Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Being YOURself"

An egyptian friend of mine has been immersed in a series of doubts and fears.

-I really want to open my own "coiffeur" but...- She started telling me with the classical "buts" of someone who doesn´t REALLY want to take the chances, the work and the potential troubles to make something HAPPEN.

-But what?! Do you feel you WANT to do it? Do you feel you can do it RIGHT? - I answered, with less patience than I wish I had.

-Well, yeah. I think so but imagine what people will talk. It is a "coiffeur" for women AND men, know Egypt. Even my parents are against the idea. Just think what people will say about me. - She continued, looking at the floor in desolation.

-I know it is important for you what your family and neighbours and...and...everybody!...thinks but you will NEVER do something that makes YOU happy if you continue to bother yourself with other people´s opinions. Look at me, I am a dancer, for God´s sake. Half the time people think I am a prostitute because of my profession and the other half they think I am a nun because I don´t sleep around with the men that come after me. So...

-Yes, but you are a foreigner. You can take it. I can´t. - She concluded, not leaving me space for further arguments.

No one can push anyone else to TAKE the steps to FREEDOM. Only oneself can do it. It just makes me nuts when I hear anyone complaining about how "they can´t" do this and that when I KNOW, for a fact, that "YES, you CAN" do anything if you re willing to do the WORK and pay the PRICE for it. I am not "naif" to the point of affirming dreams fall from the sky - bad news, they don´t! - yet I know, by my own experience, that YOU are the ONLY REAL OBSTACLE for not doing what is in your heart.

Whatever you do or NOT do, people will talk. That s certain in Egypt, I guess everywhere. One minute I am seen as a prostitute and the other I am a frigid nun, who cares? I´ve been called a lesbian - also because I refuse lots of men who think they´re irresistible - an arrogant, a man eater, God and the devil know what else. Did I EVER cared about all this nonsense?!

Hell, NO.

If I did, I would not move anywhere.

Remember, sister:

"Good girls go to heaven,

bad girls go everywhere!!!" and by "bad girls" they mean "every girl who dares to BE herself and DO what she dreams doing". So move your "derrière" and LIVE.

(ah, and let them F.......themselves talking and talking...while they TALK about you, you are LIVING and ENJOYING your life.)

Got it?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Gift for all of my friends, followers, fans, students, fellow Artists, fellow Human Beings.

A great video with a simple, yet POWERFUL message to let inside your heart and CHANGE your Life.

Enjoy and Blessed be the first step of this 2012 journey:


Rumi ´s MAGIC:

" In your light I learn how to love.

In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art."


(kindly sent by Kathreen Saab)

"L´agente provocateure...oui, c´est moi!"

Provocations. The things that provoke-AWAKEN your mind and beyond.

"If you cannot dance, it s not my revolucion."

Emma Goldman,

Anarchist, activist and writer

May 2012 be a FABULOUS year...

With Hope ***(essential, though not enough) and ACTIONS that may lead to better times.

No one knows what the Future will bring and there are some pretty pessimistic predictions for the famous year of 2012 but I SAY: "Do your part." With that, you ll be contributing for a better world. If every single one of us do our parts, the WHOLE will change as the WHOLE is US, each one of us.

Great dreams and wishes for this new year and joy for the end of 2011, the year of loss, Revolution, maturity, Learning, disappointments that lead me to even greater STRENGHT, LIGHT coming out of the darkness.

New shows, events, book, friendships, LOVE, passions, trips around the world, DREAMS coming TRUE are already in my AGENDA of 2012.

Putting the trash in the trash, letting go of old, harmful beliefs and everything/everyone which/who doesn t deserve to be in my WORLD.

This will make SPACE for the greatest things.

Egypt wishes the WORLD a FABULOUS 2012. I wish too!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Images that speak more than words:

Have yourselves an AMAZING 2012!!! Half of it is in your own hands, the other half in the Universe/God´s hands. Doing our parts will get us half the way or even all the way to the places where we are supposed to GO.....................

So they

taught us...

Cultural misunderstandings.

Criss-cross cultural relationships are great.

You can learn and experience life from different points of view when in love with a foreign man/woman. You can also put yourself in a huge mess.

Classical situations:

Egyptian/arab man sees woman and wants to have sex with her.

What does he do?

If she´s a foreigner, he tries to get her in bed with sweet talking, poetry, romantic exaggerations and a thousands "you´re the moon, you´re the sun". It is "known" that foreigners are FREE and this only means one thing in these heads: she fools around with every men in town and nobody cares about it (sweet plus one: foreigner women are all rich, according to local mentality).

If she´s an egyptian or arabic woman, then he tries to sleep with her (both of them are sexual beings, although current mentality tries to deny it...then, if she´s really afraid of her family, society and the consequences of losing virginity before marriage, he man MARRIES HER.

Whoa, Nelly! Marrying someone just to be able to have sex with her/him?! Well, yeah.

