Monday, March 29, 2010

Cairo, the 29th March, 2010

Dancing to my own music!

What a marvellous sensation it is to dance to my own music.
Music that was composed for me by people I deeply respect and cherish.
This is a gift.

Allas...I have danced - on stage - my new entrance music (called JOANA AROUND THE WORLD and composed by the wonderful egyptian composer Hossam Shaker) and my brand new SAIIDI composed by another great egyptian master.

I dance and sing a bit on the new Joana Saiidi theme and have a blast adapting the original entrance song to the stage, experimenting different things with my musicians, dancing it along with the genius tabla player MARADONA (whom I love to the limits of madness!).
Oooooooohhhhhhhhh Lord! This has been such a demanding, fascinating ride...

I am exhausted and on FIRE!

May God protect us from all Evil and follow our steps into even greater dimensions.
Cairo, the 30th March, 2010


What is an artist without inspiration sources?
My Muses come from so many places in they arrive in different shapes.
I am not influenced only by arabic artists. I take beauty and informations from the whole world... Art has no frontiers or nationalities.

From all the things, places and people who have inspired me since I started dancing at the age of three years old, just as soon as I could walk, there's no one who has followed me till today with such faithfulness as the genius Michael Jackson.

Whenever I am down and feeling blue about my work, all I have to do is revisit some of Michael's clips and there I am, up and running.
He's the best pop music entertainer of all times and all his songs are full of what I call my own fuel: PASSION.

I hear his songs and I remember the reason why I first started dancing.
Here are two of my favourite jewels:
Smooth criminal video ( my favourite video clip EVER!) and the lovely song which populated my childhood and makes me feel like up and dancing until today: Say, say, say (with Paul Maccartney, another song making bombastic genius).

Cairo, the 29th March, 2010

Are you good at selling yourself?!

Most of the dancers/teachers I know in the world area of Oriental Dance take a big deal of time dealing with marketing and publicizing themselves as the Masters of the World. I am not against it. Some of these teachers are my friends and I respect them for their human and artistic value or even for their commercial smartness (which I do not possess).

I fail on not promoting myself.
I fail on admitting my ignorance more than all I already know and achieved.
I fail on focusing totally in my artistic development and not caring about publicizing myself and all I do.
I fail on not calling myself STAR of this and that. I leave those names to others.
For me, there are no stars except the ones you see in the sky. There are only artists who also happen to be human and, therefore, are striving to learn and reach totality by all means.

I don't call myself the best or the master of I don't know what.
I don't brag about my success and I don't kiss the derrieres of the ones who could put me on the spotlight.
I fail, I know.

And yet I cannot manage to find more interest in the commercial side of Oriental Dance than in its artistic side.
Nothing is worth my attention more than a great show where me and my musicians do not seek perfection BUT TOTALITY. Being total is a concept I cherish. And to be total, ALL your energy has to be concentrated in the music, dance, energy between you and your audience.

No time to promote myself or even to say : Damn! I am good!
By the time a great show is over and the audience is still clapping, I am already searching for new answers and dealing with the weak spots of the evening.

What can I do better?
Was I 100% in the moment?
Did I do too much? Too little?
Did I REALLY connect with my orchestra and my audience?
Did they feel me?

These questions will not be heard by anyone. They reside inside of my head, my heart and soul.
These questions will not promote me as the greatest dancer in the world but these are the thoughts that give meaning and direction to my artistic life.

And this is my life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cairo, the 24th March, 2010

More pearls of Wisdom - TAKE II


I am a mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird that swoops
down to swallow the mayfly...
I am the child in Uganda,
all skin and bones, my legs as
thin as bomb sticks.
And I am the arms merchant.
selling deadly weapons to
Uganda. I am the 12 year-old
girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the
ocean after being raped by a
sea pirate. And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable of
seeing and loving...Please call
me by my true names, so I can
hear all my cries and laughter
at once, so I can see that my
joy and pain are one. Please
call me by my true names,
so I can wake up and the
door of my heart could be
left open, the door of compassion.

