
This I know for sure.


1. New Year´s Eve show at the “NILE MAXIM”, Cairo.
Great honour to present such an important show in a place with a tradition of amazing dancers. Me, my orchestra and dancers doing what we do best!

I will be performing at Maxim's during the whole month of December and locking up this year with an amazing new show at NEW YEAR'S EVE.

For reservations, please call:
-002 - 012 73 88888

- 002- 011 73 88888

- 002 - 010 73 88888

- 002 - 02 273 88888

2. Another honour: Being the invited artist and teacher from Cairo of the Oriental Dance Festival in Colombia - LATIN ARABIAN - on the 30th April, 1st and 2nd May, 2010 (Latin America, here I come!).

Workshops and shows with live orchestra from Cairo (see further details in ulterior post).
I´m looking forward to teach my new choreographies and finally bring a bit of the Cairo magic to the world performing with live band in a show I wouldn´t advise you to miss…:)

For detailed infos, please follow the links:

Luz Betty 30 November at 20:19
Hola Divina ...apenas veo el mensaje...estaba de todas maneras te cuento y los grupos de facebook relacionados son:


3. One of my articles published in this month OASIS magazine in Cairo (December edition). Spreading the word, the truth, the art and the love through all possible means.

4. My treap to India. Searching for more and more inspiration to my work and life. This will be a MAGIC treap.

5. Regular Oriental Dance classes at CSA Institute (Maadi, Cairo) starting from the 6th January, 2010.
For detailed informations, please contact me through the email:

6. Regular shows – 2010 season – at the “Nile Maxim”, Cairo.
This next year promises to be the greatest of all so far…I have never felt so inspired and pregnant with creativity, ideas and love. In case you´re in Cairo during the next year, you DO NOT WANT TO MISS one of my shows at the “Nile Maxim”.
For reservations, please call the already mentioned contacts.

7. Updated BLOG “Diary of Egypt” telling about the troubles and wonders of a Dancer in Egypt…check the comments, videos, photos and much more, all available at:

8. Updated news, photos and videos weekly updated at my FaceBook Page (Search for Joana Saahirah in the FaceBook).

8. More News will follow as I know for a fact 2010 will be MY YEAR (and the Year of all of Us…don´t want to be greedy here…).

Cairo, the 28th November, 2009

"Joana at the Magnificent Latin Arabian Festival -30th April, 1st and 2nd May 2010"

I am very excited and proud to announce that I will be one of the invited artists/teachers to cooperate in a great event in Colombia, Latin America!
Here are some general infos about the event both in english and in spanish (spanish version in BOLD and YELLOW)
From my side, I promise the BEST workshops ever and also the best performance I can pull. Join us and check it out!

PRESENTACION LATIN ARABIAN /Presentation of Latin Arabian

2010 Abril 30 Mayo 1 y 2 Medellín -Colombia /
On the 30th April, 1 and 2nd May in Medellin, Colombia

Es Un Festival Internacional de Arte, Cultura y Tradiciones del Medio Oriente..Es La Primera vez que se realizara un Evento de tal Magnitud en el País!!! /

This is an International Festival of Art, Culture and Traditions of the Middle East...It's the first time that Colombia sees an event of such dimension happening!!!

Son tres Días llenos de Actividades Maravillosas, Talleres de Danza, Shows con Música en Vivo, orquesta, Cantante Árabe, Competencias en las Diferentes categorías de la Danza, Niveles y Géneros./

There will be three days full of wonderful activities, Dance Workshops, Shows with live music, orchestra, arabic singer, competitions in different dance cathegories, levels and styles.

Participación de las mejores Academias y Bailarines, y como Artistas e Invitados Especiales: /

Participation of the best Academies and Dancers and, as Special Invited Artists:

Desde Egipto: El mejor percusionista y Maestro de todos los Tiempos Khamis Henkesh y Su Hijo Ahmed Henkesh…./

From Egypt: The best percussionist and teacher of all times, Khamis Henkesh and his son, Ahmed Henkesh...

