Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cairo, the 1st November, 2010

Tonight was a great working event.
Nothing better to work on a perfection/control freak than makeher to perform in a sudden egyptian wedding. And so I did tonight!

And all my silly hopes for perfection went down the toilet and, you know what, I just let myself go and enjoyed the party. For tonight, I was not allowed to perform Om Kolthoum or even really dance, actually.

Traffic of people, huge wedding cake, noise everywhere and crazy people yelling for no reason (or all reasons).

I lost control of the show. Totally.

And, for the first time, it didn't matter!

08-Le Tango de Youssef-سكر بنات-Khaled Mouzanar-خالد مزنر

And a TANGO from the same movie CARAMEL...

For the ones who LOVE with their veins, their true passion, their hearts and souls.

Caramel Succar Ya Banat

Magical theme from my movie of the moment : CARAMEL, by director

Nadine Labaki

The soundtrack of the movie matches its contents in all its sensibility, shine and beauty.

Delicate work made out of women's hearts.

Caramel - US trailer

Cairo, the 31st October, 2010

Lebanese movie CARAMEL...

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki DID IT again...MARVELLOUS work in this magical movie about Women's internal labyrinths of love, loss, fragility and strenght.

The hidden emotional world of women who are ALIVE, who LOVE with all their blood, heart, skin and soul...such an intense treap inside myself.

I am in love....

I watched it in awe and with tears of compassion, sadness and joy in my eyes.

The sensuality of it all jumps out from each scene of the movie like a crazy, cute canguru...I am in love with this movie and confirm that Nadine Labaki is one of my favourite Women in the Middle East.

Beautiful, talented, so bright that it almost blinds me...:)

Cairo, the 31st October, 2010

Om Kolthoum dilemas and other internal business!

Digging inside Om Kolthoum endless treasure box takes a lot of passion and the musicians to go with it.

Right now, I am so happy to be learning new - unexpected- songs from my all time favourite DIVA but feel the frustration of not having the musicians to interpret this material as it should be interpreted. Frustrating...

You cannot ask talent from someone who doesn't have it. Simple as that.

What should I do? Replace more musicians? Be more patient and take more time to prepare each song? Be a teacher to these egyptian musicians who should be teaching me?

Well...sometimes, I feel clueless. I just want to grow, develop my dancing skills, my ears, my passion...and wished I have the musicians to follow me on the way up but reality is not always as we wish it was.

Stuck inside amazing Om Kolthoum songs...well, there are worse places to be stuck with (my poor consolation!).

P.S. Positive thought! Tonight, one of the new songs will come out on stage AMAZINGLY BRIGHT.

I want to believe. I do..............................

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cairo, the 29th October, 2010

Next shows @ NILE MAXIM, Cairo!

What can my audience expect?

Dance, dance and dance with body, heart and soul. No big mise-en-scene or flashy stuff to make the stage busy. ONLY raw and pure DANCE. No disguises or show-off.

Simplicity can be the hardest thing to achieve successfully...


Om Kolthoum, here I go songs from my all time favourite inspiration.

Warda and Abdel Halim...the classics are my working basis. You cannot replace quality and talent.

Fresh tabla solo coming from the creative forno...and even more exciting baladi improvised themes.

Keeping it ALIVE at all times...

Dancing for the man I love, with the man I love and because of the man I love...:)

Cairo, the 29th October, 2010

My worst nightmare. What's yours?!

Yes, I have lost my skirt on stage .

Yes, I have dropped (dead) my dearest bra on stage.

Yes, I have stumbled on my royal ass on the ground, while on stage and landed on all sorts of acrobatic positions.I have even invented new choreographies on the ground due to these small performing tragedies.

Yet, from all those dancer's worst nightmares, none comes close to the one I lived today (and not on stage).

Leaving from the gym and thinking about the new songs I am preparing (like the usual lunatic I am), I left my trousers drop on the ground in the middle of the street in one of Cairo's most populated zones. How this happened, exactly, I don't know!

I was wearing a full body lycra suit (lucky me!) under my street cloths and I just didn't feel when my trousers dropped to the ground (duh!), leaving everyone around me so, but sooooo happy that I thought - for a moment - there was a money pouring from the sky.