Cairo, the 24th March, 2010

More pearls of Wisdom

I need these recurrent pearls of wisdom every once in a while.
As a gipsy constantly moving through different worlds and mentalities, I really need some guidance in order not to loose myself.
Thankfully, the soul is well equiped and experienced and so it recognizes the TRUTH when I come in contact with it.
Some soul snack for the road, some light shed into my life, giving meaning to all the apparent chaos.

Here we go ( the soul food I fell in love with recently):

To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable; and
wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think
quietly, talk gently, act
listen to stars and buds, to babes and
sages,with open heart; await occasions,
hurry never...this is my symphony.

William Henry Channing

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cairo, the 22nd March, 2010

Me and Maradona!

May God protect us from the...eye!
Holy, Holy, Holy Cow (after traveling to India I understood the real meaning of this expression so allow me to use it and abuse from it!).

Me and the famous Maradona on stage is something YOU SHOULD SEE.

Bombastic combination.
We're still knowing each other and exploring each other's grounds but this ended up being a truly divine encounter.

You mix a highly explosive character with another one which adds passion, feeling and FIRE to it all...what would be the result?!


The best tabla player I've ever seen and this fellaha (peasant) girl trying to do her best with the limitations and talent God has given her...
It has been such a ride...oh,I am in love!


Cairo, the 22nd March, 2010



I am excited and...exhausted.
New everything in my life.


1. Love.

2. Meaning for PASSION.

3. Hopes.

4. Work structure (musicians, show programs, etc).

5. Home (here we go again...carrying frying pans and pillows to Zamalek!).

6. Wishes.

7. Possibilities.

8. Style of dancing. Way of listening to the music and reacting to it.

9. ME.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cairo, the 22th March, 2010

India treap ... an attempt to remember what cannot be forgotten

My treap to India was a challenge one of my best friends made to me.
You cannot understand the meaning of a real friend like this if you don't know what love is all about as well as sharing, faith in each other and a complete generosity towards the other which allows you to always wish your friend the best and never, ever envy her. This is the kind of friend I am talking about.
My friend also happens to be an indian.

Curiously enough, my best friends have always been foreigners or original people who are from everywhere ( a bit like me, the eternal gipsy)...
There's something magical about the Other, the Stranger, the One you cannot fully understand, the unfamiliar and, through his strangeness towards your world, the one who can teach you so much and challenge your prejudices.
I like that.

So this treap was a love project from the beginning.
I am totally immersed in my career, exhausted and happy. Running in this stress oriented routine full of TO-DO lists and achievements was not the best set to think about travelling to India for almost 3 weeks.

My friend pushed me to travel inside this dream and, without thinking much, I said YES.

I have faith in her and we had already travelled together to Mexico only to have one of the best times of my life, so far...

I didn't know the itinerary or what we would see (I knew this on my first day in Mumbai). I only knew when I was leaving and returning. That was more than enough.
I was aware that I needed to get away from my own complex East-West world but I would have never thought about travelling so far for a tiring treap to India if not dragged by someone I love so much.
Not in my wildest imagination I could conceive what a marvellous treap this would be.
I travelled like a blank paper sheet.
No expectations, no maps or touristic guides, no idea where I was going except that I was heading to INDIA.

At the end, I can conclude - with no surprise if we account for so many travellers who have visited and even moved to India after getting caught in its magic - that this was the most important treap of my life, until today.
No other journey has showed me so much of what' s REALLY important (I am a bit hindu in the way I constantly seek the Truth), no other journey has shown me so much beauty (both internal and external) and no other journey has forced me to be in touch with myself and know what needs to be healed, expanded and shared with the world.

I thank God/Universe for this incredible gift and ask for a fast return to India.
In some of the next posts you will find an attempt to describe this journey. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did living it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cairo, the 21st March, 2010

My favourites

Me, commanding the troups (orchestra) on stage. Like a maestro, I manage my own emotions and dance, the orchestra and my audiences. Like a maestro, I command my troups and they follow me because they feel all I do comes from a higher place.

My smile (full blast).

Me, holding my hair with such passion. You only see my back but this picture says a lot.
This is me. My dance.My way of loving.My way of living.

My hands.

Some of my favourite images and such simplicity in them.