El Maestro y Artista Árabe mas solicitado del mundo Occidental y Gran Exponente del Folclor Egipcio Mohammed El Sayed, /

The most requested teacher and arabic artist in the Western world and great exponent of Egyptian Folclore Mohamed El Sayed, /

El Magnifico cantante Sabri Taghian y su Orquesta,/

The magnificent singer Sabri Taghian and his orchestra,/

La espectacular Maestra y Bailarina Portuguesa Radicada en Egipto Joana Saahira , /

The spectacular portuguese teacher and dancer radicated in Egypt Joana Saahirah of Cairo

(that would be ME!:)

La Espectacular Maestra Y Bailarina Persa Talin Linuwet,/

The spectacular persian teacher and dancer Talin Linuwet,/

Desde Grecia con su esplendida Danza La Diva Unaneyia y muchos de Nuestros Artistas y Maestros Latinoamericanos más afamados ,./

From Greece with her splendid Dance of the Diva, Unaneyia and many of our most famous teachers in Latin America, /

También contamos con la Participación de Grandes exponentes de la Cultura , Arte, Historia y Religión, Intelectuales que nos deleitaran con su conocimiento en Conferencias y Simposios,.... Muestras gastronómicas, Fashion Shows donde se expondrán las Artes manuales de los Diseñadores de trajes y Bazar con Artesanías y Accesorios Orientales. /

Besides the classes and the shows, there will be conferences, gastronomical events, fashion shows and exposure of a wide sort of Oriental articles.

For detailed infos:

Saharni Company (Organization)

Telef: 057 4 312 04 00

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cairo, the 28th November, 2009

"What ALL dancers should know by now..."

"Listening is one of the basic secrets of entering into the temple of God. Listening means passivity. Listening means forgetting yourself completely - only then can you listen. When you listen attentively to somebody, you forget yourself. If you cannot forget yourself, you never listen. If you are too self-conscious about yourself, you simply pretend that you are listening - you dont listen. You may nod your head; you may sometimes say yes and no, but you are not listening. When you listen, you become just a passage, a passivity, a receptivity, a womb: you become feminine. And to arrive one has to become feminine. You cannot reach God as aggressive invaders, conquerors. You can reach God only...or it will be better to say God can reach you only when you are receptive, a feminine receptivity. When you become yin, a receptivity, the door is open - and you wait. Listening is the art for becoming passive. "
by Osho

Cairo, the 27th November, 2009

“ Unforgettable moments with my dearest Mahmoud Reda”

I’ve often said it here and everywhere. My friendship and unique connection with Mahmoud Reda ( founder of the famous “Reda Troupe” and one of the dance genius in the world) goes beyond anything people can imagine. There are improbable friendships as there are improbable love affairs between people nobody would imagine there would be a spark.

For the outside world, Mahmoud is the BIG master of Egyptian Folklore and one of the most respected teachers in the world (as well as a beloved artist in Egypt), for me…well…hard to define.
I recognize his artistic relevance though I put his human value ahead of the first.
I see a loving friend who deeply cares for me. I also see an art companion who understands my love for dance and my doubts. I see a beloved grandfather who’s patient, benevolent and tremendously generous with me at all times.
I see my dear friend with whom I can speak just about anything and a man more than 50 years older than me but so close to me I could swear he’s exactly the same age as I am.


Mahmoud has always been a choreographer and someone who advised me and taught me to use my head – not only my feeling and soul – while dancing.
50% head, 50% feeling soul. That seems to be a great formula easy to refer and difficult to put into practice but…I try!

He was the one who first stimulated and pushed me to choreograph and he’s also the one who loves watching me improvise. For me, it’s not a big deal. Movements flow and gather by themselves when I listen to a song that touches my heart or a special nerve.

On our way home and already in the car, we had the chance to discuss the difference between choreographing (Mahmoud) and improvising(MOI!).
I am an official improviser and choreography comes hard to me. I only do it to teach others or when I have another dancers with me on stage. When I am performing by myself, I improvise 100%. I like to see quick results, beauty made expressly and fastly on the spot. Choreography has another - painfully slow - kick to it. You learn patience, concentration and delayed pleasure.

Here some conclusions we gathered (between crazy cars crossing ahead of us and a mean jazz song playing in the stereo):

1. Improvisation is choreographing on the spot with no chance to choose the best movements for each section of the song, therefore is an emotional work which depends so much on one’s fast reactions and immediate creativity. It also relies on your inspiration (which may be present or not, depending on your mood and other factors).

