Monday, November 29, 2010

Alicia Keys - If I Ain't Got You

All I need to tell you...

Song for this gorgeous day!

"Some people want diamong rings
And some just want everything
But everything means nothing if I ain't got you..."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cairo, the 29th November, 2010

Growing in love with TANGO...

I am falling in love with TANGO so deep that I actually find it scary.
Just attended by first milonga and could feel the different feeling of dancing with each partner, each man different from the other, every one of them with their own unique magic, energy, personality.

I heard that Tango was a single heart with four legs.

I happen to agree.

I also learnt that this is a sub-world where unforgettable love affairs happen in the time of a song. Like I always say, ETERNITY can fit in a minute. It's not the time you live that defines it but the quality of it.
Some people enjoy a life time in a minute (line from the magnificent movie
" Scent of a Woman")!

So I can already guess that TANGO will become a huge thing in my life.
Thankful to God for this - one more!- PASSION in my life. And may it bring all that is beautiful, true and ETERNAL.

Cairo, the 29th November, 2010

James Bond at the supermarket

Even a simple shopping session in a supermarket can turn into a traumatizing event in Cairo!

I took the chance to do some shopping between a morning show and an afternoon show (why not?) and how surprised I was to see that I was being followed by a man from the moment I got into the supermarket until God knows when...

He followed me around leaving sexual remarks in my ears as he passed by me while I called him bad names (which he seemed to find amusing (?!) ) and felt like a true James Bond but reversed!
Instead of chasing the enemies, I ran away from the enemies. Between aisles of milk and vegetables, I escaped the pervert in so many ways as the ones my imagination could conceive.
For the first time in my life, I actually felt scared due to the aggressivity and quality of sexual remarks of the mental retard who was following me.
I thought he would quit after I almost threw up on his face but no chance on that hope and there I finally reached the point when I was starting to get really freaked out and recurred to the security of the place.
To my astonishment, the security didn't understand why I was complaining.
I explained them that a man was sexually harassing me and following me throughout the whole supermarket and the answer I got was
" What's the problem? You are so beautiful! What do you want us to do about it?"
Translation: " You are beautiful and you're showing yourself in public without the company of a man (brother, husband or father) so...what do you expect to get? You DESERVE the sexual harassement."
I could have stuck the frozen sausages of the fridge in their dirty mouths and yet I didn't. I catched myself and had to deal with the sexual pervert myself because, as usual, I saw there was no protection for women, whatsoever.
If you're pretty, you should lock yourself at home or always me acompanied by a man in order no to be bothered. If you refuse to do both, then PAY THE PRICE.
How frustrating - and enraging - is that?!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cairo, the 27th November, 2010

In vino/tango veritas...

Dyonisus is the ancient greek God of Sensual Pleasures, Music and Wine, Madness and Wild creativity. Through his grapes, the ancients found the " truth" (or a drunk version of it, I may say).

The question is I am human and, therefore, need some sort of release from all the tensions and heartaches that life always seems to carry, at least, once in a while.

I don't drink - sorry Dyonisus! - and have no interest in smoking drugs or cigarettes but, recently, I have found my favourite way to get drunk and simply forget about life's hardships: Dancing the TANGO.

Oh, we go...

After my shows of tonight - hoping they will be AMAZING! - I will run (with my tango shoes and dress in my bag) to a milonga (occasion when tango dancers share hours of dance just for the pure pleasure of it exchanging partners and practicing their skills and feeling with different people). Don't even mention I will be attending the milonga around 1.30h in the morning and, therefore, will have a long - hopefuly joyful - tango dancing night...going from Mohamed Abdul Wahab on stage to Carlos Gardel in a milonga.

What a ride!

Just in time for my tango class tomorrow followed by another milonga with my dancing partner.

If I seem to be addicted to TANGO, it's because I REALLY AM!

Who needs alcohol, cigars or drugs when there is TANGO in this world?!

Cairo, the 27th November, 2010

Flashes (of Love, what else?!)

" When two people love each other, they don't look at each other;

they look in the same direction."

Ginger Rogers

"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness."

Friedrich Nietzsche

"I love you

Not only for what you are

But for what I am

When I am with you..."

Roy Croft

"Anyone can be


but it takes real

lovers to be silly."

Rose Franken

"My bounty is as boundless as the sea,

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

The more I have, for both are infinite."

William Shakespeare, Romeu and Juliet

"Two souls with but a

single thought, two

hearts that beat as


Friedrich Halm

"I love you.I am at rest with

you. I have come home."

Dorothy L. Sayers

Cairo, the 27th November, 2010

When you dance...

I feel proud, rejoicing with happiness, wishing I could lift your arms and help you to fly.

I breath with you, I turn with you, I suffer and I enjoy with you. Our bodies are ONE.
I see angels and love everywhere and I am sure they dance with you, within you.

When you dance...
It's ME dancing on stage because you're my mirror, the extension of my body, the layer that spreads itself to the sky holding hands with my soul.

When you dance...
Time and space disappears and all I see is LIFE.

When you dance...
I have absolutely no doubt that we were meant to dance together ( in the sky, in pleasure, in passionate madness and in LIFE).

When you dance...
I say to myself - and to you - I love you so much, baby. (And I know you hear me).

And everything turns to nothing and all I see is LOVE.

Cairo, the 27th November,2010

A brand new day...

Or the wonder of knowing absolutely "anything".
Difficult art to master: letting go...leaving important matters in the hands of the Universe!
How hard can it be for a warrior like me to do such thing?! And yet, I reach the conclusion that, some times, the best thing to do is : NOTHING.