Thanks God for egyptian's sense of humour and obsession for women's bodies (it was rather convenient at this precise circumstance). No one was shocked but everyone seemed to be pleased, delighted, amused in a way that was surprising for me.

If God still wanted to test my almost vanished sense of vanity, there He went with the final curtain call. More embarassing than this, then what?! Only going completely naked in the street... (better not to give Him ideas...forget about it, dear Lord!)

The interesting fact about the embarassing episode was my relative lack of discomfort.

Well, I was not pleased either but, curiously enough, I didn't freak out.

Does this say something worrying about me? Hhmmmmmmmmmm.....

Cairo, the 29th October, 2010

Love is a lot like dancing; you just surrender to the music.

Pierce Brosnon

Cairo, the 29th October, 2010


( as usual)!

One more night of pure fun with friends. 'Cause life cannot be only about hard work, right?

Lots of what I call silly dancing ( as opposed to my professional dancing), Coca-Cola on ice and cuban cigars, laughter and pure non-sense that feels so great.

Right now, searching for new songs for upcoming shows. This music search has become an addiction very close to the BOOK READING on my Number 1 addiction chart.

I look for interesting sounds everywhere, from everyone. And realize I have already done quite a lot of what we may call the egyptian classics (Om Kolthoum always on the top of my pyramid).

Insanity is a proposition when our ears and mind are creating on a daily basis with such intensity but...what can I do? Aren't all artists a little crazy?!

I could not escape it...wouldn't want to!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cairo, the 26th October, 2010
Who I am.

And who am I if not an aquatic, flying, fire crossing, earth digger creature in search of PEACE (inside, always inside of myself) jumping from light to darkness and fragility to strenght?

Cairo, the 26th October, 2010

Indecent proposal # ???

The first time a well known magazine (oriented for male readers) invited me to pose for a risky, sexy (so they said), quite nude photo session, I took it with an open mind and even some humour (me, posing for a lingerie/quite nude session struck me as improbable and funny!).

I met the journalist who proposed me this work and the photographer and I had very civilized conversations with both of them. In these conversations (where I am sure I was seen as a strange girl coming from a prude family) I made sure that the session would be tasteful, beautiful and elegant while sexy. They wanted a Thousand and One Night's session with the famous belly dancer stucking her ass to the camera and I wanted Mario Testino at its best with a touch of!

- I have nothing against sexy. - I told them, almost apologizing.

-But I do have something against cheap!- I added.

My boyfriend at that time went nuts over the idea of me, posing almost nude for a male's magazine (although it was, indeed, a very well respected magazine) and was totally against it but my mum - unique and open minded as she is - was on my side: If the work is done with good taste and elegance, it can be GORGEOUS.


After talking and discussing and other magazine's reviewing - famous actresses and singers all had done sessions for this magazine - I stressed the points I considered non-negotiable:

1. No matter how we photograph, the image I want to pass is made of beauty, elegance, sensual allure without being pornographic and comunicating the magic of Oriental Dance (through props, specific items of cloth, lighting, landscape, etc).

2. No big plans of my genital parts because I don't see any specific interest in them for a public photo shoot.

3. No nude photos. I can deal with a little cloth (if dressed in the right places and showing only what is enough...not going overboard) but I cannot deal with PLAYBOY shots that will make me look (and feel) like an object. restrictions and conditions were so many that the magazine quit the idea and I gladly forgot the subject until...yesterday!

Apparently, Oriental Dance is a fantasy for many men and, for that, I am - one more time - invited to pose NUDE for another well known magazine.

This time, there was nothing to negotiate (except the money they were willing to pay me for the session) because they required NUDE photos and that I will not do.

As it happened with the first invitation, the journalist who proposed me the work thought it was quite strange that a BELLY DANCER would reject a good deal of money to do quite the same she already does on stage: being nude (according to their vision).

Well, needless to say I didn't accept the invitation. And needless to say that this prejudice surrounding Oriental Dance doesn't irritate me anymore. It became so shallow, so insignificant and coming from such ignorant people that it doesn't touch me anymore.

My NO to this working proposal was taken as an arrogant, prudish, hypocritical answer from my side. They thought I was making myself a DIVA by telling them NO and I simply thanked them and moved on, as I always do whenever I receive any kind of indecent proposal.