2. Choreography gives you time to think, therefore it becomes a predominantly mental activity. You choose the best steps for here and there, erase what’s not so good and give yourself the opportunity to research, invent new movements and combinations that are not yet assimilated by your body.
Nothing is spontaneous because you’re looking for movements and forcing your brain to check what’s stored and make the best use of it.

Curiously enough, Mahmoud is a great choreographer and I represent the side of the Improvisers which he admires as an art in itself.

Thanks to his support, little pushes and example, I am feeling really inspired to choreograph more and more. My next challenges will be building new dances to do with my also new dancers for my BIG SHOW at “NILE MAXIM” in the New Year’s Eve and to prepare two brand new pieces to teach in Portugal and Colombia right in the beginning of 2010!

In order to celebrate the ART of GREAT CHOREOGRAPHY, here it is one of my favourite dance scenes made in the cinema with one of my elected dancers of ALL times (Cyd Cherisse).

Follow the link and "know what I mean"...:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cairo, the 26th November, 2009

“The “Aid Kibir” …”zahma, ya dunya zahma…(Ahmed Adaweya song)”

The crowing days of the “Big Feast” (“Aid il Kibir”) are here!
Cairo must be the best city in the world for all kinds of celebrations and Egyptians are the craziest, funniest, out-going kind of people for partying till they drop.
Says the legend that God ordered Ibrahim to kill his own son and he was ready to do it – as a proof of his total faith and submission to God’s Will – when God spared him from this immense sacrifice. Instead of his son, Ibrahim sacrificed a sheep.
The “Big Aid” event was born from this story.

“Lakhma, ya dunya lakhma…(meat, oh life, meat…)” – Me, joking around with Ahmed Adaweya’s song “Zahma, ya dunya Zahma” (“Traffic, oh life, traffic!”)…every where you look there are sheeps ready to be killed very soon.
Traumatizing (for me and for all animal lovers)!

Also very soon enough, the city will be inundated with the sick odour of blood and huge red spots made of animal sacrifice.
For me, this is painful to experience.
For most people who celebrate the Feast (muslim feast), the blood and the red spots symbolize something great. As always, life depends so much on your own perspective. Nothing is REAL or objective.

Families gather, food, company and presents are shared like in “our” Christmas time and the divisions between religions are attenuated (even if imperceptibly for the distracted eyes).

All religions speak about the same THING. I wonder when human beings will start realizing IT.

Cairo, the 25th November, 2009

“Visit to the vet in Maadi”

In a country where there are the cheapest restaurants for the poor and the richest restaurants for the rich, you can also find terrible hospitals like the one I had to visit (“Touch wood!”) for poor people and rich vet clinics for the pets of the rich (or so-so).

Today I took one of my babies to the vet and was impressed with the clinic.
When there is money involved, conditions considerably improve in Egypt, even for animals which are considered a ridiculous luxury when most people are starving.

This was a clinic for posh vets, I tell you!

Not only the place was spotless and well equipped but there were gorgeous paintings of animals from Indonesia and a hotel for pets who left me open mouthed.
Every corner I checked, there was a beautiful animal. For me, as a proclaimed CRAZY ANIMAL LOVER, this was like being a sultan in the middle of a harem full of hot women!

The doctor laughed really hard due to my spontaneous reactions.

I make the most outrageous sounds when I see a beautiful animal, I speak with them (yes, yes…I am crazy, I ‘ve said it a million times before…), kiss them and purr along with all the cats. Watching me in a room full of cats and dogs (lots of kittens, rrrrrrrrrr…….rrrrrrr…..rrrr….rrr….r) is a show in itself.

The baby cat you see in the photo fell asleep on my chest while purring his heart out...Ahhhhhhh! This is as sweet as it gets.

I left the clinic singing the famous rap song “I’ll take you the candy shop…”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cairo, the 25th November, 2009

"Tea for two (at my place or at yours?!)"

The joys and surprises of life in Cairo never cease... it's an endless rollercoaster of madness and strange episodes I cannot even start to understand.

Sinopse of the STORY BOARD:

Time of the plot: 2.00h in the morning, returning home from work.

Place: Taxi, already near from my home.

Main theme: Police man who stopped my taxi in order to take a looksie at me ( just checking the beef, honey!) and invite himself to to my home in the middle of the night.

What the hell happened?!