Sometimes, the best weapon to use in a war is : SURRENDER.
That doesn't mean quitting but admiting there are things that are not in our hands to decide and make it happen.
Deep inside, it's our faith in God/Universe put to the test. How well taken care of are we when we lower our hands and surrender, allowing LIFE to take its course and brings us whatever is the absolute BEST?
Now that's what I call FAITH.
And I am working on it during this bright new surrender day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cairo, the 24th November, 2010

BASTET - thanks for the mirror, dear Sultana!

(How could I not see it?)

Bastet in me, Bastet is ME. And this mirror had to come from outside (dear Sultana, thanks for being my mirror!).

Ah ah!!!

Sweet, caring, purring cat when respected, loved and caressed and hungry, wild, incontrollable, destructive lion when her nature is not appreciated and loved. I know both by heart as I am both so clearly (now!).

Incredible how we discover the deeper layers of ourselves through other people's loving recognition.:)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Antonio Banderas - Take the Lead - Tango scene

Now...that's what I am talking about!

From the deepest of my ignorance in the subject (yet getting there...),I can already say this is not the best TANGO technique or close but they DO have the feeling.
And that's what I am talking about, my dear friends!

I finally discover a kind of DANCE that is the exact mirror of this side of me that is a helpless romantic in full bloom and PASSION.
Why didn't I start studying TANGO before?!
Will not loose a moment, from now on.

And I wonder what effects this new PASSION will have on me and on my Oriental Dance?!
Well, let's wait and see, shall we?!


Carlos Gardel & Madreselva...

Going deeper and deeper into my latest passion: TANGO.
As it happens with all my true passions (the ones that feed me, lift me up, make me HAPPY!), I just can't run away from it!

Piazzolla & Bandoneon

Cairo, the 23rd November, 2010

"El Bandoneon" - one of my favourite instruments in the world

Here it is a delicious short history of the " BANDONEON" (instrument par excellence of the TANGO) told by the innovator genius, Astor Piazzolla.

I cannot even start to describe what this instrument provokes in me.
While in Buenos Aires, I cried with no self-control whatso ever when watching a show of BANDONEONES. No dancers, no fancy fru-frus, JUST a bunch of wonderful old musicians playing their bandoneones and all the hidden strings of my soul were touched in a magical way I cannot effectively describe by words.

Here it is my humble homage to one of my elected world music instruments: El Bandoneon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cairo, the 22nd November, 2010

Next sweet challenges:

1. Preparing for India (workshops, shows and Ganga river baths in the morning...);

2. Revolution in my Egypt shows.
Taking as much as I can from Egypt, enjoying every minute as if it was the last.

3. Workshops in Portugal and Italy soon (romantic, gorgeous Venice, here I come!);

4. Other surprises that Universe has for me and that I am willing to take on (making the best of it!).

P.S. Being the best TANGO dancer I can manage to be!

Scent of woman - Tango

Cairo, the 22nd November, 2010

The Scent of a Woman - my homage to my newest passion : TANGO!

If only there were more Al Pacinos in this world...knowing a woman by her scent...taking her in their arms like a real man...oh, boy!
May all the great women of this world find their own Frank and tango on with true passion.
Life is only worth like that.:)

Cairo, the 22nd November, 2010

Revolutions in my life, Tango delights and Dancing discoveries!

The tempest has arrived and it seems to be staying around for a while...I can't even catch my breath to recover from the shocks and turbulence...

I am, literally, out of breath in a way that is forcing me to reach for inner resources I didn't know I had to avoid drawning!

Injustices, disappointments in all areas of my life, more of the men trying to buy me in exchange for work...I am really getting tired of this "egyptian system" of treating women, specially female dancers and, in particular, what they call " belly dancers"!

Oh, such an old boring theme, really...

As an answer to low attacks, I always answer in style (my style) and never going down to the level of the aggressors. I am too proud for that!

So, although I am so exhausted, it's WAR TIME and I never gave my back to war when I know God is on my side and all I ever did was to struggle for my Art with honesty and a white heart.

I am not afraid of fighting so...let the enemies presume they are winning the battle because there's still a war to be decided and there's no way I give up without ending it victorious (with God's help).

Then it came the TANGO...

And it was a sweet surrender to pain and pleasure... a smooth breeze in my body, something soothing to distract me from all the harships.

Dancing for pleasure - not for professional purposes - has its own secret taste.

Letting myself go in the arms of my partner and listening to that tender/passionate conversation happen through movement is pure magic.

Above all, I feel great to learn a new dance and flow with it, without deciding what to do all the time (as I do in my work).

I dance tango with my eyes shut. I did it the first time a professional grabbed me and danced with me (long time ago, in Spain) and I still do it. Tango is really pure feeling and listening to your partner's heart. So beautiful....

I close my eyes and let my partner take me away, talking to me in a language that is close to making love with your man. (Just sooooo damned sexy!)

If most people consider Oriental Dance as a sensual dance, then I tell them:

-Oh, please!!! Check Tango and then tell me about S-E-N-S-U-A-L-I-T-Y.

Oriental Dance is a sensual relation between the dancer and God within herself. It's me with myself in a highly elevated way, almost absent in my own body.

Tango, in comparison, is a sensual relation between a man and a woman, body to body, heart to heart. More carnal, more human in the earthy aspect of what Humanity is.

Tango is a conflict, a passional discussion between two lovers who cannot escape their human fragilities, attachment, jealousy, need of needing and being needed. Tango is not " me with myself" or " me and God within myself" but me and a man, both human and on fire.

How delicious can it get?!

And there I go, listening to my partner's heart beat and following him with my infamous eyes closed, giving him hints of who I am and how I love through simple dance steps, simple walking hand in hand.

I am delighted and anxious to get started with my first milonga. That will be amazing,,,

Classes are great but being in a milonga and practicing with different partners has its own magical adventure to it!

