Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cairo, the 29th December, 2010
The snake sheds her old skin...

Buy, buy 2010 (with all the wonderful and all the hard goodies it brought with it).
HELLO, hello DEAR and EXCITING 2011!



passion pray.With

passion work. With passion make love.

With passion eat and drink and dance and play.

Why look like a dead fish

in this ocean

of GOD?"


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cairo, the 23rd December, 2010

Preparing NEW YEAR'S EVE shows and

new steps (to fly even higher)!

This end of 2010 has been the most tormented, full of tempests, challenging time of all.And, believe me, I've been through pretty hard times before but nothing quite like now.

Well, they say the closer you get to the realization of your dreams, the bigger the obstacles become. Just a naughty way God has to test your strenght and your will power.
I guess now it's my "extra mile" period and God is just testing my waters, checking of which material am I really made of.
"Dear Lord, I don't ask you to go too smooth on me but, at least, give me a little extra energy and insight to face these dark times and rise up from these deep waters in full JOY and PROSPERITY!"

Anouncing a little absence from the cybernetic world (sorry for the upcoming temporary disappearence, dear followers), here are the

first events of 2011 to follow up:
1. New shows @ new venues in Egypt.
Excited to agitate and revolucionate my own show and creative style. Artists need to grow and I am UP for some deep, head-turning growth on stage.
Asking all the dancing muses to join me. I will need "everyone"s inspiration for what will come next.:)

2. India on my way...:)

3. Oriental Dance and Egyptian Folclore Workshops in Portugal and Italy.

Portugal: February and April (check programs at my portuguese blog:

4. Italy (Venice): 18,19,20th March - Silk Road Projects Venice Oriental Dance Convention

All infos at:

Cairo, the 23rd December, 2010

Cold shows and CENSORED "Dirty Dancing"

How hard it is to dance when dancing is the last thing you wish to do at that precise moment?

Maybe I need some meditation time, maybe I need some sitting still time and maybe I know I cannot have none of both because I am a professional dancer and a PROFESSIONAL DANCER does HER JOB, even when she doesn't feel like it.

Reality, dear girl!

To crown the bad mood for dancing, only my classic childhood movie could save the day:


Patrick Swayze looking sexier than ever, absolutely gorgeous and dancing like "it should be". Oh, dear Lord...God must have been inspired when he created that man!:)

There was just a slight irritation: all the sensual, love scenes from the movie were completely cut from the movie projection on television.

The beautiful scene with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze dancing in his bedroom, the staff dancing parlour with all the sexy, delicious moves of mambo...ALL the DANCE and SENSUAL LOVE scenes just vanished like they never existed!

I am already used to censorship in Egypt but cutting some of the juicier, most exciting scenes on "DIRTY DANCING" really freaked me out.

Besides reducing music and dance to minimum presence in this country, now even sensual scenes are cut for the sake of God knows whom.

The big contradiction is that egyptian movies have far more sexually exposed scenes than foreign movies but national product must be under a different, much smoother and benevolent cutting hands censorship.

Cabarets with prostitutes throwing themselves on client's laps covered in haxixe don't seem to be considered shameful but a sensual scene where two people in love dance together is highly pornographic.

Maybe one day I will understand this and many other egyptian dilemmas and contradictions.

Meanwhile, I try to release my irritation by dancing Tango with my favourite partner

(Yes, I FOUND HIM!). It does not recover "Dirty Dancing" juicy cut scenes but, at least, it's my own personal revenge agaisnt egyptian hypocrisy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Moulin Rouge - Come What May (FINAL)

Moulin Rouge - Come what may

Mariah Carey - Always Be My Baby

You'll always be my baby...
To listen under the Christmas tree or the mistletoe, always wishing and fighting -if necessary - for the TRUE LOVE we all deserve 'cause life's successes, days and nights make absolutely no sense if we're not loving and being loved in return.
Having your man/woman holding you and enjoying life by your side should be mandatory to all of us.

None of this makes sense without real passion and love in our lives! (So I think, a self proclaimed hopeful - not helpless, no sir!- eternal romantic).

"The greatest gift you'll ever learn is just to love
and be loved in return..."
(from a beautiful song of the movie "MOULIN ROUGE")

Cairo, the 22nd December, 2010

Wishing you all a Merry Little (warm) Christmas...

Away from conventions and empty traditions,

I am wishing everybody a Merry, Little and very warm Christmas. It doesn't matter what religion you say you profess (religions are just cathalogs of something you cannot put a tag on, any way), Christmas can always be a time to reunite with your loved ones and, allas, with the best part of yourself.