Police men do constant control to taxis and their users so it's normal that my vehicle is stopped and identification is requested (me, my assistant and the driver's identification).They usually search for drugs, any escape from the law, some money under the table for no reason or "girl checking up". "My" police man chose the last.

My assistant was lacking her ID so we got stuck with the police man in the car until we reach my home and he left the cab with us. I was carrying bags and was anxious to get home so I failed to notice the police man was following us until we reached the elevator of my home.

When I turned and faced the police man he was already preparing to go up with me and my assistant in the elevator. Checking my breasts - even under my heavy jacket - and already dreaming of a "menage a trois" (disgusting, beyond disgusting!) he launched himself into the elevator as if he knew us for centuries.

My hand stopped him right on the his chest.

My voice stopped him because I yelled so high that I think he went deaf.

After he recovered from the shock of my gesture and yelling, I gave him time to breath and asked him:

"-Where do you think you're going?!"

"-I am going up with you."

"- Going up with me to where?! And for what reason?!"

"- Just going with you."


This was my last word or animal shriek or something of the sort.

The police man finally got the message: NO FOREIGN BEEF FOR YOU, MY DEAR.

The next day, I knew that the police man waited for my assistant to come down and followed her home where he invited himself for tea and cookies. Nobody at her home had the guts - or the will - to ask him to leave.

And that's how some beautiful friendships are born in Egypt!

Until now, no identification was requested from my assistant. The cookies must have been really delicious.

How can I NOT love Egypt?!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cairo, the 25th November, 2009

"Sneak preview to my upcoming treap to India"

From all the work and pleasure treaps I have already booked for this upcoming year, I HAVE to bring out INDIA first. This will be a true HAPPENING in my life (I know it, I just know it).

Next February, I have a booked and already confirmed treap to India. This was not one more spiritual journey attempt so common between westerns who have fallen away from their own souls. I know, by now, that any subject related to finding your own soul must be treated on the spot with a single treap within yourself. No geography or airplanes included.

Just a treap between yourself and YOU.

This was JUST a treap I HAD to do for yet unknown specified reasons. I just knew I had to do it.

The treap will cover all the north of India ( classical "Taj Mahal" included) and my treap buddy will be my best friend. Enough said.

In order to start preparing myself for the journey, I am gathering infos, texts, highlights and anything that can shed some useful tips as for the reason why this adventure is happening.

This is what I gathered, so far...

"Now, Mr. Premier, every day thousands of foreigners fly into my country (India) for enlightenment. They go to the Himalayas, or to Benaras, or to Bodh Gaya. They get into weird poses of yoga, smoke hashish, shag a sadhu or two, and they they're getting enlightened.


If it is enlightenment you have come to India for, you people, forget the Ganga - forget the ahsrams - go straight to the National Zoo in the heart of New Delhi."

Piece of text taken from "The White Tiger" by the author Aravind Adiga

Facebook | Joana Saahirah

Cairo, the 24th November, 2009

"One more interview of me on television"

Follow the link:

Facebook Joana Saahirah

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cairo, the 23rd November, 2009

"Osho - a genius of LIGHT able to translate me...I HAVE to LOVE this MAN and "even" his wicked beard!"

"A fool is one who goes on trusting; a fool is one who goes on trusting against all his experience. You deceive him, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you. Then you will say that he is a fool, he does not learn. His trust is tremendous; his trust is so pure that nobody can corrupt it. Be a fool in the Taoist sense, in the Zen sense. Don't try to create a wall of knowledge around you. Whatsoever experience comes to you, let it happen, and then go on dropping it. Go on cleaning your mind continuously; go on dying to the past so you remain in the present, herenow, as if just born, just a babe. In the beginning it is going to be very difficult. The world will start taking advantage of you...let them. They are poor fellows. Even if you are cheated and deceived and robbed, let it happen, because that which is really yours cannot be robbed from you, that which is really yours nobody can steal from you. And each time you don't allow situations to corrupt you, that opportunity will become an integration inside. Your soul will become more crystallized. "


Cairo, the 22nd November, 2009

"Fast recovery, thanks GOD!"

I'm still feeling dizzy and weak.As usual, I totally ignored the doctor's indications to remain at home for three days and stop eating this and that and...couldn't help but return to work.