P.S. Who knew that Tango could be such a life saver?!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Baladi extravaganza by Joana Saahirah of Cairo

Cairo, the 20th November, 2010

Me in a baladi mood...going wild as usual!

Hey, I only do what I do.
Only am what I am.
And so proud of both!

Cairo, the 20th November, 2010

Glimpses of my own personal heaven
I have a blast at being myself, sometimes...

So complex and yet so simple in my needs and essential pleasures.
These past few days I was in a kind of personal paradise, away from Cairo and all its madness, and could disconnect (for a little while, at least) from all the hassle and headaches of life in the big, crazy, jungle-like city.

For me, heaven can be described in many ways but it can easily include real friends - GOOD QUALITY people I love to have around - nature and animals. If that comes with SEA in the package, then it's above HEAVEN.

This time, there was not enough time to extend my escape to the sea so I was near from Fayoum and, as usual, the biggest pleasures I enjoy are the simplest.

Besides simply spending time with great people I am learning to love, I also was around horses *(how beautiful can they be, by God's sake??!!) and a gorgeous baby lion * that I chased throughout the place like a mad teenage girl going after her first love.

I am happiest when I am surrounded by pure things (water, people, animals, nature in general, energy, intentions, colours...everything INTENSE, TRUE and PURE).

So it's no wonder I was the number 1 partner of the lion and an appreciative admirer of the horse's beauty and noble character.
I tend to have mild heart attacks when I see and touch some divine creatures like these ones. Tears come to my eyes due to their immaculate beauty. I get caught and entangled in their immense beauty, grandiosity, lack of vanity and strenght. I fall in love with them, like a naughty Cazanova (feminine version) going mad with too many passions.

One single heart cannot take so much passion..............................................too much!

It's just too much for my senses and heart to take...I explode from so much beauty!
Back to work and to crazy Cairo now.
Already missing my recently discovered retreat place and all the simple pleasures that reside in it (watching the sunset on the desert is not bad either...).
Next free days will be kept for the beach (more than one year without sun or sea has turned me into a milk advertisement perfect picture) or to go back to my newest passion: the baby lion.
And I ask myself: How childish can I be?!
And I answer myself: Wish I will never loose the child I was and still am. That's what keeps me from turning into a cold rock in this hard world which seemingly has lost its soul.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christina Aguilera - Something's Got a Hold On Me (Burlesque)

For my one and only LOVE!

In a Fayoum paradise need to even comment on it.

Just sending a special song for THE special man in my life.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cairo, the 16th November, 2010
Heading off to

Some times, the only thing we can do to survive is to run to PARADISE and that's what I will do.

Off from this crazy world for a few days to remain sane and light hearted!

Cairo is bathed in goat's blood everywhere (not a good thing for me) due to the communal killings for the Aid Feast. Living in Egypt has been, in great part, accepting what I cannot even start to understand. Everyone's freedom to be and believe in what they wish is at stake here and I have grown so much because - and despite - of that constant clash.

More shows and NEWS will follow soon......................................

Cairo, the 16th November, 2010

Honouring my masters

In Classical Indian dance there is a beautiful tradition from dancers that always left me delighted.

Before and after a performing - the DANCER offers her/his blessings, thanksgiving and humble recognition to the ground where the dance will take place, the masters who taugh her/him and, ultimately, GOD.

I usually thank my ground and God but, sadly, seem to forget my masters whose teachings remain with me until today, helping me to be who I became.

I often see a lot of ungratitude from current professionals of Dance towards their teachers.

May I say I am not one of them?!

There are a few essencial things I have learnt from myself, from watching reality pass by, from observing regular egyptian people interacting and dancing in relaxed occasions, by paying attention to wild animals and the general movement of Nature.

My feeling, my soul, my taste and all the creativity I put in my dance comes from me and it was not taught by any teacher as it wasn't taught how to struggle and persevere in an extremely hard path I chose: performing in Egypt!

Yet there were a few teachers (from the many I met) that were essential to me in different ways and opened my universe in a way I could have never done by myself.

The knowledge that is passed from master to student is sacred itself and something we should, as professional dancers, honour, remember and cherish.

A great teacher does not tell you what to do and how to do it but awakens in yourself that ability to RE-INVENT movement and make it your own. A teacher is someone who awakens you like a huge " knock-knock" at your soul's door.

From the teachers I learnt from, I have to point out a few of them to whom I have eternal gratitude:

1. Prisca Diedrich

German teacher who gave me my first Oriental Dance lesson when I didn't even know what Oriental Dance meant. Her natural, spiritual, wise approach to this dance has drawn a pure love in my heart ever since and it often makes me remember that the true impact of DANCE (though seen as a physical art) is always SPIRITUAL.

I have met her in Portugal.

2. Shokry Mohamed

Then again...another suprising master (sadly, not between us anymore) who showed me that Oriental Dance was, indeed, my path. I remember as if it was yesterday, when Shokry called me apart from the class, sat down with me in his lobby entrance and whispered in my ear: "You will be a great professional dancer."

I didn't believe him at the time - I was heading to be an actress, not an Oriental Dancer! - but this episode only shows how little I knew of my future...(still don't know a thing).

His beautiful, nubian hands and the divine expression on his face when he danced reminded me that SIMPLICITY and TRUE FEELING are stronger than the STRONGEST technique.

The odour of the incense he used to burn in his class is still lounging around my heart and I will never forget him.

I have met him in Spain, Madrid where I was studying Acting.

3. Mahmoud Reda.

Ohhhhh....what to say???

Mahmoud taught me all he knows - and more! - with total generosity, patience and love.

No other teacher has had so much faith in me and in my talent as Mahmoud and I love him dearly.