Does he love her? Does she love him? Well, that s not REALLY the question.

The question is they both want to go to bed together ( and I don´t mean "to have a good night sleep") but the only legal, morally accepted way to do it is marrying each other. So they do.

After they do and get tired of the sex craze fest they longed for so much there is nothing but divorcing or sticking up to each other, having children, perpetuating the machine of procriation that will produce future generations of islamic defenders. They put up with each other´s mutual hate with the same martyrdom and patience as their fathers and mothers, eventually, did.

Then he cheats on his wife openly (men are allowed to do that and they re called "BIG SHOTS")or marries another wives (until four of them for whom he is finantially responsible) and she cheats on her husband "under the table" (women are NOT allowed to do that and, if they´re discovered, they re considered prostitutes and punished in many different ways).

The confusion between sexual desire and marriage is a constant over here, consequence of the repression both sexes are always living in.

If you re not allowed to taste food in a natural way, then all you think about and that blinds you to the existence or possibility of anything else like...that silly old thing called...LOVE.

Kind of logical, don´t you think?! Curious how LOGIC can mean so many different things to so many different people.

Understanding Egypt is also understanding Islam.

I have nothing against any RELIGION. Actually, I have a big respect for all forms of RELIGION, that is anything and everything that Re-UNITES people with each other and with their Divine source/root.

The fact that the so called "religions" of this world have been dividing, oppressing, exploiting, dominating, mistreating human beings while they manipulate their minds (for political benefits of the powerful and finantially rich people) is another subject.

While working as a dancer and living in Egypt I have been curious about many things I never managed to understand. That s one of the perks of LIVING in such a "different" place. That includes a way of thinking (or better said, NOT thinking), acting, living. Islam is a BIG part of this "difference" that separates me from this land and one that I could never really get used to.

Sure I love the beautiful voice of a "muezzin" calling for the prayer or a beautiful recitation of the Coran. Sure I also love the sense of compassion, community, mutual help and support that comes from the practice of this religion. BUT...I cannot accept the hipocrisy, anti natura rules and oppression that is also going around Islam in Egypt (and worse, in many other arabic countries). Denying Human Nature is only turning human beings into monsters. Oppressing WOMEN is only oppressing more than half Humanity. Not allowing people to QUESTION their own religion and to act according to their own conscience is the easy way to create silly machines that only do what they´re told to do, as well trained dogs. That may be the interest of the political powers (which know, learning from History, that Religions have always been a huge help when it comes to exploitation) but, I think (so sorry for daring to "THINK"!) not of the interest of the people.

Egypt is not EGYPT anymore for many centuries. Its pharaonic origin is still around, you can smell it in the air but only if you have the special "radars" for it. If not, pharaonic Egypt is only a picture of touristic panflets, History books, half broken monuments full of dust and sadness spread all over Egypt.

Many colonizers occupied Egypt but none has left such as strong stamp on it as the Arabs (making sure that original EGYPTIANS are not ARABS). In that stamp there is a king: Islam.

This legacy has been reinforced, year by year, by many powers at stake (egyptian emmigrants that went to the Gulf areas and Saudi Arabia to work returning to Egypt with religious extremist ideas they picked up in these countries, Saudi Arabian money injected in Egypt with the conditions of another type of "control", foreign interests that want an uneducated, easily dominating people in this country, for their own profit and benefits).

Then again...nothing against Islam but all against ignorance, oppression, hipocrisy and ANY religion that does not make people more HUMAN, more ALIVE, HAPPIER, more intelligent, more active, more of themselves and less of the crap many try to sell them as "the word of God".

There is also a difference between Islam and the way egyptians - and others - practice what they call Islam. The Coran itself is written in classical arabic ("fuss´ha") which is something not understandable for most egyptians. So there are the sheiks and all the others who offer themselves to READ and INTERPRET what illiterate people cannot.

From this point, all kinds of lies, manipulating and stupidity are born and real ISLAM seems to be substituted by an invented version of Islam that serves the purposes of a few powerful groups.

Understanding Islam is understanding contemporary Egypt and, no doubt, one of the big reasons why Oriental Dance is being chased, criticized, point at as cheap prostitution and such for many generations.

Simply because I refuse dogmas and prejudices of any kind, I insist on knowing more.

Here s the book I am LOVING:

"Inside ISLAM,

The Faith, the People and the conflicts of the world´s fastest growing religion"

Several authors

*Also reading "José e Pilar", a compilation of interviews given by the portuguese writer José Saramago (Winner of the Nobel Prize of Literature) and Pilar, his wife.

Curiously enough, Saramago was an atheist (he didn´t believe in the existence of God).

Accepting other people´s points of view, faiths, will, even their ignorance (at our eyes) is a huge help when it comes to LEARNING. The ones who are so sure of their own dogmas and reject to put them to the test are usually the ones who stay in the past, frozen in their own little, limited world. As a professional DANCER, ARTIST, it is my duty and pleasure to LEARN from everybody and listen to all kinds of things, knowing that my own BRAIN and CONSCIENCE will filter what s GOOD and what ´s simple damn bullshit.