The question, you see, is that I love and respect myself way too much and would never put myself in a place where everything I represent and work hard for would look bad, low and cheap.

It's the choices you make in life - the hard ones, mostly - that define your character as a WOMAN and, by that matter, the REAL BEAUTY you carry around and that can only be seen in the quality of LIGHT in your eyes.

For some reason, my eyes shine all the time...

I intend on keeping them that way, thank you.

Joana Saahirah of Cairo FREE BALADI dance at the "NILE MAXIM"

Me and my eternal love affair with BALADI...

There are only a very few things that give me such pleasure as Dancing. If you talk about a good awadi with my favourite accordeonist, aaaaaahhhh.................. the difficulty to top that becomes immensely higher.

My musicians have their haxixe, their shishas and other drugs that make them fly even before entering the stage. Maybe because I love to go against the tide, I never drink or smoke anything. EVER.

So, here I am with my drug of choice: PLEASURE. In this video, the pleasure I get from the music shows so clearly that I could blush if I ever was ashamed of having a blast with my body and soul. But I am not ashamed. I am happy and proud.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cairo, the 26th October, 2010

What about the infamous belly dancers??? (Don't even mention it, pleaseeeeeeee...)

Still on the bitch subject...I dare to ask once again: What about the infamous BELLY DANCERS, still seen in Egypt and all Middle East as common prostitutes and cold women ready to seduce and manipulate rich guys with their body and dance for their own profit?

As a performing dancer in Egypt with a respected name in the world market, I tend to listen less and less of these sad comments about belly dancers (most people don't dare to mention it in front of me) but I know they exist by my own past experiences.

Oriental Dancers - belly dancers, what they are commonly reduced to - represent the maximum stereotype of the (in)famous bitch because she's prosumed to allure a poor man (victim) into her seductive traps in order to take advantage of him in many ways.
The connection between Oriental Dancing and prostitution is still a reality in the Middle East and, no matter how many times you proove your honesty and ethics, there's always a shadow over your head saying : WATCH OUT! I AM A TEMPTRESS, A SEDUCTIVE AND COLD SNAKE...................
Yes, I do know that many Oriental Dancers (or people who simply denominate themselves like that) are prostitutes, as it happens with many singers and actresses and secretaries and...and...and...
But a LOT of them are not. They may be strong, assertive, brave women who assume their power, sensuality and sexuality openly but they're not what common, ignorant thought wants them to be.
It's always easier to put a controlling prison over strong women's head and what better prison than prejudice, offense, descrimination?
As far as I am concerned, people may think whatever they wish.
I am dancing, living and LOVING as if there was no tomorrow and I intend to do so as long as I wish.
And that's why I say and breath by the motto:
Yes, mam!

Cairo, the 26th October, 2010

The infamous bitch -bad girl -in the history of the world

Powerful women have always paied a high price for being who they are.

If a man is ambitious and he goes for the stuff he wants using all his resources, he's considered smart, strong willed and brave. If a woman does the same, she's considered a BITCH (even by other women).

I admire that POWER that someone uses over her/himself and not over others. I guess that's the real power in this messy world.

It's despising - in my opinion - that cold ambition which uses any means to reach a goal but how odd it seems that men are not as charged as women for that same mistake?

Living in a world of submissive women (Africa and Middle East) who use their power and manipulative power in an indirect, under the table way, I would like to see more of these WOMEN use their REAL POWER to live their lives in a truthful, fearless way.

I dream of the day the stereotype of the bitch is not associated with an ambitious, assertive, strong woman (what's wrong about that, for God's sake?) but with what really is: a person (woman or man) with no principles or ethics.

Would love to see more and more women ( and men!) dreaming BIG and daring to be strong without stepping on one another, saying what they think and desire not fearing of being called ambitious bitches.

Here's a piece of an interview the author Stacy Schiff gave to Oprah Magazine (on the release of her new book CLEOPATRA, A LIFE):

O' Magazine: Considering how much power Cleopatra wielded, why is that women were (and still are) often condemned as manipulators while men are praised as strategists for similar behaviour?