I learnt all the egyptian folclore from Mahmoud and the art of choreography which he still manages to do brilliantly. My life would have been a much poorer one if I didn't meet him.

My dear friend, Gene Kelly watching buddy, teacher, companion of so many laughs...

I met him in Egypt.

4. Souhair Zaki

Watching Souhair Zaki - around 6,7 years ago- dancing ENTA OMRI during a workshop organized by the also magnificent Md. Raqia Hassan was my Number 1 wake-up call that made me fully understand what ORIENTAL DANCE means.

It was like a strike of a lightning bolt in my heart, mind and soul. Everything was made clear and the accessory disappeared in front of the ESSENTIAL.

After that, I had the luxury to have a few private lessons with her and she always left me floating with divine joy. The pure feeling, soul, TRUE LOVE that poured from every movement were AMAZING! The question is not how many movements you can make but how much can you communicate with a few, truly felt movements that come from your soul.

I cried and cried all over again watching her dance. So vulnerable, simple and , at the same time, as POWERFUL as they come!


I met her in Egypt.

5. Mad. Raqia Hassan

A big one in my life for different reasons she doesn't even suspect about.

Besides the incredible workshops I took with her in all the editions of her

AHLAN WA SAHLAN FESTIVAL ( the biggest event of the area in the whole world!), she also represented the beginning of my dream to work and succeed as a dancer in Egypt.

She didn't actually encouraged me to do it but she pointed out paths to me in a way she cannot suspect and brought all these incredible teachers into the Light so that dancers like me could learn, grow and dream bigger!

I also met her in Egypt and thank her so much.

Cairo, the 16th November, 2010
The BODY of a DANCER is...




While stretching and getting ready for one more show yesterday night - which always feels like the first show ever! - I couldn't stop but wonder how amazing my body has been to me during all these years of professional (and amateur) dance, exhaustion, struggles, miscare from my part and general lack of thanksgiving.

It has been carrying me around life with such dignity, intensity, joy, feeling, oh my GOD!!!
How precious and life sustaining it has been and yet how unnoticed by me!

You usually don't realize the true value of what you've got until it's totally lost but I intend, once and for all, to give my body the recognition and love it deserves.

Why is that, sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to give love to yourself? And, if you don't know how to love yourself, how come you can give it to others?! (?!)
I checked my legs, my arms, my precious belly and hips that have given me so much, my deep eyes and my expressive hands and thanked God for this amazing instrument that has never failed me and then felt deeply moved by the miracle of how it all works and regenerated itself in order to keep me healthy, living, moving ahead.

That last night's show was dedicated to my own TEMPLE, the BODY of a Dancer.
The instrument God uses to speak about pleasures, life, love, death and rebirth.

Living between societies which still punish, limit and point the accusing finger to women's bodies and their free expression, it's a blessing for me to have this clear relationship with myself and treasure every part of this material being I am composed of.

The vision of my own expressive, sacred body will never leave me again and I will be forever thankful for all it has done for me and with me.

The body of a DANCER is...
ATTENTIVE and fast of reaction, bright and intelligent in its own special way.

Disciplined, "not giving up" kind of hard working, funny and impossible to predict.

Hungry for pleasures - all pleasures of the senses and the spirit - and thirsty for the holy water of LOVE.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cairo, the 15th November, 2010

Early bird shows (so anti-natural...)

Wishing a GREAT, HAPPY, BEAUTIFUL day to every one!

Today I will be an early dancing bird...first show to start within 30 minutes and the other ones to follow until 1.00h in the morning.
Knowing that I will, probably, have a limited time in Egypt (plans for new horizons on the move) makes me enjoy it even more than usual. I guess I will start taking FULL pleasure on each day I spend performing here because I will miss it so much in the future. I am sure of that.

Instead of forbidding Oriental Dance in Ramadan, they should forbid it in the mornings but, hey!, I am not the one who makes the laws in Egypt and the ones who do are well known opposite of geniuses so... duty calls!

LOVE to you all from an early dancing bird (sleepy, sleepy...)
(Great to laugh with my musicians since the morning, though!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cairo, the 14th November, 2010

Kamikaze show and

Happy on stage!

With less than one hour to prepare there I went running to the NILE MAXIM to substitute Randa Kamel (egyptian dancer for the ones who don't know her) who was not feeling well.

I had just arrived from my first tango lesson (this time, I will do it for matter what!) and relaxing a bit before leaving to do my next show in another part of the city when the phone rang and the urgent request to perform within an hour came to me as a kamikaze little bomb that I had to handle in my hands with care and...just make it work into a beautiful explosion!

Not enough time to reach all my musicians so I had to perform with the orchestra of Randa Kamel. They know me only by name (except the tabal who worked with me for a few months) and I don't know them. Also not enough time for a proper rehearsal.

Full house with VIP people...yeah, right! And there I was happily thrown to the lion's cage without a clue of how it would all work out.

In a few minutes, I arranged the full hour program with the orchestra and prayed to God for the energy to flow!

Not surprisingly, the show was AMAZING and I thank God for that.

People were actually yelling my name and doing cute, appreciative remarks during the whole show. I was as HAPPY as made me remember that, no matter how hard are the circumstances around me (or even inside me, at the moment), I am truly HAPPY on stage!

I've always been and now, ready to start planning a new phase in my life and probably leave Egypt to conquer another horizons, I realize how HAPPY I am on stage, sharing all that I am with people, my real life experiences and feelings...

Being a GREAT dancer requires LIVING a GREAT life, otherwise your dance will always be fake, look phony and forced like an acting disaster of a truly bad actor...You need to have REAL LOVE in your life in order to DANCE REAL LOVE on stage. You need to breath joy and excitement in your " real life" in order to communicate that on stage in a truthful, credible way.

Dancers are not actors and I guess that's a common mistake in my profession.