Love in our hearts, forgiveness for our own mistakes and for the ones who hurt us, acceptance of other's limitations and an OPEN SOUL to receive ALL the AMAZING things LIFE has to offer us (in times of hardship, these miracles of life can pass us by without us noticing them but an extra effort of being AWAKEN to BEAUTY and JOY will do the trick!).

I will be performing during the whole Christmas/end of the Year season but, deep inside, I will celebrate my very own Christmas time with trees, white snow and fire places inside my chest, presents under that tree and wishes for the best that is yet to come).


Cairo, the 22nd December, 2010

(Now I understand why I get so crazy with drums...)

" A very wise musician onde told me:

Drums are the manifestation of the energy and soul of our ancestors.

Before, when there was slavery, the only way the slaves were allowed to express themselves was through their drums.

So it's as if all those spirits that have passed away get to come back to life every time they hear a drum beating.

And since they cannot dance, they enter your body and manifest themselves through you."
Piece of text from the book " ME", by Ricky Martin (yes, the "Livin' la vida loca" Ricky Martin)

Cairo, the 22nd December, 2010

Prayer of Serenity

" God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference between one and the other."

Cairo, the 22nd December, 2010

Cairo shows, more and more learning lessons and a warm cinema session bathed with Starbucks mocha (yummieeeeeeee.....)

Up on the town performing in differente venues has been a fun ride so far...

If I put aside the incredible improvised backstage rooms I am left with and some really weird people you always meet along the way (hey, it's Cairo and I am an Oriental Dancer! How weird would it be if I DID NOT meet WEIRD PEOPLE?!) I am left with great shows surrounded by different people and environments.
Being a novelty lover myself, I welcome meeting new people and places all the time. I deal well with change and challenges on a constant base and I prefer to meet new faces rather than just sticking to the already known ones who do not offer me anything exciting.

Comfort is good but I reach for challenges, more than comfort.

Or not so much, it seems...:) that's why I had one of those warm afternoons at the cinema with a dear friend of mine.

While learning a few more lessons every day (God, I know I've been a good student but, please, gve me a little break here!), all I could dream of was a Starbucks moccha cafe on my hands, hot popcorn on the go, a good, funny friend to sing and laugh with and an outrageous and FANTASTIC comedy - "Meet the little Fockers" - with Robert de Niro, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman and company...this is the third part of the Focker/Burns family trilogy and it took me quite a while to recover from all the hard laughing.

The movie is hilarious, as you would expect. Not in a Shakespeare quality performance type but in a light, silly, SO MUCH FUN type of hilarious...just in time and just what I needed!

No matter how many goals and dreams we may have in our lives, what we need - sometimes - is just a good dose of the old sweet evasion vehicle: cinema!
Me and my friend, holding our popcorn and Starbucks hot goodies, laughing so hard with a good comedy...what else could I ask for right now???

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cairo, the 20th December, 2010

Performing all through Christmas and New Year's Eve season...brrrrr....

Cairo is freezing but it doesn't really matter.

I will be performing all through Christmas and New Year's Eve season meaning that, while everybody is with their respective families and friends celebrating Santa Claus and baby born 2011, I will be entertaining audiences in Cairo.

Anyways, no complaining! This is the LIFE I chose and I wouldn't want it to be different.

No excuses (cold, cold, cold!) or meaningless complaining: once again, just doing my BEST at ALL times and defining, in my heart and head, what I REALLY WANT for my personal and professional life in this AMAZING upcoming YEAR.

Wishing everybody a Merry Christmas with fire places, sweet pies and loving company and the BEST in everything for 2011!

I am already celebrating all the wonderful things I know, for sure, will come with this new year...:)

Cairo, the 21st December, 2010

On/Off switch!

Switch the button ON when it's worth it and OFF when it's not.

Quite like a light in a room.

When it's necessary for us to function around the house, we turn it ON and, when it's not necessary anymore, we turn it OFF. If we could do this in life and know the right moment to switch each button on or off everything would be simpler and we wouldn't loose so much energy on things that don't bring anything POSITIVE into our lives.

Reaching the end of 2010, I realize I achieved much more than professional goals and other emotional treaps that were worth for the ride they meant to be.

I have learnt when to switch OFF and ON.

I switch the button OFF (and totally IGNORE):

1. People and subjects that do not put a huge, exciting, truthful smile on my face.

2. Words, comments, actions or intentions that do not produce any GOOD or BEAUTY in this world.

3. Television, musical, newspapers and magazine's garbadge, boring people with nothing meaningful to say and mean creatures who enjoy other people's sadness.

4. Everything and everyone with no HUMAN QUALITY. Every lier, actor in real life, con artist, game player, evil person that crosses my way goes directly to that sub-world of mine where GARBADGE is GARBADGE and it doesn't deserve my attention.