Stacy Schiff:

The answer is simple: for thousands of years, men have written history, so it seems to me that most of what we read is from the male point of view. Throughout most of history (when men were writing), women were meant to be the obedient, agreeable supporting players. They were not meant to have minds of their own. When they strayed from that image, they paid a price.

They were considered unnatural: A woman schemes while a man strategizes; men command while women manipulate.

We see this every day at the office. Powerful women in history have generally been reduced to (this is from Henry James, believe it or not) wicked queens (and) profligate mistresses.

James forgot one stereotype, though: the sexual predator.

From Delilah to Catherine The Great , the best way to cast aspersions on a woman in charge was to assign her a prodigious sexual appetite. A woman who asserts herself unnerves. She is the bad girl; she gets demonized for ther promiscuity. (...)

There doesn't yet seem to be a language , even a prototype, for the capable, cool-headed woman, though I do think we're on our way to creating one. Or, at least, we're closer than we've been - possibly because women have pens now, too.

Cairo, the 26th October, 2010

The POWER of IMAGINATION (never doubt of it!)

The world is but canvas to our imaginations.

Henry David Thoreau

Cairo, the 26th October, 2010

In search of my own
Professional dancing brings so many hardships but so much more joys and
One of them - maybe the best of all -is the path of finding yourself through your DANCING.
I am currently finding myself, more and more, at each performance.
Who am I? As a dancer? As a person?
My Dance tends to answer those valuable questions and bring me back to myself
(the ESSENCE).
No show-off, no tricky props that can possibly hide the lack of talent and knowledge, no great explosions of visual effects. Simple, pure, raw and EXPOSED DANCE.
From within...the only place where Truth lives on.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cairo, the 25th October, 2010

Thanks Giving, every day.

O.k, I admit I am repeating myself on this Thanks Giving subject but , what a heck, we have to say what's in our hearts and so I do (for my own pleasure and punishment, some times).

I am giving Thanks to God on a daily basis and it's overwhelming how much I receive when I am aware of the blessings in my life and make the best of them.:)
I will not nominate everything I am grateful for but I can honestly say that tonight - and from now on - I will dance on stage as sacred women danced in ancient temples of Nature.
Dancing is a prayer, it has always been a prayer for me. I am closer to God when I dance as I am closer to God when I LOVE something or someone from all my heart and soul.
So this is my decision: to make my stage, from now on, the official Thanks Giving temple. My audiences will not be testimonies of this ritual but part of it because we're all ONE.
This is BLISS....
Thanks Giving, every minute, every second of my blessed LIFE.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hossam Habib - Shoft B'einaya / حسام حبيب - شوفت بعينيا

Cairo, the 25th October, 2010

Song to love and dance all night long...........

Egyptian disco music at its best (and the singer is cute too!)

Ragheb Alama - Mosh Bil Kalam english subtitles.flv

Cairo, the 25th October, 2010

For my man...

So in love (ask God how is it possible for this to happen right now?!).

Because Passion and all the men I loved have always been my biggest inspiration when I dance, here it is a song by Ragheb Alama to retribute a little of all I have been blessed to receive.

When you're in love, everything tastes better and my DANCE grows..............


Cairo, the 25th October, 2010

What a come-back!

Let's make it short, shall we?

I just had the greatest come-back to Cairo EVER.

Work wise, love wise (in love again...yeahhhhhhhh), mood wise, pretty much everything wise.

When you make your own rules and follow your heart always being honest and good to everyone, God brings you the best. People can play around, they can hurt you and go crazy all over you but if you keep being GOOD and FAIR you will surely receive the result of that.

I know that by experience. You collect from the tree the kind of fruit you planted in the first place.

So here I am, happier than ever with a sensation of achievement and bliss that I didn't feel for a long time...

In love again, starting a new work from zero with an amazing energy and feeling blessed by God in my every step.

Yuuuppieee ......... is the only world that occurs to me right now.

Cairo, the 24th October, 2010

Listening to indian music to focus and recharge myself.........................

Nothing (well, almost nothing!) can take me to heaven as fast as indian music and food (and my beloved Ganga river where I must have bathed 1000000 times in past lives).

Whenever I wish to fly, I run towards these two life savers and today is not exception:

Lots of tension to dissipate and my indian ragas plus Bollywood calm goodies setting the mood for a challenging performing night.