Knowing Oriental Dance is so much more than "just dance"...

I´ve said it on and on...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No need to ask me WHY I LOVE EGYPT...!!!...

"It was just one of those things, one of those crazy flings..." said Cole Porter in a famous song.

I m no Cole Porter so I doubt I can say it better.

Just wonder WHY so many people ask me WHY I live and work as a Dancer in Egypt and WHY I love all this chaos of Cairo.

Yesterday I was reminded of the many complex

reasons that justify this LOVE (as if LOVE was a matter of "justification"!).

Watched, once more, the Sufi show at the "El Khoury Palace" in the Hussein (beautiful way of celebrating Islam through music and dance, although restricted to MEN) and participated in a spontaneous "zaar" session in the heart of a Cairo neighbourhood that I BET no tourist has ever seen. This is what I call the psychologist of the people, specially women, because that s the place where they can release feelings, rage, exhaustion, sadness, all the "demons" inside of themselves through music and dance.

The dialect, rythms and lyrics are specific to the "zaar", they are no common songs. Neighbours come from all the neighbourhood (many of them in their pajamas and night gowns) to play, sing and dance in order to expell what does not need to remain inside them. Supersticions apart, this is a lovely way to LIBERATE oneself...THROUGH MUSIC AND DANCE...where - oh where? - did I ever listened to this?

The diversity and contrasts of this country, this crazy city are MESMERIZING, MIND BLOWING, HEART EXPANDING, SOUL touching...

No need to ask me why I LOVE EGYPT. I just do, as long as it fascinates me as it still does until today. As long as it TEACHES me about ART and HUMANS as this great school still does with me. As long as God wants because only God can make a LOVE be born or disappear into thin air, transforming itself into memory and smooth smiles on the angels´s faces...

"Everything that irritates us in others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves."

Carl Jung

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The girl who loved Beautiful things.

She searched for them everywhere, as a street kid searches for trouble.

She looked for it everywhere, every day, in every real and imaginary corner, in every person she met *(apparently ugly or beautiful), in every animal, bridge, sky, river, tear or bursting laughter.

Because she searched for Beauty everywhere, she FOUND IT.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In a time of...

In a time of division, we can say UNION.
In a time of fights, we can say PEACE.

In a time of hate, we can say LOVE.

In a time of chaos, we can say TRANQUILITY.

In a time of deceive, we can say the TRUTH.

In a time of repression, we can say LIBERATION.

In a time of darkness, we can say LIGHT.

In a time of uncertainties, we can say I KNOW.

In a time of loss, we can say COMPASSION.

In a time of blindness, we can say I SEE.

In a time of ignorance, we can say ART.

In a time of no soul, we can say ART.

In a time of apparent "no salvation", we can say ART.

In a time when the meaning of LOVE seems to be lost, we can say ART.

In a time where ART doesn t seem to flourish, we can only say and DO ART.

In Art that arises from LOVE lays the salvation of HUMANITY.

Christmas inspirations...

Some times, the best Christmas presents are the unexpected!

My niece and one of our family dogs, Sandokan, preparing the team to deliver presents.

Alice as Santa Claus and Sandokan as the reindeer who carries the presents and slides them through North Pole and the world skies in the mission of making all children of the world happy.

If only real life would be that easy...but it doesn t hurt to imagine and keep this GIVING SPIRIT alive, does it?!

وهلأ لوين؟ Where Do We Go Now - Official Trailer

Nadine Labaki did IT again. Well, not again...BIG TIME!
Now showing in cinema rooms in Cairo - and probably in another cities of the Arab World - here it is THE MOVIE. Of the season, of the year, of THIS TIME.

I was already a big fan of Nadine Labaki but now she bought a piece of my admiration for LIFE.
A PIECE of ART that achieves what all true ART does: Reaching the Human heart and CONSCIENCE.

In times of chaos and division, we HAVE to WAKE up and UNITE as Human Beings.
Religions do not divide us.
Gender or political points of view neither.
Sexual orientation, colour, race, tastes or even faiths. In the end and in the beginning, HUMAN BEINGS are all ONE single brother and sisterhood.

THIS movie is a MUST SEE. An URGENT one. An ESSENTIAL one.

White Christmas - Charlie Parker Quintet

The coolest Christmas tunes very proper to dance, laugh and receive this season in the right spirit:
Love and Faith with little steps that turn out to result in BIG dreams BEcoming TRUE.
Cool with a cappuccino on my hands, cool with your own family gathering around the Christmas tree anywhere in the world, cool for New York snow and cool for Cairo s fantastic energy.

Always, but ALWAYS cool to DANCE!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My very own little Christmas gift to you ALL.

Judy Garland - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

My all time Christmas favourite song, marvellously sang by Judy Garland.
Have yourselves a merry little Christmas, let your hearts be light...