I switch the button ON (and focus/give my time, energy and love to):

1. Everybody and everything that reflects who I am.

I choose to be surrounded by honest people who respect me and love me back, subjects and individuals who build up gorgeous things in my life and help me be a better person.

2. Everything and everyone who inspires me, gives me joy and hope in HUMANITY.

Everything and everyone who is beautiful, simple, TRUE and PURE.

3. The SUN, the ENERGY to CREATE at the maximum and destroy at the minimum, flowers and dance, passion and tango, great professional challenges that are also artistic delicacies.

4. The switch is ON when I find LIGHT and KINDNESS in a person - no matter where she/he is coming from or how much/little she/he knows about the world - and I see a white heart that knows nothing but LOVE.

Thanks to 2010 for teaching me this lesson (besides so many others).

Disconnecting my attention, emotion and spirit from the things and individuals that don't bring POSITIVE things into my life has been the hardest and yet the most useful tool to navigate in this incredible Universe full of possibilities.

Excited to choose the colours I am surrounded by...............................

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cairo, the 20th December, 2010

Tango: becoming an addiction...

There was once a man I loved who invented a special and unique kind of dance with me. We just invented a dance that did not exist, I guess the "dance of love", at least I want to believe that was IT!
That dance will stay in my memory as the most beautiful thing I've ever experienced, the most significant and unforgettable movement and an exercise of freedom and courage
("Come on, baby, you don't have to know how to tango...let's just dance what we feel and enjoy" - I told him.
And we did. We danced something with no name, not cathalogued in the dances of the world, not from this world...and we DID.
Enjoy. Being happy and silly. And crazy and in love like two small children discovering LOVE for the first time.
That dance will stay in my memory for as long as I live and the man who shared with me will too.:))
NOW the REAL TANGO I am learning now for a month is turning into an addiction, quite like a drug.
Here I am recently arrived from my class and milonga, my feet hurting from all the TANGO partners I had in my arms and with so much adrenaline that I can hardly imagine to sleep tonight.
Through tango, I fly and travel to another worlds. The better the dance partner, the better the treap. It depends on the energy we are able to exchange, the passion for the music, for the PASSION itself...
Who needs haxixe, cigars, alcohol and all the drugs artists usually take around here when there is something called TANGO?!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You

The song for this Christmas time (no matter how far I will be from my family and close friends, this Christmas I will dance and smile for Santa and all the angels in the Universe, just to make distances short!).
All I want for Christmas is: YOU.
Simple as that.


Cairo, the 19th December, 2010

All I want for

Christmas is :


Cairo, the 19th December, 2010

Forgiving and letting go...
Grabbing the bull by its horns without looking back. Is there any other way to face LIFE??? 'Cause Life is BIG, folks!
The ones who see it as small and a certain amount of days and burdens to carry on their backs are missing the MIRACLE. The ones who refuse to take risks and choose to remain in a comfortable unhappiness state are already DEAD before they, actually, die.
The ones who are afraid to LIVE BIG will never know what it MEANS to be ALIVE.
And then the hardest, yet most essencial part of the process...
Letting go of the past, forgiving yourself and others for mistakes already done and moving on to BETTER, BIGGER JOYs. Is there any other way to face LIFE???
If there is, please let me know. So far, this is the best I came up with, direct result of my own personal experience (no theories or master piece books included).
"Some people can live a Life Time/Eternity in a minute" - something like this is said by Al Pacino in the incredible movie "Scent of a Woman".
I am happy to see that I have lived ETERNITY in many, many minutes. That's due to my extreme tendency to live PASSIONATELY.
When I bite an apple, I don't bite it or even eat it. I kiss it!
When I kiss the man I love, I don't kiss him, I bite him and eat him as if he was that apple.
I love as if there was NO tomorrow (because maybe, just maybe there will be no tomorrow and I am aware of that) and I dance, share, laugh and cry as if there was no tomorrow.
Every moment we are dying and getting born into a new version of ourselves.
Living with PASSION means, after all, being aware of the close mortality residing in everything.
Because I LIVE everything in my LIFE with FULL intensity, truth, love and PASSION I can move on with something which is finished and I clearly see the words : THE END written in my heart.
For those who advise me to be cooler and not so full of fire, I tell them: live and let live...
Some can live without LIVING and others, like me, can only live as if every second was the last.
In this cold, challenging, fascinating end of the year I pray to God to help me forgive who has harmed me and forget what does not bring JOY to my life.
The garbadge in the garbadge can (no picking at it required).
The Sun in my heart and nothing else is needed.