Longing for India...every other day.

Wish me all luck for the shows that will come from today on.:)

Cairo, the 24th October, 2010

Test to my nerves (or an intensive course on becoming a Buddha in a day)

It you're a do it yourself kind of girl (like me) and you happen to live in Egypt, you might want to avoid a cleaning lady/gentleman at your home, spending the wholllleeeeeeeee day chez vous and doing close to what you would call a half-cleaning soup time.
Standards are different everywhere. What ones may consider clean and well organized, others might consider dirty and not particularly neat.

Knowing that my levels of patience are not high (I spend them all at work), the time I have on my hands is not much and I have not even the smallest inclination to be a police man or cleaning inspector, why on earth did I try - once more - to have a cleaning agent (gentleman, this time) at my home in a particular day when I am exploding from tension and getting ready to return to work?!

Oh, God...I really put myself in messy holes, some times. My own damned doing!
It's easy to speak about inner peace, tolerance and respect for the other's rythm and path when you're isolated in a monastery but so difficult when you live between people and, particularly, tricky (in lack of a better word) when you live with egyptians and arabs you really don't get most of the times.

So, here I am since 9.00 a.m. running after a nice nubian gentleman who cleans my house with the care I devote to cockroaches.
I go after him and check on the many things that I didn't clean (hate doing the police man role!) and, most of the times, clean it myself after him because I really don't have all day and night to stand looking at him correcting and re-doing stuff that is not properly done or even slightly touched.

Bags are ready for work, I am dying to relax a while before taking a shower and getting into the performing jungle of Cairo yet again and here I am waiting for my flat to be cleaned and playing the Great Cleaning Inspector role...


Cleaning standards are not the same between cultures and mentalities (I knew this one already!).
Better to do it myself (faster, better and cheaper). Also avoids a hard test to my nerves (running after a cleaning smiley gentleman at my home during all day is not my idea of bliss).
I will have to do it myself, as usual.
High music (african is the best for cleaning away the house), shorts and top (like one of those pin-ups from the 50s) and lots of energy. That's me cleaning up my home.
In a couple of hours, the house is shinning and I didn't run after anyone or paied someone to make a job I will, invariably, do after him/her.
Sometimes, by trying to make my life easier, I make it harder. Hey...I cannot learn everything at the same time, can I?!

Cairo, the 24th October, 2010

NEW ME (will it ever stop being like that?!)

Here we go in Egypt as a professional dancer is not for sissies or the weak of heart.

If you're not prostituting yourself with a rich guy who can back you up on so many levels and you're all by yourself in the middle of this jungle, I wish you good luck and lots of faith because it's TOUGH, really tough down here...
After discovering some really hard stuff from my right arm in the orchestra, everything is changing again. I let go the rotted pieces and opened space for new pieces, hopefully better than the ulterior ones.

Although I can handle pretty much everything, I confess I am tired of constantly adapting myself to new people - so hard to manage - in my orchestra and taking risks, believing in people and then getting deeply disappointed, etc.

Rule number 1: Please, no complaining.

Rule number 2: No matter how messy is a situation, always concentrate on the SOLUTIONS and making the best of it. And so I do.

Today my Autumn starts and with it a new era in my work and dance.
Have no idea how the movements will come out tonight.

Another me, another dance!

Ong Namo

For all those whom I love dearly.

Such a divine dream, breath and then WAKE UP!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cairo, the 23rd October, 2010

Back to the STAGE!

Every time I return to the stage, I do it as a new person and life, facing constant changes and challenges I always cherish mostly because I wish to grow and there's no other choice anyways. You have to go with the flow as Zen masters would wisely tell you, baby!

If God gives you lemons, you don't complain and make lemonade without quitting of the juice you REALLY want to make in the end.

From some of the harshest, sour lemons come the best lemonades. I have unlimited faith in God/Universe and all its Kindness towards me (as kind as I try to be to myself and others).

From tomorrow, a new season of shows will start and I just can't wait for it...lemons, oranges, strawberries, let them all come to me and I will make the best of each one of them.

Cairo, the 23rd October, 2010

Crazy latin hippie night to enter a new season in the best mood!

Last night can be described in just one word: FUN!