Yesterday night I danced in a much more relaxed - had no energy for more! - and slower way. That was fine, even better than fine. Not having energy to be tense and overdoing is quite FINE, actually. Desirable for most dancers and I include myself in the group.

While I was on stage, I managed to even forget that a few hours before I had woken up on the floor of my bathroom and was hardly able to walk a few meters by myself.

How did I recover this fast?!

Well, strong medication helped and some mysterious stuff I carry inside me that make me stand up and rise up from all kinds of falls when no one is expecting it. I can only thank GOD!

All weakness/sickness brings a lesson or an alert signal with it. I am aware of that.

I had already established priorities in my life and totally erased the subjects and people who had no quality to be part of my world but it seems there's still some more mental cleaning to do.

I am up to it!

Our energy is renewable but it has to be managed in order not to enter a deficit state (as it happened in my case). Redistributing - even more, even better - my own available energy is my Number 1 MUST DO for now.

Always on the move, always transforming myself.This seems to be the aim of my life.

I'm still on it.

To celebrate my recovery, here are some shots of last night's shows. May I say it was an WONDERFUL night?! May I say nobody even believed I had been so sick a few hours before?!

Thanks, God!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cairo, the 21st November, 2009

“System crash”

All machines crash, even the best ones. Computer experts know it too well.
I am very far from being a computer expert but I do know that, when overcharged, PCs as well as people DO crash.
As much as I like to think of myself as a Super Woman in charge of my world, I am often reminded that I am just human (whom would guess?!).

This morning I woke up in the most compromising position: laying down on my bathroom floor. How did I get there?! Well…that’s another story.

STEP 1: Came from work yesterday night extremely tired and still working on some new ideas, new cloths and “MUST DOS” for what’s next.

STEP 2: Not in the mood to cook, I decided to order my dinner from the vast possibility of choices available in Cairo. You can have everything delivered at your home in this town. Mostly lazy people combined with a nightmare traffic and messy public spaces have build an enormous community of “delivery lovers”. You can have pampers delivered at your door, food, prostitutes, plants, toys, books, vibrators (oh, no...not vibrators!Well...not that I know of...:) , you name it…you can even have a tremendous sickness delivered at your door without even requesting it.
This is the official Delivery Town.

STEP3: I ate my dinner. Took a shower, browsed the net for a little while and fell asleep like an angel only to wake up in the middle of the night throwing up my guts.

STEP4: I spent the whole night throwing up my dinner and, I guess by the look and feel of it, all my past dinners that were not digested. I didn’t know a single human being could throw up this much. The human body is always surprising me.

STEP 5: I threw up for the 10000th time, prepared to return to bed and started to see the bathroom walls moving around my head and my legs failing to hold themselves.
“Ohhhhh, boy!”

STEP 6: There was a space of time I cannot define between the failing legs and me waking up on the bathroom floor asking myself what’s my name and where am I.
The first thing that came to my mind was: “What about my work?! Who will dance tonight?!”

STEP 7: I realized I had fainted and managed to get up and head to bed mobilizing some friends to come and help and the responsibility of assuring someone would cover for me at work tonight. I knew I couldn’t move. Much less dance like a crazy person, as I always do.

STEP 8: Going to a hospital in Cairo. Waw!
This is a hard one to even remember. Every hospitals give me the creeps. I am anti-doctor, anti hospital, anti disease. I enter in a regular hospital as if I was entering a dark cave where I will certainly be eaten by a mongrel.
Now…if you talk about a regular, public hospital in Cairo, the scare grows considerably. Crowds of people more or less treated as cattle, doctors who come and go as they please without order and the sensation of nausea that comes with the smell of these places.
I started seeing the walls of the hospital going round and round and feared I would faint again in the middle of all these strangers. I looked at the marble floor and imagined my face stomping on it hard as it happened in my bathroom in the morning. How can I perform if I hurt my face?!
This was all I thought about.

STEP 9: Courtesy of a nurse who made me pass ahead of a huge line of patients waiting for their turn (being a foreigner makes a difference in these situations, we’re usually taken in consideration more than Egyptians which is a mistake in itself but I was in no condition to argue).
I felt bad and ashamed for allowing myself to just go ahead without consideration for the already waiting people but my health state was so scary that I put my own conscience to rest for a while. No time to be a humanist right now!