Cairo, the 19th December, 2010

The most beautiful thing I've ever read from my All time HERO:

Mahatma Ghandi!

This was THE MAN.

I said it thousands of times: if Ghandi was alive, I would haunt him down wherever he was, I would gladly turn myself into his private dancer for all eternity without asking why or having a second thought. :))
That's how much I ADORE this MAN.

He was so BRAVE (DEEPLY HUMAN, full of LOVE and YET STRONGER than a rock). He showed - through his actions and life - what STRENGHT really is.

He lived according to that old, forgotten concept of DIGNITY, TRUTH and WORD of HONOUR that you don't find in men anymore.

He has my total admiration and respect.

Here are the most beautiful words of my own personal hero:

" God, help me to tell the truth to the strong and to avoid telling lies to get the weak's applause.

If you give me fortune, do not take away my reason.

If you give me success, do not take away my humility.

If you give me humility, do not take away my dignity.

God, help me to see the other side of the medal. Don't let me blame others for treason just because they don't think like me.

God, teach me to love people as I love myself and to judge me as I judge others.

Please, don't let me be proud if I succeed, or fall in despair if I fail. Remind me that failure is the experience that precedes triumph. Teach me that forgiving is the most important in the strong and that revenge is the most primitive sign of the weak.

If you take away my success, let me keep my strenght to succeed from failure.

If I fail people, give me courage to apologize and, if people fail me, give me courage to forgive them.

God, if I forget you, please do not forget me."

Mahatma Ghandi

Cairo, the 19th December, 2010

Cairo gossip delights!

Cairo is one of the most (overly) populated cities in the world so it's just curious to check how, in the end, this is just a small viallge where everybody seems to know you and know more and than yourself about your own life.
Last gossip I heard about me?!
" Joana has abandoned ORIENTAL DANCE, got married and is pregnant!"
Wowaaaahhh, Nelly! This one struck me hard.
Between last night's shows, I was inquired by several Oriental Dance scene celebrities about the eventual juicy details of this new gossip.
I was startled! Who spread the rumour AND FOR WHAT PURPOSE?
Hey, in reality, this works as an indirect marketing tool but what a silly one.
You see, the thing is I learnt how to ERASE from my life everything and everyone which did not bring HAPPINESS, TRUTH and QUALITY to my heart. I watch and learn about everything and everyone's character and then I make choices of the things and people who are WORTH keeping in my existence and the ones who are not. Call it a protection/survival tool. That's what it is.:)
Every dog can keep making noise, every attack can hit me right on the face but I keep on with my head up, following my own dreams and nothing else.
Some of these dogs are worth my energy, my love and my attention. WHO IS NOT WORTH IT, IT'S OUT. No fuss, no bad feelings, no regrets or blaming pointed fingers, just OUT.
Lots of people in my professional environment are not worth my attention so I tend to make myself deaf to all these stupid rumours (some of them extremely offensive and unfair ) and move on with my life searching for people and projects that reflect my own personality and quality as a HUMAN BEING. I try to do it, anyways...:)
This time, though, it was a BIG rumour to the point of leaving my orchestra in a tantrum, running around like crazy butterflies, looking at me with a shy, fearful gaze.
I had to make things clear for them:
" Dear people, I am not abandoning anything, I am not married and not pregnant. Not now, at least.
Please CALL DOWN..."
Between my flu, stress and pressures (so many of them are undescribable by words) and the night's shows, I had to calm everybody and answer several phone calls trying to make things clear about my personal life. God, give me the patience for all this silliness.
Cairo is really a small village and it's incredible how some people loose their time concentrating on me or other strangers. For what, really?
So, if anyone else decides to check on this or other rumour about me, all I want to add is my OFFICIAL STATEMENT:
I am departing to Paris where I will dance the "can-can" at the famous Moulin Rouge and start to accept diamonds from my admirers. Time to splurge and get fancy in France...
I am (secretly) married with four gorgeous men (I inverted islamic law and now WOMEN can marry from one till four men...YUUPPIIEEEEEEE!!!!!! It was about time Women had a piece of that cake) from different countries (international love affairs) and I am virtually pregnant with twins that will be the next Messias in this chaotic world we're living in.
Hope that's enough for an official statement.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cairo, the 15th December, 2010

Rising into 2011!

Hoping to be a better person, dancer, sister, friend, lover, daughter, professional partner, ARTIST.

Hoping to be HAPPY in everything I do and experience (with some mininal sad moments that are always necessary for us to appreciate the good times).

Hoping to extend my career into another artistical fields in Egypt as outside.

Hoping to travel more and more for work and pleasures purposes and learn all I can from those treaps.