I am an easy laughing person, that's for sure. I can laugh at almost anything as easily as I can cry. Just like small children.
So it's not strange that I laughed so hard at a party where everybody looked and acted completely out of their minds.
Strange, fat 60's wigs, hippie symbols of LOVE and PEACE everywhere, lovely music to dance hard and a mood that I didn't see at night for quite a long time.
I danced and danced. And LAUGHED really hard, like stupid, like lunatic, for no reason and all the good reasons.
When I look at some of these photos I still laugh very hard. I look kind of drunk but the funny thing is that I didn't drink or smoke anything (as I never do ). I guess I am crazy enough without such substances.
I must have been the only person in the party who was not going wild with the booze but I looked like one of them (deluxe partner on the drunk people secret society).

No Oriental Dance - for a change - but lots of Waka-Waka (thanks, Shakira!) and latin music mixed with 60's tunes. I saw myself, at some point, making a dancing train and jumping around with strangers like there was no tomorrow.
It felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

So much fun and a great way to start from zero a new season of work, love and friends.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cairo, the 22nd October, 2010

New ME, new DANCING magic!

Every time I grow as a person, my DANCE improves and changes with me. That's one of the most phantastic things about Oriental Dance. You can never dissociate the PERSON from the DANCER.

I am feeling myself more, MORE WOMAN and all my fragilities turned into strenght. Why? I really don't know. I guess I take energy from the ground, from the water, a particular landscape, an emotion, God knows!

All I know it's that my DANCE has changed, once more. All over again. Like starting from point zero and not having anything figured out but going with the music and, by magic, my body moves in a special way that others may consider artistic.

I love people who are free and impossible to define. I like to consider myself one of them.

Now my DANCE, this one I am doing NOW, will be another mystery for me to enjoy and never try to define or grasp. The best truths are left untold.

Feeling my body, heart and soul like I never did.

Thanking God for that MAGIC.

Beyoncé - Halo

Cairo, the 22nd October, 2010

Seeing your halo...loving and dancing with you, for you cause we're ONE...

Standing in the light of your halo,

I got my angel now...

Every rule I had

I am breaking...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cairo, the 21st October, 2010

Taking care of business and the opposite of traveling in style (me!)

It's always the same: as soon as I return to Cairo with all my batteries recharged, many changes occur in all areas of my life. Wonderful!

Once more, I did not travel in style. If the way you travel would say a lot about you, I would be screwed. Really admire those ladies and gentlemen who travel and arrive to their destinations spotless, carrying their little Burberry bags, shiny and fresh.

I arrive like a potato bag in a bad day, hair in a crazy hairdo and all messed up.
Loads of luggage with stuffed with portuguese food, I end up sweating like a... (as poetic Ricky Martin would say in a (in)famous song) for the extra weight I handle on my own back on the plane, long hours of flight going through many intricate yogi positions in order to sleep a while (did not succed this time) and anxious to arrive back home.


Thanks God, so much work and challenges ahead! Looking forward to it all!

Going for it and ROCKING IT HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wherever, whenever...(and no, this is not a Shakira song!), 2010
TO-DO list
Every time a cycle ends (and, by God!, my life is recognizably full of ever changing cycles), there is a mental-emotional-spiritual "to do list" that I build as a map guide for the life that´s happening from NOW on.

I surely try to go with the flow as much as possible, but there are goals, dreams, mountains I would like to climb and these are the directions I will follow, come rain or come shine...

From many other secret treats from this list, here are some of the most important and urgent to put my hands on:

1. New show in Cairo should be, must be, WILL be a shocking, refreshing, fierce event in the Oriental Dance scene.

2. New treaps to come for teaching and performing:
England, Italy and China are next to come...can´t wait!

3. Tango and Yoga classes, full vapor for many reasons...passion is one of them, self-knowledge is another. For pleasure, always...
4. The writing of my own book in the stove. Hot, hot, ready to come out and be served with fresh milk and incredible warm cookies.
5. Remodelling my bedroom in Cairo. "Love is in the air" will be the theme.

I will transform that room into the official house of Venus elevated to the skies...Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh.....:)
6. LOVING 1000% my real friends, animals, family, man and myself.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My mum´s photos (at a particularly calm day the portuguese sea).