A dancer should always RE-LIVE on stage the magnitude of his/her REAL LIFE, outside the stage. For that and in the sake of my DANCING, I am hungry for LIFE out there...thirsty for passion, for tango embraces with a gorgeous man, for sweet apples and magical treaps, for laughs and tears that come from the deepest place in my soul.

To dance better, I have to live better and MORE...oh, and I will...I am...... HAPPY on stage!

Cairo, the 14th November, 2010

New dreams, new life...
A broken heart can bring so many blessings...and it will.
Dreaming about India, about the upcoming successes, passions, true love...
Realizing the TRUTH can be deeply hurtful but also LIBERATING....
Ask God for protection and guidance so that from sadness may come bigger joys and from a wounded person can arise a NEW, STRONGER, ever more BEAUTIFUL one.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Joana Saahirah of Cairo dancing baladi and tabla improvisation in Egypt

Cairo, the 13th November, 2010

And one of my famous baladi improvisations...

If I dare not to dance one of my baladis, I suspect I will have tomatoes and other culinary delights (like lebanese hummus and fallafel ) thrown at my face...

The audience (specially egyptians, the best audience in the world!) DEMANDS one of my baladi improvisations and, if I don't do it in one show, there are complaints and assertive requests!

So I concede and do it with all my pleasure, joy and FIRE.

My dance is me...simply as that. And I am LIFE!!! So full, so much, so intense all the time that it makes me tired, some times, of being myself! LOL


Cairo, the 13th November, 2010

Free tabla...crazy and free as usual!

I don't know another way of living LIFE - and DANCING - if not with my FULL passion and EMOTIONS.

That's me: exaggerated, REAL, truthful, always TOTAL and PRESENT in all that I do.

In this improvised (the usual) solo tabla you can feel a bit of my sense of freedom and the immense pleasure I take in LIFE. I hope all the disappointments and exhaustion will never change me and put this FIRE off.

I pray to God!

Joana Saahirah of Cairo dancing Reda Troupe Saiidi

Cairo, the 13th November, 2010

Dancing Saiidi with an old Reda Troupe theme!

Here I am dancing one of the many musical themes I borrowed from my dearest teacher-friend-dance soul mate, Mahmoud Reda.

Love you, Mahmoud!

Now and always, I thank you for all you taught me and for all the inspiration and faith you keep instilling in my life.

Rihanna - What's My Name? ft. Drake

Cairo, the 13th November, 2010

Eye (and heart) candy!

To cheer you up.:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Power Of Love - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

No need to post dates, places and comments.

The video says it ALL.

Cairo, the 12th November, 2010

The Power of LOVE (in my heart and around me)!

May it be stronger, greater, more LIFE changing than all the evilness in the Universe

(and dark forces will always be smashed under the feet of God).

"We are not human beings

having a spiritual experience;

We are spiritual beings

having a human experience."

(Teillard de Chardin)

Cairo, the 12th November, 2010

Parvati, the Hindu Goddess of Love and Devotion and the Witch in me!

A curious fact in my also curious (to say the least!) life is the amount of times I have been suspected of being a witch (yes, you read it well...besides being a belly dancer temptress, I am also supposed to be a witch!!!) and casting spells on men who fall madly in love with me due to those so called spells. How ridiculous and ironic is this?! I am always helpless and in lack of a proper answer for this one!

I wish they were right because, in that case, I would have been spared of so many tears in the past.

To make things clear, I am not a witch, at least not in that negative sense I am often accused of (and that always makes me laugh).

I cast my spells on my own life and the lives of the ones I love wishing for my and their dreams to come true, giving us faith in ourselves to move forward, even in the midst of the hardest circumstances. That's the only spell I ever had in my heart and mind.

Sorry to disappoint the ones who insist on painting me as the devilish men eater...
I am not that character! Sorry, folks.
To make things even clearer, here is my one and only SPELL:

I surrender to the Universe/God's wishes for the Supreme Goodness of everyone and everything alive and I pray that LOVE and LIGHT will always win over HATE and DARKNESS.

Now... that's the only spell I know about. If that classifies as being a wicked, evil witch who eats the poor men at breakfast with a baby spoon, then I guess I am a Witch!

Cairo, the 12th November, 2010

Running,buy Cairo...

Away from this world for some time...ahhhhhaaaa...................
I was really needing it.

Giving my back to everything and everyone which is not made of the GOOD stuff!

Ashes and Snow- Feather to Fire

And this is how I found my video...

This is me, raw and true from the inside out. My absolute desire for totally, truth, pure love and BEAUTY, LIFE in all its grandiosity and wonder...

Inside my mind, I always walk along with these panthers, I hug them, kiss them and lay down in the sand with them interwining my hips on theirs.

Then I look them deep in their eyes where all the answers I need have their eternal home (there are piercing mirrors of myself in their eyes) and return to PEACE (my original home).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cairo, the 12th November, 2010

Going away from Cairo for a few days...I just had to escape!

No way I could avoid an explosion so...
after tonight's early shows, all I think about is going away to Paradise (that is practically everywhere far away from Cairo), just a for a few days.

Right now, I would be a potencial Hiroshima bomb in this city...I would explode on any victim's face just because I heard him saying "Good Morning" in an annoying tone.

Everything seems to be getting on my nerves lately and all the injustices I have been dealing with leave me exhausted, hopeless, lost for direction and longing for an urgent escape.

I can usually hold my temper - otherwise, I would be fighting 24 hours per day in Egypt - but enough is enough and when I reach that certain point of not being able to take the slightest drop of's better to disappear.

I am never tired from teaching, dancing, choreographing, writing and creating. I could do it 24 hours per day (actually, that's quite what I already do!) and never get tired but the whole thing around me and the lack of human quality I am in touch with on a daily basis just throws me into the deepest hole of disappointment.