Suheir Zaki dancing at Ahlan wa Sahlan

Unexpected Christmas present from Kaidi *(thanks, sweet heart!).
My TWO number one Oriental Dance references together in a video:
Souhair Zaki improvizing a bit and Mahmoud Reda watching.
Then Lucy, the last egyptian Oriental Dancer *(in my opinion!) hugging the LADY to wrap it all up as it should be: With LOVE and RE-COGNITION of a great talent, a great SOUL.
Delicious memory of my roots.
Thanks, Kaidi. This present was an INSPIRATION for me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Have yourself a Merry little Christmas..."

With Love and warm gifts that don´t only come wrapped in paper.

Remember the cliché: nobody can buy the BEST THINGS in LIFE.

Lots of all kinds of nice gifts to everyone, no distinctions of any sort.

With LOVE, from Egypt!

What it means to be an Oriental Dancer.

I am often covered with senseless critics (usually against my person, not even my work) and much more wonderful comments that bring tears to my eyes.

It has been an incredible journey, one where I have found everything and learnt pretty much what it means Oriental Dance and BEING an ORIENTAL DANCER.

One of the most common and nicest comments I receive from dancers who study with me all over the world is an assumption that I teach them "much more than just dance".

Well, the thing is that there is no such thing as "just dance" for me.

Being or becoming (oh, yeah, it is a work in progress, no matter how much you think you know) an ORIENTAL DANCER is not about becoming a technique expert or knowing all the songs, styles and rythms by heart. That is a big part of the THING but it is NOT ENOUGH.

Becoming an ORIENTAL DANCER requires qualities such as:

*Humanity (very challenging to BECOME a HUMAN BEING as this is also a work in progress).

*Sensitivity to ourselves and others. A curiosity for the world inside and outside of ourselves as they feed and mirror each other.

*Knowing and loving your body and re-educating your brain in order to be able to ENJOY being in your own skin. This will add that SPICE to your DANCE that differentiates pale, tasteless, clone made "dancers" from a DANCER who stands out in the middle of the monotonous crowds.

* Knowing about the WORLDS. Arabic and egyptian worlds included, of course.

* Knowing about Religion, Politics, Societies both in the East and the West in order to understand why Oriental Dance is still practice, in most cases, as a low level form of entertainment and seen as an exotic streap tease taken from male´s sexual fantasies.

*Discovering what is means to BE a WOMAN, know yourself, your muscles, bones, blood, brain, heart, soul, feet and hands, emotions and self-imposed limitations. Knowing your instrument - YOURSELF with ALL that you are composed of - is ESSENTIAL to know how to use it while DANCING.

* Understand Human Nature in order to express it while DANCING. Remember Oriental Dance covers pretty much all the colours of the rainbow where emotions are concerned. To express all these colours, you must have lived through them and understood what they mean and their place in LIFE.

* Not being afraid of critics, judgement from others and their prejudices. Knowing the "enemies" of this dance and the stupid rules society tends to impose on women is half way to BREAK those rules and kick the ass of those enemies.

* Educating yourself as this will be reflected in the way you DANCE.

All of yourself must be fed (brain, body, heart and soul) in order to CREATE a rich DANCE that will, finally, change the commonly spread perspective that Oriental Dance is not an ART but a cheap entertainment of cute girls shaking their hips to seduce men.

Educated DANCERS make interesting choices when it comes to movement, expression, criative decisions, soul comunication. Who told you that is no need for a BRAIN in dance? Who told you there is no need for an OPEN HEART in dance? Who told you there is no need to be an INTERESTING PERSON in dance?

ORIENTAL DANCE ´s image in the world will not change unless ORIENTAL DANCERS change or, better said, KNOW what it takes to BECOME an ORIENTAL DANCER.

I am doing my path, with bumps in the road, imperfections, mistakes and lessons learnt.

Wish you all do the same.

P.S. I know it´s easier to wish for the easy way out of every puzzle but, as far as I´m concerned, if you want to bring back Oriental Dance as an ART form, you have to build YOURSELF as a work of ART.

With Love, from Egypt!

(Launching Oriental Dance SOUL´s REBIRTH)

Post- Revolution chaos.

A LOT of credit has to be delivered to EGYPTIAN PEOPLE.

Not the politians and the money "pashas" who try to destroy what common PEOPLE are trying to achieve with the Revolution but human beings from all walks of life that wish to have a FAIR, DEMOCRATIC, FREE, CORRUPTION-FREE Egypt to work, grow, live, love, be happy, create their families and know, allas!, some prosperity WITH DIGNITY (things that most egyptians never were allowed to have).

There is no such thing as a perfect Revolution without deaths, conflicts and mistakes.

In every MAJOR event like this one, there are collisions of all kinds and errors that are only human. This is PEOPLE we´re talking about. Not machines (at least, not yet).