STEP 10: Taking heavy medication in order to recuperate fast and eating a terrible soup of rice and carrots advised by my mum as the best remedy for my current state.
Oh, I am also allowed to eat apples. YES!
Praying really hard for me to recover during the night so I am able to do a great job tomorrow. Cancelling another night of work is out of the question.
Asking all the guardian angels to intervene.

STEP 11: Acknowledging that I am a human being and not a super woman and that even my strong system has to crash, once in a while, in order to purify and rebuild itself from the inside out.
I am not a Super Woman after all?!
That sucks!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cairo, the 20th November, 2009

"Hard audiences and new achievements"

Whenever I see an audience full of japanese people I get afraid, VERY AFRAID.

It's true that this people is the sweetest, most delicate and polite of all but , somehow, I don't feel them and they don't seem to feel me or understand me. There's always a fat wall between me and them. We see each other but we cannot penetrate each other's minds or hearts.

It's curious how cultural and mentality barriers inffluence the quality of a show which is part of a specific world. Arabic Dance is...arabic! (A note for the ones who have been distracted till now...No kidding!). Latin people share a few treats with egyptians and that makes it easier for me to comunicate with locals without any effort. Being warm, emotional and crazy is already in my nature. I don't need to act or pretend I am someone I am not.


And egyptians GET IT! When the audience is made of locals, the work is fluid and full of pleasures that come from mutual understanding and feeling.

An exclusively japanese audience is, by far, the most difficult thing I've had to face as far as audiences are concerned.

They stare at me, photograph me and film the whole show doing amazing and often disturbing close ups on my face, hips and so on without taking a second just to enjoy the show. Some of them even manage to sleep like a new born puppy in the middle of the event (how can they fall asleep in the middle of such music, noise and traffic of people just beats me...I even admire that ability...does it come from meditation??!) but they are usually miles away from me.

Today a miracle happened: I truly connected with this japanese crowd.

I did it!

Don't ask me how or why. That's still a mystery for me but, somehow, they joined with me in the songs, payed attention to the show and clapped enthusiastically by themselves, they yelled and manifested several emotions otherwise unknown to them and so forth...

I am besotted and still trying to figure out the reason for this wonderful surprise.

Meanwhile, enjoying the feeling of breaking a cultural barrier. Is this another sign of my own evolution?! (hoping so...).

Cairo, the 20th November, 2009

"I'm in a New York state of mind..."

I got up today and felt Mr. Cold Weather had arrived.

For me, there's no Autumn or Winter, there's cold weather (which I hate with all my guts) and sunny weather (ME!). For me, this is IT! We're not even in Autumn, we're in Winter and, as usual, all my cloths are proper for Summer time, all my shoes are open and the kind of flip-flop stuff you only wear in the Caribbean.

I proclaimed to myself: "I'm in a New York state of mind.." that somber, shadow mood when all I want is to grab my closest people and celebrate Christmas in New York! This city and the dream of spending a white Christmas there is the only thing that saves me from throwing mysef on the Nile when it starts to freeze out there.


Surprisingly AMAZING.

As I already said, I was not in the mood to do anything except to hide myself under a blanket and only come out when Spring is in full blossom. But tonight...

The house was FULL of wonderful audiences eager to see me perform and, in a New York minute, my mood shifted and I felt I was in the peak of the summer on a lost tropical beach.

That's the thing about weather. It's (almost) all in your mind. The way you choose to see and feel whatever is around you. It's uncomfortable to admit it but...our mood depends mostly on us and not on the weather (although is great to be able to put all the blame on it)!

I danced, sang (terrible microfone, though...), acted a bit and had so much fun that nothing or no one could even make me miss New York or dream about a future Christmas time there (though this is in VIP MUST DO list of priorities).

Finally understood the way to dominate my breathing in a way that allows me to dance and sing at the same time without sounding like I just finished a marathon! Learning, learning...Always.

Cairo, the 20th November, 2009

"Egypt's mobilizing ability"

Egypt has lost the footbal match with Algeria and that I instantly knew while I was dancing and there were no signs of enthusiasm in the audience or around me. Plus, when I got off work and heard silent streets and no fireworks in the sky I knew something had gone really wrong with this game...
Let's say it as it is: it's JUST FOOTBALL, not a war decision or a political change that will feed millions of egyptians who still live in poverty. Winning or loosing this game would not change people's lives in any way and still, coming from a country where we love football with over the top passion, I can understand the disappointment of this defeat.
What harmed egyptian's pride the most wasn't even not winning the game but the agressions the national team supporters suffered from algerians during and after the game.
No comments on the aggression and ignorant stuff like that. Not even animals act like this, much less creatures who call themselves human beings!