Hoping to love (pure, passionate LOVE) and be loved in return.

Hoping to breath and see the world as the beautiful MIRACLE it really is.

Cairo, the 15th December, 2010

Recently discovered silly (amazing) pleasure:
What a silly and great thing I've just discovered!
There I was with a friend in my kitchen cooking a vegetarian lasanha and a salad for our lunch when, suddenly, he asked me if I had some nice music we could be inspired by to cook.
And right there, I handed him my newest musical aquisition (full collection of Michael Jackson's albuns - ALLLL of them!).
He chose one of Michael's first albuns as the perfect soundtrack to our italian cooking.
So we cooked our way to Italy at the sound of "Thriller" and "Beat it" and I don't remember to have laughed so hard as we did today.
As soon as the music started, we both grabbed kitchen utensils and started to mimic Michael Jackson, using spoons as microphones and doing our respective "moon-walks" in my small Cairo kitchen.
For the duration of the lasanha confection, we were not two friends preparing our lunch but two crazy people laughing hard, singing and dancing in my hot kitchen while trying to put together an italian dish.
Result: The lasanha was amazing (and salad too) and we had a great fun preparing it.
Once again, I rediscovered (in a most improbable place: my kitchen!) the marvellous joy of dancing just for fun. No audience, no sense of ridicule, no pressure, just PURE FUN!
My "overly religious" neighbour will not be pleased to know that Michael Jackson will be my cooking buddy (specially the "Thriller") from now on...I just can't resist it.:)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cairo, the 14th December, 2010

Gratitude (the best way to greet the new upcoming year)!

I am already saying goodbuy to 2010!

It was an amazing year, I must admit (and give thanks).

Forget all the disappointments (very common for someone who tends to believe that everybody is good and carries the best intentions! What a fool I can be!) and little setbacks.

Overall, it was a year of unforgettable work and pleasure treaps, great professional success both in Egypt as in the countries where I taught and performed and a time of extreme LEARNING phases, reality checks and growth (both personal and professional).

Add to all that the most important thing:

Being healthy and having everyone I love living and also enjoying their good health.

This was a year to fall in love and learn from it.

This was a year to learn, finally, that not everyone has the human greatness I wish they had.

Sometimes, you buy a cheap cotton shirt thinking it is a pure silk and then, little by little, you realize that shirt was not the luxury item you were expecting it to be but a lousy, poor, regular, cheap cotton shirt.

Just to make it clear: I have nothing against cheap cotton (but I prefer to have pure silk wraping my body and will not go for less than that!).

*2010was a year to be thankful for (the health, the love inside and around me from REAL PEOPLE who REALLY LOVE ME, the professional opportunities and success, the intense traveling I always dreamt about, the appreciation of my work in Cairo and all the learning goodies that came to my hands...I give THANKS to all that from my heart and surrender to God's generosity towards me!)

Now...the best is yet to come, ladies and gentlemen!

Giving thanks to 2010is great (and essential) but welcoming 2011 into our lives DREAMING even BIGGER and WILLING to do the "work" and the LOVE is something to lay our hands on from this moment ahead.

2011...Here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cairo, the 13th December, 2010

The music of SILENCE...


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cairo, the 12th December, 2010

within the
divine state of

And understanding the incredible POWER of SILENCE and STILLNESS (for a natural born warrior like myself who never said "no" to any battle, always holding the sword in her hand ready for action, these lessons have been hard won took me quite a LOT to get here but, hey, I have arrived!).

Some times, the best and only answer to certain people and situations is SILENCE.

Some times, the best way to move forward is to just stay STILL letting others take responsability for their lives and also allowing the Universe do its part. dense and wonderful that I could build castles out of it.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Whitney Houston-I believe in you and me[The Preacher's Wife]

The song I choose for the journey ahead...

Cairo, the 11th December, 2010

Shows, upcoming travelling and
new LIFE built from a brand new ground...

And all this resides in my current, loving, essential and deserved


Cairo, the 11th December, 2010

Moments that are worth everything (and I mean everything...)