I am deeply proud of EGYPTIANS, the common men and women who dare to protest (as they´ve been doing for months, since the 25th January) demanding a political transition that will allow the country to breath in peace and prosperity.

While rich friends of the ex-Government lived like kings and queens (owing favours one to another and, therefore, covering each other´s fat asses), the PEOPLE was oppressed, miserable, trying to find ways - any ways - to survive.

Egyptian corruption is famous and I ve spoken about it very often, not because I don´t love this country that is my home but because I KNOW it and LOVE it, despite everything.

What most of us do not know is that Egypt has been under a system that did not allow QUALITY, HONESTY and DIGNIFIED WORK to succeed. Only smart asses, thieves and easily humiliated sheeps could build a good, comfortable life for themselves.

With so much poverty and lack of fair opportunities, I find amazing how egyptian still managed to keep a smile on their faces, a surprising kindness in their hearts and some purity that is mixed with the games they have to play in order to survive in a place where FREEDOM to BE and DO GOOD things did not exist.

It still doesn´t. And EGYPTIANS are still manifesting in the streets, committing mistakes as it is natural to happen but DOING their best in the best way they can to see a REAL CHANGE in Egypt.

Military against People. Muslims against Christians. This against this.

Let´s then wake up and see that in every Revolution there is always a COUNTER- REVOLUTION. As there are so many of us - me included - who want to see this REVOLUTION succeed for the sake of our beloved Egypt, there are others who do not want it to happen.

Sure, mistakes are made from all sides of the conflicts and different interest still cause deaths, collisions, destruction. BUT I say it once and again: I am proud of EGYPTIANS and, although nobody seems to know what´s REALLY going on right now, or what s the best solution for the apparent democratic victory of the Muslim Brotherhood, there is a CREDIT that must be delivered to my neighbours, my friends, my country fellows.

I fight another battles, through DANCE, ART, WRITING. It is my contribute to this REVOLUTION that is a WORLD REVOLUTION, not only an egyptian one.

My faith, love, strenght and admiration goes to every egyptian fighter who died or lived through this process, well aware that the battle is not yet won and that Rome and Pavia were not built in a single day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GetOut - Best Animated Short Film 2009

About being born as a literal event and as a metaphor for going out to the WORLD, the REAL World where we are put to the test and LIVING what needs to be lived/loved in order to grow.
There are the ones who still insist in remaining in the womb of their own imagination and are too afraid to risk their necks, hearts and nerves dealing with the trials and tribulations one is exposed to when LIVING outside of his own protective box but even imagination is fed by LIFE.

Protecting one self from this crazy, imperfect, dangerous, material world is also protecting oneself from the joys, pleasures, learning curves and LIGHT that comes from Life s experiences.
This video is amazing in so many levels...simply INSPIRING.

"Human tragedies:

We all want to be extraordinary

and we all just want to fit in.

Unfortunately, extraordinary people rarely fit in."

Sebastyne Young

From: Exceptional Living Group (Facebook)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas, Egypt!

Planning a Christmas Eve for close friends at my home, this year.

Bacalau, olive oil, cheese and love from Portugal all ready to set the table on Christmas evening and, most special than it all, the fact that these friends are all muslims.

Let me be straight in this point: I make no distinction between people according to their religion. I choose HUMAN quality and that means a clean heart and mind, first of all.

Religion, sex orientation, social status, or whatever society tends to use to separate people does not enter my mind in the moment of choosing who my FRIENDS, LOVERS and FAMILY are.

I live in Egypt so it is only natural that I relate with lots of muslims. I do see specific treats in those who profess this religion but that only makes them more interesting to me because I can learn from our differences.

Condition to enter my home and inner heart circle: Being a good person and by that I mean a GOOD character. Liers, envious snakes, cheaters, snobs, hypocritical ass holes, haters, destructive individuals are not allowed. Sorry! Still a long time for me to become a Buddha.

This Christmas will be special because it will be surrounded by TRUE LOVE and FRIENDSHIP.

Wishing a Merry, Merry Christmas to Egypt and the World!

Why (s)?

Life is full of questions and not many answers.

If you've lived quite a while (quality wise, not necessarily quantity), you may know, by now, that non-sense seems to be everywhere and there is not one single logic but many.

Looking at the picture of this tree I cannot stop but wonder WHY Dance - in particular, Oriental Dance - is still seen as a minor form of cheap entertainment or a sin against God (and notice that Muslims are not the only ones making this assumption). If Nature and the Universe themselves are nothing but an eternal cycle of DANCE/MOVEMENT, if Dance comes from that sacred place where Human Beings try to re-connect with their DIVINE essence, then WHY (oh, the WHY(s)!!!) ignorance, prejudice, repression and stupidty still prevail over ART and the recognition of Dance's DIVINE root???

As I live, experience and learn, my questions multiply. Not only about DANCE but about everything. Yeah, it is a cliché but a right on the spot one: the more you KNOW, the less you know.