My heart is my weak point, I have to admit it...nothing and no one can put me down so deep as when they are bad, act bad, think bad, do something bad towards me or others, touching my heart in the wrong way. Human evilness still surprises me, brings me down, makes me wanna become a fish, a bird and just fly away from here..............................

Such a strong will power in me, such a strong character, mind and body but such a fragile heart which gets hurt so easily...sometimes, it's difficult to be in my own skin dealing with all these contrasts that compose who I am.

I am wasted and loosing all my energy on the environment that I am living in. Bad people everywhere trying to take advantage of me in different ways, liers and cheaters, sexual harassement and job opportunities offered in exchange for's just toooooooooo much. I can't take it anymore, really...
Curiously enough, I managed to get my current mood on pictures taken tonight by the hand of my assistant who, as usual, loves to film me and photograph me. I don't mind to be filmed and photographed, any ways so we're good in that department.

As I know myself, I can see how hard it was to dance tonight...I see the sadness in my eyes in these photos, the exhaustion, the breathless desperation...Also curious was the result of the show: AMAZING.

Who knew?! Sometimes, it's in the moments of deepest sadness that I do my best dancing work. I become languid, nostalgic, smooth in my need for a coocon to hide from the world, relaxed because there's no extra energy to be tense, flowing with Life because I quit fighting the flood...the results are often surprising.

Wishing to get away from here as fast as I can...

badly drawn boy- year of the rat

Cairo, the 11th November, 2010

The power of unconditional LOVE (and the HUG that comes with it)

Against all evilness, only true unconditional LOVE can win. May it happen like this, always.

Signs Out of Time - Marija Gimbutas - p1 sott ita

Cairo, the 11th November, 2010

Thanks, Zara!

This video and the ones which follow are essencial information for women and men who are interested about LIFE and Truth. It can also shed some powerful light into the origins of Oriental Dance.

I am fascinated and inspired...

Amazing, fascinating stuff around here.

Thank you, Zara, for sending me this incredible video and saving my day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cairo, the 11th November, 2010

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!

And I am not dead so...good news!
I am stronger and eager to fight back with my claws, character and courage.
If only these men had the slightest idea of what it means the word WOMAN!

And my diplomatic word for every pasha who thinks he can buy me is a candid and sweet: Fuck yourself!
Cairo, the 11th November, 2010

Oh, the familiar same old Cairo tears...

The struggle never seems to end and the persistence (and lack of character) of most egyptian/arab rich men is revolting.
For four years of hard, solitary struggle I managed - with God's help - to build my name and be respected as an artist in a country where Oriental Dancers are still seen as prostitutes.
For four years, I have denied dirty offer after dirty offer and spit on so many men's faces for confusing me with a prostitute. It's known in the egyptian market that no man will have me in bed in exchange for work opportunities and yet some of them keep trying and punishing me over and over again because I denied them what they wish to have.

Women seen as objects and men's property is a local subject that I never got over with.
Dancers seen as the biggest prostitutes (and most of them are, indeed, prostitutes and that contributes to confirm and extend people's prejudices) has been the hardest thing to deal with since my arrival to Egypt and the Middle East, in general.

If you don't allow any pasha to take you by his arm and exhibit you in public as his latest sexual conquest, you're mostly screwed, sooner or later. These men do not forget a refusal and they keep trying and trying to catch you, hoping you will concede, give up your principles, reach the conclusion that you cannot grow in your career unless you become their girlfriend of the moment.

For the 10000th time, I say it out loud:
I choose the man I sleep with.
I choose the man I go out with.
I don't get envolved with any man to get work or any benefit.
I am that kind of incompreensible alien who chooses men for LOVE and not for other secondary interests.

I go out with my male friends - whom I choose because they're good, interesting people who care about me and with whom I have somethings in common - and I go out with the man I love.

What these rich, influencial guys cannot understand is that not every woman has a price tag on her ass.
What they don't understand is that I would prefer to die before I would even consider going out or sleeping with them for career opportunities.
What they don't understand - or keep ignoring - is that I am a
W-O-M-A-N and not a dog.

Once more, I am screwed (in lack of a better word) for being honest.
It seems that, in Egypt and all Middle East, talent and professionalism do not count a bit. You need to be a prostitute before you are given the chance to be an artist.

I thought I was already over this drama but Egypt keeps surprising me in strange ways...
Tears of rage fall down my cheeks with a sadness that I thought I had forgotten.
It's not fair, it's just not fair...

But they will not break me.
I could eat low standard guys like these for breakfast, if I wished...
I am appalled and for that a new strenght and rage to fight back grows inside me.
The war is not over yet.

Cairo, the 10th November, 2010

The winds of change...

I've always been a gipsy so, to the ones who know me well, it's not strange to watch as new winds take me to different horizons in search of love, adventure, learning, joy and - ultimately - LIFE!

I am at the biggest crossroads of my life so far and , by God, I've had a few of them until now!

Sitting on my throne and smiling at the treasures I managed to gather is not part of my personality. I enjoy the chasing, the challenge, the fight, the path and not so much the time when I am sitting upon a victory.

Don't get me wrong...I thank God for all the blessings in my life and for giving me the tools (strenght, intelligence, talent, energy, health, courage,etc,etc,etc) to accomplish my dreams but the fire that I am made of is starting to burn too hot... the sole of my feet is mind is already in far away lands and I have to choose between two very different, important, crucial paths...which one will bring me more happiness in the long run?

Well, only God knows (if He does!)... you never know. But you know you have to MOVE...because LIFE is movement as opposed to death which is stagnation, the opposite of movement.