So... As I got off work yesterday night around 1.30h in the morning, some main streets in the city were blocked due to a manifestation against algerian behaviour towards egyptians during this match event. The Algerian embassy was surrounded by screaming men from all ages and cars honked as if there was no tomorrow all over the place.
If egyptians would mobilize this fast and passionately against social injustice and so many other Government decisions, this country could be close to Paradise! Waw! How fast can this people gather, organize a manifestation and show their discontent?!

I totally agree with egyptian's sadness towards defeat and being victims of aggression. I feel half egyptian already and so this has become my country too, part of my identity and soul.
Just wish this passion for football would be turned into a passion for human rights.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cairo, the 18th November, 2009

"Are all artists crazy?!"

My assistant arrived to my home in a hurry carrying a arm full of props and two new dresses I designed for myself. She also brought a bag full of groceries and "halawa" to repeat the ancient depilatory ritual performed by billions of arab women all over the world.

Having my groceries delivered at home by someone I trust is a small luxury that can make a huge difference in my daily life's quality. I am working constantly and in no mood to wander the streets and supermarkets shopping and suffering from men's sexual comments. I still like to choose my fresh fruits and vegetables (another rare luxury in Cairo where all raw food seems to be as old as the Middle Ages) and pick my favourite tea brand but, honestly, the harassment in the streets is getting too umbearable for me.

The exposure of the stage and the classes are more than enough for me. I am a shy person, otherwise. I hate being observed and harassed out of my work sphere and, therefore, walking around for shopping purposes in Cairo is as pleasant as having a fat scorpion bitting my arse.

Between dresses and groceries checking, she asked me why all artists are crazy.

I suppose she was meaning "Why are you so crazy?!" but she didn't have the nerve to say it directly to me. Egyptian diplomacy forces people to rarely say what they mean. Hearing an unpleasant answer from an egyptian is something hard to find. Everybody will smile and tell you nice words and then go on with their lives, even if they didn't mean a single word they told you and that smile was just a fake landscape to save them from trouble.

It's still hard for me - being a very straightforward person a bit of a heavy truck - to deal with arab and egyptian way of comunicating. If I don't like someone or something, that thing/person/animal/alien/whatever will know it in a second and directly from me. If the opposite is the case, I also manifest my true thoughts and feelings. This attitude which I consider honest can be seen as a sign of rudeness by people in the Arab World.

Like in so many aspects, no one is really right or wrong, but different from each other.

And here we are back to my assistant's question.

Yes, every artist is a bit crazy for many reasons.

Artists live in their own world full of imagination, out of this world thoughts and ideas (that's why they create new visions and transform ugliness into beauty). Like in everything in life, this "living ahead and always on the moon" kind of person is also a potential "crazy person", as my assistant put it. There are always two sides in a coin.

More often than I would like to admit, great Artists are also poor human beings with very ugly treats about them.

As far as I'm concerned and knowing myself all too well, I assume myself as a wise crazy person (if that mix can ever be possible!). I am egoistic, I live in my own world and think about music, dance, acting, literature, painting, BEAUTY and SOUL ALL THE TIME.

I am oversensitive, moody and have explosions of happiness, rage, sadness and, sometimes, all of this together at the same time.I am extremely independent but equally emotional. I am cold as an ice cube and hot as high burning FLAME. I am impossible to understand and qualify.

So I guess this can be classified as being a bit "crazy". What I don't ever want to be is a low quality human being. I can deal with being crazy, not an ugly person.


Currently digging into "The White Tiger" from indian author Aravind Adiga and LOVING IT.

I read for pleasure and education. This book is JUST for pure pleasure and preparation of the magnificent treap I will do to India on the next month of February. Inshah Allah!