When I look at some of my old dance performance videos I have to blush. Some of these videos are bad. Oh, man...I mean: BAD. I thought I KNEW, while I was still struggling to KNOW. I was still so fresh and eager to do things, to challenge a system that told me I COULD NOT do it unless I surrendered and left my dignity in the garbadge can.

I can even see all the stages of my performing short, yet intense career as faithful mirrors of who I was and who I became. My LIFE is illustrated in each phase of my DANCE and it is clear to me the times when I was dancing over joyed, over pained, performing on a daily basis with men chasing me and harassing me in every possible way, the times when I was performing under hard stress due to personal dramas (including ex boyfriend trying to kill me under the aproving eye of police men after he discovered I had fell in love with another man after we separated). Going to work with security on my lap in order not to be bothered by him or other men who thought they had the right to own me, also the times when I was so happy that my heart wouldn t fit inside my chest...All that and more is documented in my dance videos, from different phases.

Now I have to cut myself some slack! In 5 years of lonely struggle and success that came exclusively from my talent and efforts, managing my orchestra and work by myself with egyptian dance "stars" trying to cut my legs so that I wouldn t be able to be in the market, competing with them, I GREW so MUCH. As a person, as a dancer. As an ARTIST. As a SOUL.

I do KNOW my territory now. I DO KNOW my DANCE, Oriental Dance. Cause I learnt it with my blood, my sweat, my understanding, my realities, my experiences. No one really explained it to me, I had to RE-DISCOVER it and damn, I did!

My DANCE, today, reflects all I know but, most of all, all I don't know and who I became.

I would not change a single thing. Not the HAPPY moments, not the TRAGIC moments. Yet another cliché but they made me who I am TODAY and, for that, I am grateful and deeply proud.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My favourite kinds of music.

1. Silence *(absolute SILENCE).

2. The sea and its waves *(better if in the middle of a storm).

3. Rain pouring *(better if it is a warm, tropical storm but with no natural catastrophes included).

4. Cat's purring in my ears *(my own cats or others 'cause I'm very unfaithful in these pleasures).

5. The sound or heartfelt orgasms between two LOVERS who want each other with BODY, HEART, MIND and SOUL.

6. My name pronounced by any loving friend, family member, man of my choice.

7. Om Kolthoum's songs. Any of them. At any times.

8. Church bells on a Christmas morning.

9. The wind.

10. "I LOVE YOU" whispered in my ears by THE ONE.

ALL that I AM ***(and then some more!)

Just arrived home *(Cairo)!

With an annoying feeling in my guts. Damn, how much would I love to be able to ignore my intuition, once in a while. But it goes: "BAM-BAM-BAM", never letting rest like an endless headache that only stops when you REALLY acknowledge it.

All seems quiet, despite the chaos still going on with clashes near the famous "Tahrir Square" and the uncertainty of the political results in these elections.

If many are against Muslim Brotherhood winning the biggest part of the Parlamentary cake, then they must remember these were - at least, it seems - DEMOCRATIC elections and the wish of majority must be respected. That s one of the principles of Democracy.

I know, by now, politics is retoric, bluff over bluff, talk-tall-talk with not much done for the people of each country *(let us remember this is not an exclusive of Egypt as there is political corruption all over the world).

The BIG CORPORATIONS, BANKS, ENTERPRISES which own CAPITAL (CAPITAL/MONEY/POWER) are the ones who dictate the LAWS and all political Governments obbey them. So politians, even the ones with good intentions, are nothing but puppets in the hands of the ones - silent, hidden ones - who own the REAL POWER coming from MONEY.

I am not against any one or anything except CORRUPTION, LIES, EXPLOITATION, IGNORANCE, RACISM and lots of ETCS this world, sadly, present us today.

I don t even know what will be the future of my BELOVED EGYPT but I guess I want the same as the majority of egyptians who live and work here, like myself.

Despite my bad gut feeling, I wish to land back home with a simple wish for all of us:

Merry Christmas, Egypt! And this includes all RELIGIONS because RELIGION DOES NOT separate people but UNITES them. Only false religions SEPARATE people and create conflicts and wars between them.

As a follower of the only RELIGION I KNOW ***(and that is LOVE), I simply wish a Happy Christmas time for all of us with tenderness in our hearts, kindness, friendship and lovers, family and HUMANITY as one single BODY of LIGHT.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas (at home, in Cairo) and presents already ordered to Santa Claus.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, no matter who you (think) you are, where you are from, which religion you profess or any other illusions we tend to think that divide us.
Heading to Cairo for new cycles of Work, Love, Adventures, Dance, Surprises,VICTORIES.
Already ordered Santa Claus what I want for this Christmas:
1. Love, My LOVE (man of my dreams coming TRUE:) Yes!).
2. Health and Sucess from the Soul in all the work I do.
3. Always being surrounded by REAL friends and family who LOVE me for who I am.
4. Travels and more travels with lots of learning and joys.
5. A collection of Woody Allen´s movies I saw this week, as well as books that are already in my traveling bags.
6. Last but not the least, STRENGHT, LIGHT, COURAGE and STAMINA to fight the "GOOD FIGHT", never surrendering myself, body and soul to anyone who thinks women are for sale.
I AM NOT, thank you very much.
7. Passion in all the ABOVE. As I often say in my workshops, "nothing in Life makes sense without PASSION. Not even taking a piss..."