Today is not a day for hard truths or adventures. This is a special
Thanks Giving day for all the things and people who compensate for the hard times you often find in this Oriental Dance path.
Incredible how you find so many low quality people in such a high quality ART! It says fascinating facts about humans and how contradictory we tend to be.
All the mess makes me remember my religious observations and how, generaly, the most depravated, awful creatures assume themselves as practicing religious people.
I often find this same puzzling contrast in Oriental Dance professionals from every where. There are a few AMAZING individuals, totally out of this world but they are a minority.
How come there are so many strange, evil people in such a beautiful, wise and magic DANCE environment?
Oh, we'll never know, I guess.
In this photo, here I am with a student (dear Sultana, you were a spark that lighted on me) in the end of a private class. These private things we shared in our classes will not do a great publicity poster or will not add much to my apparent success but they give meaning to my whole path.
Sharing my soul, experience, knowledge and feelings with a wonderful student so eager to learn and to go deeper into the subject is a PLEASURE that compensates for a lot of hard things I have to deal with on a constant basis.
Today I can only say: thanks GOD for the compensationary pleasures and blessings you send me to ease the road and heal my wounds, renewing my strenght to move forward.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cairo, the 10th December, 2010

Woody Allen and Billie Holiday

" It's not in vino veritas, it's in eros veritas"
said by Woody Allen in the movie " Anything Else".
I happen to agree, kind of... both in wine and in love you can ACTUALLY see a TRUE person's personality. Love is just the best mirror one can have and vino/wine, well...I have watched the incredible revelations that come with it.
I would add DANCE (of course I would!) to this list of truth revelation items.
The day started at a pleasant, ordinary pace with washing machine fixing at home, supermarket shopping (no strong sexual harassemente this time, thanks LORD!!!), manicure and pedicure and all that feminine boring maintenance stuff I have to do before any night of performances.
Coming back home, I was surprised by a Woody Allen movie...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh................
Combining my cinematographic madness - Woody Allen - and my daily musical "shower" lover - Billie Holiday - was just a soul gift for Christmas time.
Forget the troubles and hurricanes. Give me a bit of my dear New York in a movie and make me sing along with chocolate covered Billie Holiday and everything seems lighter, POSSIBLE and cooler.
Tonight's shows will be inspired by this movie. How?! I really don't know yet. But I KNOW they will.
P.S. Artists are really crazy people, aren't they?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cairo, the 9th December, 2010
Love, as usual, every second of my LIFE!
"You come to LOVE not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly."
Sam Keen
Cairo, the 9th December, 2010

Isadora Duncan...

We would be such great buddies if she was alive...oh, this was one of my "kind of girls" spirited, creative, brave, wild, natural and so brightly intelligent. If only she was alive, I cannot even start to imagine the dancing sessions we would have together!
" The dancer of the future will be the one whose body and soul have grown so harmoniously together that the natural language of that soul will have become the movement of the body.
This is the mission of the dancer of the future. She is coming, the dancer of the future: the free spirit who will inhabit the body of new women; more glorious than any woman that has yet been;
more beautiful than all women in past centuries: the highest intelligence in the freest body."
Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), considered the Mother of Modern Dance

Cairo, the 9th December, 2010

Hot chocolate and the Wheel of Fortune (both right around the corner!)
Cairo has these amazing stuff, besides all the dark side of it I never hide (why hide the truth?!)...
Right around the corner of my home in one my favourite dining cozy places, I discovered an AMAZING hot chocolate that promises to make my winter less cold and, perhaps, even interesting...and delicious.
Creamy chocolate covered in chantilly, cinammon and a pink marshmellow that makes me nostalgic for the americam colourful 50's I always watched in the movies.
While walking to the recently discovered "hot chocolate" spot, I bought an old almanac (why do I keep buying so many books to read when piles of them add and add at home with no hope of being read throughout the next 10 years?!) with an interesting " Wheel of Fortune" image.
Up and down, here we go...the sages know one is just the "other face" of the other so they never despair on the "low" and never get arrogant on the "up". I can see that knowledge very clearly and, surprise of surprises, apply it to my LIFE.
Success is relative and changes its definition with time, life experience and from person to person. It's also true that, once we accomplish a certain dreams(s), we tend to search for anothers, never quite being satisfied. Why is that? Do we need constant DESIRE to feel a sense of direction in our lives or we wish to prove to ourselves - and/or to others - that we are ABLE to be victorious in everything we propose ourselves to accomplish?!
Maybe a bit of both...I've felt the lowest in times of great apparent success and the highest when all I had was a new, empty ground to fill in from scratch.
No applauses or negative critics ever affected me much for the same reason: it's all too relative and only our consciousness is able to tell us the truth and the TRUTH is that, no matter where you are in life, ALL is GOOD!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cairo, the 7th December, 2010

You go to my head...

"You go to my head

With a smile that makes my temperature rise

Like a summer with a thousand Julys

You intoxicate my soul with your eyes..."

Piece of text taken from Billie Holiday's song "You go to my head"
As it is with love, the same with DANCE.
As it is with LIFE, the same with DANCE.
Music goes to my head and intoxicates my soul, just like the eyes of a dear lover.
Some dancers manage to be really (bad) actors though I try to LIVE on stage what I LIVE in my LIFE and only this way I can be honest and REAL in my ART.
Music goes to my head "like a summer with a thousand Julys" the same way my man does...a sunny day blooming in front of me and warm cupcakes cooked by my mum.
It's really all the same...