Right now, a completely new phase of live shows is happening for me in Cairo. Constant changes in my orchestra make me unstable but also estimulate me to keep working hard and make the best use of each musician's abilities.
Besides that, I have people arriving from all over the world to watch me perform and take classes with me. How much I am looking forward to it...

While dancing and re-creating my style, my life direction and myself, I am careful for so many opposing forces working against me though I know I am a damned bad looser so...the battle is going to be fierce and I am not ready to give the victory to the enemies.

Fighting the GOOD BATTLE against the BAD BATTLE.

May God always shower LIGHT, WISE SENSE and LOVE in my heart because those have always been my biggest weapons and vital strenght in all the battle fields I had to duel in.

May Love and Kindness of the heart WIN over evilness and the dark hearts which cannot stand other people's happiness and true love.

May The Supreme Good prevail and the evil forces be smashed under the fist of the GREATEST, MOST LOVING HEARTS.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rihanna - Te Amo

Cairo, the 9th November, 2010

Sexy and free...

Love this video.

Besides being visually beautiful and raw, I love the freedom beneath it. It speaks about a love of a woman for another woman in such a prejudice-free, passionate way...I think that's just lovely.

Enjoy all this passion and fire...yeahhhh....Rihanna is just up-there!

Cairo, the 9th November, 2010


These three magic words can be a REVOLUTION in someone's lives.

We often hear a lot of " No, you can't!" but very few " Yes, you can!".

As far as I am concerned, I am and have always been a proud " Yes, you can" kind of girl. I say it to myself everytime I have a dream to accomplish, I say it to my students and strangers who come to me for inspiration and help and I say it to my family and loved ones with no hesitation.

I am aware there are forces in the Universe working with us in the building of our future but the part that corresponds to our ACTION towards ALL that we wish for ourselves cannot be forgotten in the sake of Destiny's tide. You can work hand in hand with your own half-written destiny. It takes a considerable hard work to do so but it's the only way you can live by the motto: " Yes, you can!"

I once heard from a wise friend the following phrase:

A spell is a combination of prayer, intention and action.

How wonderful it is to know that our thoughts, intentions and actions lead to our dreams or to our defeat and frustration in life???
Oh, yes. There's the responsability we have to assume for our lives but with it also comes the tasteful FREEDOM and SELF-EMPOWERMENT.

It also takes a very strong person to work with this infinite tide of the Universe-Destiny but I know by experience we can have ALL that we want.

My magical words for YOU (you know who you are) are:

" Yes, you CAN!"
You can have all you dreamed of in your personal and professional life.
You can do whatever you wish because you have to strenght to make it happen and...
I believe in you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cairo, the 9th November, 2010

Min kher leh (next musical theme I will dance in my show)

The great Mohamed Abdul Wahab composed the song Min Kher Leh (Don't ask why) for the also famous Abdel Halim Hafez to sing.
Mahmoud (Reda), my sweet teacher and eternal friend explained to me that Abdel Halim got to the rehearsals phase with the song but died before he could record it so Mohamed Abdul Wahab recorded it himself at the time, using this old recording many years later when it was edited in a tape with other themes.

Dancing this song in my show illustrates what I wish to say to a very special person in my life.

As an artist, I always used my own real life - states of mind, passions, sadness and happiness - as inspiration and material to work with. This time is no exception.

So, without asking why (ask God and the stars why...or...min kher leh...), I have to tell my man how much I love him.

Respect comes from character quality and I respect you.
Appreciation comes from well deserved esteem from all the good deeds you are capable of and I appreciate you.
Admiration comes from talent and ability to do something exceptional and I admire you.
But...Passion and love come from God. No reason. No why.
Min kher leh...I have to tell you how much I LOVE YOU and wish this divine feeling will always grow and make us fly together.
To the man of my life, my love, my only weakness , I will dance Min Kher Leh...

In your hands I surrender and leave behind the wild tiger I usually am. In your hands I am only LOVE because that's all I receive from you (and that's how you got the secret to enter my heart, well done, you!).

I will dance this song thinking of you, breathing you, feeling you inside me as you always are.

From a true lion who becomes a sweet cat in your hands ('re not afraid of cats anymore!), I whisper in your ear:
Love you so much...
and everything will be peace sleeping under the stars in divine silence...
and pure water will be running down our feet.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cairo, the 7th November, 2010

Looking for the Woman in me (in my life as in my dance)

Why can't I be one of the sheeps? Act and think according to the masses and the society I live in?
Rest above my well earned successes and smile with my pride?
Why can't I be small minded, at times if that brings such comfort? Sometimes, I wish I had less brain, less heart and soul so that I wouldn't feel so much, see so much and live - day by day - with that urgency to experience everything in life as a burning - often painful - flame that never goes off.

While dancing, I search for the Woman in me. The TOTAL woman that feels herself 100% in her body, emotions and soul. I run away from conventional movement and music and, instead of it, I look out for a true version of my best self. In DANCE as in LIFE. Always urgent - as if I was going to die tomorrow and yet...maybe I will...- and always way to passionate for a world which has turned into cold rock.

I often wish I didn't have all this fire burning inside me but then...why live if I didn't?!

"I am forever punished by the gods for being given the fire and trying to put it out.
The fire, of course, is you."
Richard Burton refering to Elizabeth Taylor

Cairo, the 7th November, 2010

"Furious love"

Antony, what has happened? - she demands of him.
To which he replies, "To me? You have happened to me." >>
Piece from the book I am currently in love with: FURIOUS LOVE, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century
by the authors Sam Kashner & Nancy Schoenberger

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cairo, the 7th November, 2010

Happy Birthday,
Queen (Mallak)!