"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly? "
Frida Kahlo

"Our" Alice in wonderland...

Me and my niece, a very special NEW inspiration in my Life.

God takes some and gives so much more, always wise and making sure we only keep what´s worth keeping.

A miracle of Life making sure that no empty spot is left untouched.

My work will reflect Alice´s blessed appearance in my Life. Part of me, soul of me, adding so much to all I am.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On my way (to Cairo)...
Returning home (Cairo, Egypt) is always an adventure. Never knowing what will happen, politically speaking, humanly speaking.
Living and performing as an Oriental Dancer in Cairo is not advised for weak hearted individuals.
Always ready for the rides LIFE prepares for me, a LOT is waiting for me.
While I am busy, away from these cybernetic worlds, feel welcome to be updated through my Facebook Fan Page:

Inspirations of a DANCER...
I am often criticized by my male friends for the open assumption that I do love beautiful men. They delight my eyes and my soul as a true piece of Art, like a good painting, an interesting sculpture.
Just because they know me and see me as an intelligent person, the fact that I admit LOVING beautiful men is , at their eyes, a contradiction.
Men have always, generaly, speaking, valued women by their physical appearance and word of mouth defends that women are not interested in the way a man looks but only in his character.
Well, well...are we lying over here or what? It is obvious that CHARACTER is more important than looks. Intelligence, honesty, courage, sense of humour, talent, many qualities I find essencial in a man. BUT exterior beauty is IMPORTANT to me as it is to many women who do not admit it in fear of being called superficial, sex maniacs, stupid, you name it.
A lover of BEAUTY myself (beauty found in EVERYTHING), how would it be indifferent the way MY MAN looks?! Looking at him is also as looking at a sunset or the sea: a sensorial delight for my eyes.
The beauty of the heart wins the exterior beauty, sure enough. But, hell yeah, I LOVE BEAUTIFUL MEN and Joaquín Cortés is one of them.
The fire and guts in this gipsy eyes make me fly the way a good music does. It is all connected, it is all the same.Really!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Next step:
Return to Cairo!..............

After my Spain and Portugal tours, it feels like heaven to return home, to Egypt.

I am aware of the many challenges I´ll find on my way but those have never been strange to me.

Trusting God will keep giving me the health, talent, inspirations, creative energy, passion and DRIVE to continue riding my white horse ahead and UP.

To keep yourself updated about events, dance goodies and other wonders, join us at my Facebook Fan Page:!/pages/Joana-Saahirah-of-Cairo-Fan-Page/183318258358726

"Romeu and Juliet" by Prokofiev
In my opinion, no other musical composition was so magnificently done for Classical Ballet and no other musical translation of the original Shakespeare literary piece was achieved.
Prokofiev has done IT!
The stakes are very high with this one. The level of the dancers has to be at the same stance as the music or better in a way that they ADD something to the music, not only translating it through Dance but ADDING a HUMAN substance to it that will help communicate the history better.
The National Portuguese Company (on stage, these days and until January 2012) did not, in my perspective, reach the point of doing justice to the music.
Prokofiev´s composition ate the dancers like a hurricane which explodes, with no warning, taking the earth, the houses and people down with no mercy.
It happens with every kind of Dance. Oriental is not an exception. If the orchestra is superior in technique and talent to the dancer, then the music eats the dancer. Audiences become enrolled with the music and simply forget about the Dancers but, hey, this is not the point. If we were supposed to just listen to the music, we would go to a musical concert, not to a Dance performance.
If the Dancers are not up to the music they dance, they tend to disappear from the stage and this was the case.
Prokofiev´s music demands physical, emotional, spiritual expression abilities not very easy to find, even in the best performers in the world.
The tremendous physical strain and effort of Classical Ballet makes it even more difficult to EXPRESS Life through movement but it is possible with a mix of TALENT, HARD WORK and SOUL.
Cried like a baby listening to this divine music, enjoyed "Tebaldo"´s performance (Tebaldo is a friend of Romeu, later in the play he is killed by Juliet´s cousin, Mercutio causing a HUGE disaster) and the deep message in this MASTERPIECE that Prokofiev knew how to understand so well from Shakespeare.
The subject is not only a fight between two families and the impossible love between Romeu and Juliet. It goes further than that. It is the opposition between TRUE, PURE LOVE and SOCIETY with all its rules. It is the price one pays for the FREEDOM to choose how they live and whom they love, independently of what the family and society thinks is the correct thing to do.
It is the fight between heart and mind. Between cold people who live for ambition, appearances, status and power and the LOVERS of this world (becoming more rare, day by day) who ask nothing but the BLISS of being with the one they love, happy like a child.
I already LOVED "Romeu and Juliet". Through Prokofiev´s music (and the amazing choreography of John Cranko) I understood it better in a way that makes me love it even more.
Deep inside of me, I know WHY I love it so much. And, secretly, feel proud of myself.