Indian authors have a specific kind of sensuality - scorpionic one - that really attracts me. It's dark and fleshy, crude and yet subtle. Extremely intelligent and unusual. Totally recommend this book to India lovers (like me) or to reading lovers.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cairo, the 17 th November, 2009

"Class with my beloved Mahmoud Reda and an "indecent proposal"!
Another class shared with my dearest friend, Master Mahmoud Reda.
This is always a very personal experience for me due to my emotional connection with Mahmoud. I love him dearly and cherish every single moment we spend together as you may do with your closest friends and family. He makes me grow, laugh and never take myself too serious while desiring to continuously grow.
The music was a piece from an old song called "Khan el Khalili" and, although it has more than 40 years, it's as good as a brand new sound (as it happens with ALL intemporal, good music).
I learnt the coreography for the first time along with the group of students who ended up doing it wonderfully. It's always a pleasure to see so many varied women from all over the world united in a single purpose: to learn and get richer in/through DANCING.
Another good - yet strange- news arrived from the hand of Jackie (my student and dear "devil in my head"): the proposal do create a Union for "belly dancers" in Egypt!
Well...the idea in itself is great but I wonder if this Union will ever come to life when "belly dancing" is treated like cheap streap-tease by all kinds of laws and current mentality. Some will affirm this proposal is indecent because it would be like creating an Union for "prostitutes"!
After almost four years of continuous work in Cairo, I have gained new hopes and lost another ones. Call me a "party pooper" but...I don't think this Union will ever happen. Not in this century, at least.
Just hoping to prove myself wrong (a part of me has not quit on believing in miracles...).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cairo, the 17th November, 2009

"Dancing my heart out!"

Is there any other way to do IT ?!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cairo, the 15th November, 2009

“Pepper throwing”

“A man can be a Red without necessarily being attacked on grounds related to his “moral behaviour”. For a man it is used as a description of his political stance. But when a woman is described as a Red, then it follows that her personal life is licentious, that she runs around with men, freely indulging in “Red nights” with them. In our language, a man of the street means an ordinary normal citizen, but a woman of the streets is a prostitute. To be a free man means to be a proud, courageous person who believes in freedom and defends it. A free woman is, however, a woman who is licentious, immoral, and sleeps around.”

Piece of text taken from “Walking through Fire” by Nawal el Saadawi

In Europe, the fact that I am a dancer doesn’t affect my personal life. It never did.
It’s understood I work as a dancer, singer or actress. Neighbours, boyfriends, friends, family and students see me on television, read my interviews, come to my shows and so on.
It’s understood I am a normal, decent person besides my professional sphere and no one would question my moral standards because of my job.

In the Middle East, things go quite differently.
My professional and personal life are mixed 100%. It cannot happen otherwise.
Being a dancer in the Middle East means lots of things and none of them seems to be positive.
Being an intelligent, educated, FREE woman in the Middle East also means lots of things and none of it also seems to be positive. Educated, intelligent women are seen as potential headaches because they will not take continuous abuse and unfair treatment from their “fiancées” or husbands. Ignorance is still a bliss for a true lady as she will obey her husband and say “YES” to everything he says or does.
All kinds of bosses, dictators and monsters praise ignorance. When you’re dealing with ignorance, you rule easily.

I couldn’t agree more with Saadawi’s point of view when she expresses the unfair way women are still seen and treated in relation to men.
“I can do it cause I am a man. You can’t.” This was something I heard a few times by some cave men I even dared to consider intelligent, interesting individuals.
Men seem to have special privileges that women can never share.
When will this change?

“The Egyptian Constitution stipulated that all citizens were equal before the law, but the Shariah of God said men were “a degree” above women. The contradiction between the constitution and the Shariah was glaring but I did not notice it when I was twenty one. Absolute faith had made me blind, unable to see contradictions which were easy for all to see.”

Piece of text from the same book by Nawal El Saadawi

Waiting for polemic opinions on the subject. Feel free to comment.
Being intelligent and educated also means I am prepared to discuss, listen to other people’s points of view and, eventually, accept another ideas that contradict mine.

“Price of Honour, Muslim Women lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World”,
by Jan Goodwin

A sociological study about the “real” way women are still treated “indoors” and in the public space all over Middle East.
Crude, well researched and often shocking.
I consider reality is multilayered and both women and men end up being victims of a system perpetuated by ignorance and cruelty disguised as traditions but the feminine side of the world is still a degree – or many – bellow the masculine side. When will balance and justice come?!
Only God knows what’s the direction this subject will take.