Cairo, the 20th March, 2010

First images of new shows - POST INDIA

When something is too strong, too real, way too precious, it becomes impossible for me to describe it in the shape of words so...Like real love, like a sunset, like a moment of high invisible importance...undescribable.

I hope, once more, you will forgive me for the lack of words and hope these images speak for themselves.
A new season, another one, has started.

Chamaleon. That's who I am.

Cairo, the 20th March, 2010

Coming to terms with India (possible???)

I have to cut myself some slack and say I have been running like crazy since I returned to Cairo.
Home moving - Zamalek, here I come! - all my working structure changing ( no details in order not to call more of the famous evil eye, may God keep it 100000% away from me )and lots of who I am being TOTALLY redefined, once more.
No time, till now, to sit and think about my treap to India.
Not yet.
So much I wish to share with all my readers ( the declared ones and the ones who wish to be incognito but fail to do so:)...

No promises.

I have not come to terms with my India experience.
It all seems like a dream to me. A dream I cannot yet fully understand.
I know I miss India in the most abnormal way.
I know I miss the Ganga river and that smell of flowers that visited me in the most unexpected places...I know it all!
But I still don't know how to describe the whole matter in the form of words.
It could be done with a tear and a smile, my bright eyes which have gained an extra SHINE since I returnted from the Holy Cow land. It could be done with a whisper if you all were in front of me, feeling me.

In terms of words, the matter is still quite hard for me to express.

Situation point:

1. My heart.
Ohhhh...revolution over here. You fall in love when you least expect it and it can come in the shape of a person, place, subject...PASSION seems to be my second name, although it wears me out and makes me go crazy all the time.

2. My mind.
Full of information, inspiration and controversial points of view that put to the ground my most definitive certainties.

3. My body.

Also full of new stimulating data, more vigorous and feminine than ever.
My body has learnt a kind of sensuality in India that was completely foreigner to me before this treap.

4. My soul.

There are many winds living inside my soul right now. Agitation. Tempest. Caos.
You know what comes after the tempest, don't you?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cairo, the 14th March, 2010

The feet

The feet were such a huge thing on my treap to India for many reasons.
Mostly because I spent almost the whole time bare footed. Temple access - hindus, sikhs, muslims - have a very strict NO SHOES policy and I love walking with my feet on the ground, anyway...

In India, the feet have a strong symbolic charge.
For one side, they represent humbleness and everybody seems to kiss the feet of the elders or the ones one consider superior age wise or sageness wise.
For other side, feet are associated with the lowest of the caste indian system. Different parts of the body are associated with a specific caste (like, for instance, the head is associated with the highest caste which is composed by the religious Brahmans)and the feet are really the lowest of the lowest also due to their closeness to the ground-material as opposed to the more spiritual colour indians give to human upperbody.

In fact, this is all a very complex mythological system full of meanings and subtle nuances but, for me, the feet remain the most important part of my body.
They remind me of my material existence, my fragile human condition and my constant need for simplicity.
They also connect me directly to Mother Earth and there's no real spirit without the awareness of that connection.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cairo, the 13th March, 2010

India blues...

From all the emotional trials I've been through in my intense life there's something I never imagined I would undertake: a serious case of India blues.

India this disease already catalogued by medical standards of this material world?
I've heard of the baby blues and another kind of blues but not: INDIA BLUES.
Well...I am suffering from it.

Already bought a giant India Guide - LONELY PLANET guides are the best - and I am tracing back all the steps of my last treap.
I am already dreaming of my next treap and a way to reach India before that...

I miss India with all my guts and to the verge of tears.
Not normal.
This is a case of India blues.
So says my internal Doctor.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cairo, the 12th March, 2010

India be continued...

My favourite photo of the whole treap (go figure why?!).
The sign on the wall is the OM, the sound/mantra of creation.
The reason why this is my chosen photo from all the other gorgeous shots I took in India may be an enigma to the ones who do not know me but it's pretty clear to me.

Magical India.
No doubt about it.

Cairo, the 12th March, 2010

India madness...

A sad boy from Pushkar.
The deep sadness and anger in this boy's eyes really impressed me...