The excellence of
Portuguese products (finally recognized by portuguese people!).
I find my two main countries (Portugal and Egypt) tremendously similar in many aspects. Astrologers say both countries were born under the sign of Piscis and that already says a lot. There are more troubling similarities, though...
Both Portugal and Egypt tend to value foreign products to their own.
Hope the Revolution in Egypt will help change this mentality.
Egyptians have all the reasons to appreciate their own History, products, culture, music and dance, literature, etc and yet they tend to forget about it, leaving it to the tourists. Such a shame...
I don´t mean you should reject foreign treasures - each country has special, unique, wonderful things of their own - but forgetting about your own country´s richness is plain stupid.
Portugal has been charged for the same mistake.
So there I was, yesterday night, in the heart of Lisbon (the city where I was born), preparing myself to watch the classical ballet "Romeu and Juliet" (by our own National Portuguese Ballet Company) when I was faced with the most surprising shop.
In this shop you could find all kinds of products which were created by PORTUGUESE. Obvisouly oriented for tourism, the prices were high but the quality and the pride of presenting our own "stuff" with dignity left me breathless and happy.
If you, at any times, pass through Lisbon, don´t miss it:

Pina | Trailer D (2011) 3D Berlinale 2011 Wim Wenders


Got this movie - and another one by Pina Bausch - yesterday night.
Feel so excited to find an ARTIST who thinks and creates OUT of the BOX, working DANCE in the most intelligent, passionate, emotional, spiritual, physical way.
Revolutionary, if only it could be understood by many of us (which I think it is not).
To say I LOVE it is not enough.

Feeding the DANCER-PERSON in me.
It has been so lovely that words tend to miss the movement of my fingers.
Between the work, there is also some wonderful catching up with my close family and friends that I keep, like treasures, for years and years. Time and geographical distance seems NOTHING to this blessed group of SELECTED friends and family who are my only floor.
The importance of my parents - who do not agree with many of my choices but support me and love me anyways, even going against their best judgement - and those FRIENDS with capital letters who do not relate to me as the ARTIST but the PERSON I am. They even dare to consider the second - THE PERSON I am away from my profession - more interesting and loving than the first - THE ARTIST.
Good Lord, how I love them back for that!
As a gispy myself, I have no ground. I love to dance, teach, write and live in the WORLD. Yes, I was born in Portugal with a spanish flavour of which I am so proud. Yes, I consider myself half egyptian already because this country has been my home in the last years, my Greatest SCHOOL, my career spot shinning throughout the world, my professional base, my Royal and most important source of information and inspiration yet I don´t feel attached to countries in the way most people do.
My home is where I am happy and feel myself growing as a Dancer-Artist-Person. And that can be everywhere.
So the people I love are my only territory, my ground, my roots and basis. Their love and faith in me feed my heart in a way that I HAVE to DANCE more and more, thirsty for doing NEW, BETTER, more interesting things.
Without this RICH emotional life, I would not have material to DANCE. The people I love and love me back for who I AM fill all the corners of my heart and soul, providing me with contents with which to fill every single step I take, every single movement I make.
God bless them!
For the dark spots in the road (evil, envious, unhappy people who spend their time trying to hurt and destroy others who bother them for their Light) I also THANK because they show me the Universe is composed by night and day, good and evil, black and white. Without the dark spots, there would be no LOVING spots to fill my body with DANCE and reasons to do it.
God bless them too!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bach - Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major BWV1007 - Mov. 1-3/6

For a miraculous "almost Winter", Sunday morning, one of my favourite composers: Bach.
The soundtrack of travels, passionate nights with my beautiful man, the hurry that comes from missing "you" (and YOU know who you are), the horse riding that takes me to wherever I need to be, not by obligation or other´s decisions, but by my own heart´s desires.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever only rejoices me, and the heart appoints."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self Reliance”
Via: "The Girl God" (Facebook)
Loving people doing loving things...

Being an Artist means many things.
Amidst many, there is a willingness to be understood and loved through what our souls have to say.
It is undescribable the joy I get when students and professional dancers from all over the world send me messages commenting on my work and how it impacted on them and their own dance.
I am extremely critical of myself, professionally speaking, so it would be strange to see me thinking wonders of my own work (always thinking ahead, what can be done better, what is not done YET and so forth...). I leave that to others.

The messages I ve been receiving from Spain (and other places I ´ve been in performing and teaching) are heartbreaking, personal, truely human. For all of you, my most loving hug, wishing you all a WONDERFUL Christmas time and always higher flights in your CREATIONS and LIFE!!!