Cairo, the 8th December, 2010

Choose your battles!!!

Living in Egypt is an extreme experience, I 've mentioned it several times. If you're an educated foreigner with values and a brain of your own living, working and creating between egyptians and arabs for four intense, crazy years (as it happens in my case), then the challenge rises up to the point of being considered a TRUE BATTLE designed not for the weak of heart.

Add to that an unwillingness to compromise what I think it's right and wrong and my own dignity as a woman while working in an environment which deals with women -and dancers, in particular- as prostitutes who will do just anything to get what they want and you have the perfect equation for madness or an incredible stamina that will put me through "Judgment Day", the "Invasion of the Martians" and the potential "End of the World".

I've survived Egypt with my body and soul untouched by all the dirtiness and lack of humanity so I can survive anything....

Between the many things Egypt has taught me, here are two of them:

1. How to be a warrior.

2. How to choose your battles.

How to be a warrior is something I already had inside me. No one really taught me that one and it all comes down to survival and inteligence (everyone wants to be happy so our choices should go towards that sounds kind of logical to me!).

How to choose your battles is a more delicete subject because it was not always clear the things and people that were WORTH my effort, my stamina, my qualities and my BATTLING.

I've learnt that, very often, we do not distinguish the battles that are worth fighting in and the ones which do not deserve our attention, much less our efforts and battling.

Thanks to Egypt and to several face breaking episodes, I have learnt when it's time to choose my battles and HOW TO CHOOSE the ones that have enough QUALITY for me and for the GRANDIOSITY I wish to have in my LIFE.

And my LIFE is BIG I am, thanking Egypt, and choosing the direction of my swords.
P.S. And how amazing can WOMEN be while doing all this in high heels and nice pink/red lipstick?
Gorgeous and fierce, honey! ALWAYS!!!

Cairo, the 8th December, 2010

Shokry Mohamed (will always remember you...)

Shokry Mohamed was a delightful nubian soul who happened to be the only Oriental Dance teacher I ever studied with continuously for a long period of time (after him, only Mahmoud Reda fit this description but in a totally different way).
I had already started dancing at the age of 5 doing the whole Classical Ballet Conservatoire thing, the promenades through other dances (modern, jazz, african, flamenco, you name it!) but he was the ONE who made me really discover and fall in love with Oriental Dance. He was pure magic, a wizard of movement, a sage disguised in simplicity and playfulness.

He was my long term teacher, the one who taught me the bases of Oriental Dance and the importance of being humble, simple and always searching for your heart and soul through dance.

He was also the one who "guessed" I would be a professional Oriental Dancer in Egypt and enjoy the success God has given me. I didn't believe him at the time (actually I thought he was a bit crazy as I was already an actress and it didn't cross my mind to practice dance little did I know, huh?!).

It was also with Shokry that I made my first visit to Egypt and had my first classes in this country, watched my first shows and saw the Nile for the first time.
It seems Shokry was my "first time" everything kind of man.

And how I miss my dear teacher and the way he laughed at me calling me "hurricane"...
I miss his smooth face while he danced (always peaceful and naughty) and his black, gorgeous hands moving into the "nay" music, floating like an eagle in the sky.
I miss his remarks and tough love on me. I miss the way he told me once (and once was enough!): " Always believe in yourself."

Is there any bigger treasure you can give to a person than believing in them and making them believe in themselves?!
I know no other jewel bigger than this.

And he's the one I remember in times when everything in me it's put to the test.
I hear his whisper in my ear: " Always believe in yourself."

Thank you, dear teacher (I still use the same "Panchavati" incense you used to burn in our Spain classes).

P.S. I miss you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cairo, the 7th December, 2010

The power of being taken for granted or under appreciated!

It has been an incredible, heart cracking journey since I first arrived to Egypt.

I learnt, for instance, that a beautiful woman who does not use that trumph for her own profit ends up being punished for that beauty (what's a gift from God becomes a curse).

I learnt that business women and smart bitches get their way much easier than Artists and are respected as being "strong like men" while honesty and kindness is seen as a feminine (negatively speaking), weak side of people.

I also learnt that being taken for stupid (as it often happens with me) or seen as smooth or weak (simply because you don't have a rich guy on your back) can work in your advantage. To coronate this thought, here's something I heard and really tickled the strings of my soul:

"You see, that's when I realized the power of being under appreciated."

Told by Quincy Jones to Oprah when commenting on the time he wanted to bring the movie "Colour Purple" to life and no one believed he could.