This is a very personal post for a very special little girl called Mallak.
From all I've heard of her, I already know she's a Queen and she's loved by her father as I have never seen any father love his daughter so she's lucky that way, just to start. Watching that is already a lucky you are for having a father like yours. :)
Because I know she already has the most important thing in the world (LOVE), I can only wish her on this birthday all the things that will follow on the list I write from my heart, right here:
1. I wish you will always be healthy, happy and with loving people around you to play with you, teach you the ways of the world and how to enjoy this beautiful LIFE because LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, it's ADVENTURE, it's a DREAM!
2. I wish you will grow up to be the most beautiful woman in the world, proud of yourself, intelligent, creative and bright in whatever you wish to be. Be a queen in your heart and character and you will walk and be treated by others like a Queen! Everybody knows when a Queen enters the room...
3. I wish you will always know how blessed you are and how beautiful is this world because you exist in it.
4. I wish you will always be happy because this LIFE is made for our happiness and nothing else more. Ask your father about that, he will tell you.
5. I wish you will always have all the hugs, kisses, loving words of support and tenderness you deserve because GREAT WOMEN are made of LOVE and LIGHT.
Happy Birthday, Mallak, ya katkut baba!
All my LOVE to you.:)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Alice Dancing Under the Gallows - Official Trailer


And everything is said.

This video has moved me like no other...for such a long time. And it says so much of what I have always felt and it gives me more LIGHT, more inspiration, MORE JOY for being ALIVE.

The Power of Art, Music, Spirit over any adversity.

So beautiful...

Cairo, the 4th November, 2010
The resilience of HAPPINESS!
I've learnt so far that being truly - and continuously - HAPPY takes a lot of stupidity or extreme intelligence, resilience and sense of warrior.
The ones in the middle simply get lost and bury in constant valleys of hopeless tears.
Extreme stupidity can be useful in this matter as a person doesn't even realize how unfortunate he/she is and how bad some situations can be in their quality, consequences and effects on our mood and life conditions.
The intelligent ones who DO see, feel, realize everything inside and around them have no other choice: work hard - and brightly - over their tricky minds or get lost in the ups and downs of this life.
It takes a lot of mental discipline to be happy on a constant basis. What an effort and a struggle with our own demons, with the perceptions of reality that tells us
@hey, silly dude...why on earth are you smiling when everything is so f..........up???!!!@
Oh, yes. It takes an army of internal brave warriors for an intelligent person to manage this daily happiness routine.
And it takes faith, blind faith that doesn't depend on how circumstances look like. It takes a bit of children's naivete (as a spice you use to bring life to a culinary dish) and a good dose of madness.
When you mix all these together and still have the stamina to get them boiling in your fireplace, day after day, tear after tear, joy after joy, then you locate yourself on that diaphanous string of eternal JOY.
Yes, it takes a lot of STRENGHT to be HAPPY on a continuous basis. And it's exhausting, at times. And it's surely worth it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cairo, the 3rd November, 2010

The dance:
a minimum of explanation, a minimum of anecdotes,
and a maximum of sensations.

(Maurice Bejart)

Arabic Songs (Eng. Subs) Kifak Inta كيفك إنت

Cairo, the 3rd November, 2010

My favourite song from my far from favourite singer (Fairouz)

Fairouz (lebanese biggest DIVA) has been a subject of argument and argumental fighting between me and lots of lebanese. They say she's the best, I answer Om Kolthoum IS THE BEST.

They love her voice, I think it's too high pitched and gives me headaches.

They say her reportoire is innovative and I say her reportoire is a mix of copies from different songs from all around the world with a sense of identity loss that does not, particularly, appeal to me.

Yet this song makes me enter in direct contradiction with myself.

Kifak enta is special...don't really know why.

Wish I could dance it one day, also don't know why.

And yes, I assume my absolute contradictions and unsolved mysteries. I must hate Fairouz so much that I listen to her again and again in this song that makes me wanna dance...

(Don't even try to figure me out! Neither will I.)

Cairo, the 3rd November, 2010

My Master and Dear Friend Mahmoud Reda...

After so many phone calls and delays (from my side) to, finally, see each other, I was caught by my dearest friend and patient teacher MAHMOUD REDA (God keep him healthy and safe for many years) and dragged to his studio with no possibility of an excuse.

After two hours in the traffic in order to reach his studio ( where Reda Troupe first trained many, many years ago...), there was that hug, our undescribable hug that comes from deep afection, tenderness, mutual respect and a friendship/partnership that goes beyond everything, even his name and mine (Mahmoud Reda was the creator of REDA TROUPE and is considered all over the world as the FATHER of EGYPTIAN FOLKLORE).

I was honoured to have learnt all the egyptian folklore from him in first hand. He personally - patiently, generously - taught me everything he knows and more...

For that I will be eternally thankful and in debt to him.

With my learning process came the teaching and travelling together, the festivals, the rehearsals and choreographies he built by my side (under my fascinated, curious eyes).

Our sing-along together, our own dancing in the rain in England, our private jokes, his sense of humour that I match with my very own devilish sense of humour, our cumplicity and friendship.

So I feel ashamed to admit I don't dedicate as much time and attention as I should to my dear Mahmoud and yet today we hugged, laughed, danced together as if we had been seeing each other every other day.

When he dropped me at home, here's how the final conversation went:

-You know, Joana. You should not let me without seeing you for such a long time.

-I will not, Mahmoud. I promise (and, when I promise, I HAVE to do it!)

-You shine everywhere you go.

-That's sweet, Mahmoud. But what do you mean?

-I mean that you bring life to every place you enter, you bring shine and the sun to everywhere you go. It's like the sun is entering a room.
(I was speechless). Just smiled and kissed him.

My dear master, friend, partner of secret jokes only both of us understand.

Again and again I will tell you: I LOVE YOU, MAHMOUD.