And he did. And he got an incredible casting (including Oprah) and director (Steven Spielberg) to make it happen.And the movie turned into multi-winner Oscar all time classic.

And that's what I call the power of being under appreciated. :)

Cairo, the 7th December, 2010

Christmas time in Cairo (early start) and making WISHES (that will come true!)

Although Cairo - and all Egypt - is predominantly muslim (the thousands of mosques and the omnipresent recital of the Holy Koran taken to madness extents are live proof of that!) no dignified egyptian would loose the opportunity to chat with you about Christmas (or any other subject important or totally insignificant) or make business out of you and Christmas!

Therefore...Jingle (or Jungle?! I am confused...;) Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells Rock!

Christmas has arrived to Cairo early on. Zamalek is full of trees and props to turn any home into a Papa Noel heaven. As I will be working during all Christmas and Oriental Dance mood has little to do with Christmas mood, I will pass it on as a distant reminder of what my family is celebrating in Portugal in the warmth of our family home.

Just because I am not celebrating Christmas in the usual, traditional way it doesn't mean that I don't make my WISHES.

And just because Wishes do not always come true, I believe that some of them DO.

And they will (I wrote a short but VIP letter to Santa Claus this year and I've been a great girl...not good...just great so I KNOW he heard my requests and North Pole is only a corner away from my home).

Under the invisible Christmas tree I got to my Cairo home, there will lay the gifts I asked HIM!

Thanks, Santa Claus. You're the best (I say this while pulling his beard to check if it's for real)

Cairo, the 7th December, 2010

Make my day!

I know this sounds corny but watching two little

birds playing around at the entrance of my building this morning has made my day and filled my heart with such peace and pure joy...nothing and no one could have had the impact these two little creatures had on me on this particularly cloudy morning.

I am a sucker for these childish things. Only me and little kids notice them and I get startled looks all the time from the adults who consider me a bit of a lunatic to stop in the middle of a street to stare at the beauty of a butterfly or the sexy movements of a cat.

Then again...who cares?


I am an Oriental Dancer performing and living in Egypt for 4 years, non stop!

No egyptian manager/pimp/husband covering my back (and sucking away great part of my money plus having me in bed!) or "pasha" seducing schemes to have my things done. It has been me with myself against the world and yet I am perceived as a man eater tramp simply because I am a " RAKASAH"!!!

Oh, Lord, give me strenght (and patience to all levels and depths of stupidity)!

That says lots of things about me and one of them is, for sure, that I am totally indifferent to other people's opinion on me (if I happened to be the opposite, I would have turned into a vampire after all the prejudices and sexual remarks/approaches I get due to my particular career!).

Away from the risk of seeming like a coo-coo gone kind of dancer, I admit my total fascination and surrender to a corny moment like this: two simple birds playing with electricity wires at the entrance of my building.

I smiled, breathed deeply, felt truly happy and sure that everything will not only be ok but it's ALREADY GREAT, just as it is (no illusions included).

Cairo, the 7th December, 2010

Feeling lucky!

From the deepest disappointments, great amounts of wisdom and clear vision can arise.

When we're able to watch everything around us crumbling down as a spectator of his/her own life and from that destruction build new castles, then we're always winners (no matter how many times we get hit by thunderbolts and turmoil).

The lights explode (dear evil eye, from where did you come from so strong this time?!) and the washing machine stopped working at home, I get yet another knive on my back from a friend and a once trusted co-worker, the men in my profession keep on sexually harassing me and punishing me dearly for not giving in into their plans, I have been sick and nauseated for the last few days (something so rare in me), Winter is here to stay (hate the cold and the absence of sun) and the last Nile fed vegetables I bought to cook were rotten .

The political elections are on in Egypt and the awful psychopat photos of the candidates pollute the already messy landscape of Cairo (how ugly and scary can these guys get???) while my mind and heart get polluted by constant disappointments coming from people around me (both in my personal and my professional lives) and yet...yet...I see the light and feel more peaceful than ever.

My favourite dancing dress is ruined - was ruined in the last wedding I did a couple of days ago - and I got my also favourite earrings lost. "No problem..." It could always be worse...

There's no sun in the sky and I struggle between the wish to fight back with all that I have and the rush to travel to India just to breath, to bath in the Ganga river near from the Hymalaias and drink my hot chai masala watching Bollywood movies and smelling the incense.

And yet...yet...I never felt so peaceful and in perfect bliss.

Go figure!

All seems dark and yet I have learnt that you should not give pearls to the pigs (they eat garbadge and will not recognize or appreciate a's a totally wasted value) and that, indeed, you can always build amazing castles from the rocks you find in your way.