Thursday, March 31, 2011

The comment that made me gasp for air! Written and sent by the lovely lady in the photo, striking a pose with me. Her name is Jadranka Trickovic and she asked, in the sweetest way you can imagine, if I had been born "this way"! We were talking about the ability to enjoy our bodies, dance and life with FULL PRESENCE, PASSION and FREEDOM. We mentioned pleasure and enjoying ourselves while we dance. Pure pleasure. Physical. Emotional. Mental and spiritual. The whole package. So I spoke and danced and I was asked "Were you born this way?" and then I laughed some more at this question and I, instantly, loved Jadranka and her direct honesty.

Here is what she wrote to me, putting some tears in my eyes. I usually don t share the messages and comments students and audience from everywhere gently send me but this one is special to me, for many reasons. Hope Jadranka will not mind if I share what she wrote about me. Here it is (still making me blush) :

"Joana is MAGIC.

She taught us so much about dance, music, sensuality, sexuality, feminine power, enjoying ourselves and life in general.

I am so thankful for her workshops.

What a marvellous personality.She fills a room with her light and passion without ever being arrogant or overpresent."

(These words fill my heart with humble joy. Thanks to the beautiful one who felt it and had the kindness to express it to me.)

Cairo, the 31sr March, 2011

Images of Happiness

*Merano, Italy.

These are some of my favourite luxuries that my profession allows me to have.

Not only do I work on the job I was born to do and feel more and more recognized and appreciated for it as I also end up knowing the whole world while sharing my knowledge and love for Oriental Dance.

So I unite both the loves of my LIFE: DANCE/ART and TRAVEL.

While I travel to perform and teach Oriental Dance and Egyptian Folclore, I learn about different languages, mentalities, cultures and histories. The more I know about the world and its immense diversity, the bigger my conviction gets towards the following: HUMAN BEINGS ARE PRETTY MUCH THE SAME, despite their apparent differences of colour, race, culture, religion, you name it!

All of those cited above are smashed into nothing powder when it comes to basic aspirations, dreams and fears.

The fascination for these differences cannot be bigger than the joy of watching the GREATNESS of human creation and nature. Everywhere.

My favourite spot in Merano: top of the mountains, surrounded by wild nature, the whitest snow I ve ever seen and an air heavy with eucalyptus and PEACE.

Cairo, the 31st March, 2011

Merano Workshops and Classes -

how can you call work to such thrill and pleasures?!

Here are some images of this wonderful trip.

Merano, Italy.

Both italian and german, language wise and "everything" wise.

It was part of Austria before the Second World War and everything about this city yells for the mountains full of snow on their tops and cozy wooden homes where you can easily imagine "Heidi and Peter" living happily ever after, taking care of their cows and sheeps and singing along with Julie Andrews from the movie "The Sound of music".

It s a dreamy town where my imagination flew everytime I woke up and looked out the window just to breath deeply into those huge, overwhelmingly gorgeous mountains.

The first whisper Merano took from me was exactly due to the great beauty of its mountains. Many more open mouths - all mine! - and whispers of wonder came out from me during the trip. My ascendent is Capricorn, for God s sake. My chinese astrological sign is sheep of the mountains so...if we do believe in astrology, I may have some strange, deep connection to everything connected with climbing, extreme resistance and stubborness and the famous MOUNTAINS!

I have "this thing" for true beauty.

Some people may be addicted to drugs or alcohol. I am, for sure, addicted to BEAUTY, PLEASURE and KINDNESS. I drink from them with no control and always hope for more, more, more...

Luis im Auto. Katze ├╝berfahren

Another video answer from Simone of Merano towards my irritant curiosity relating the Tyrolese people. Actually, I always referred to mountain people as a whole (women and men) but, for some reason, what stood in Simone s mind was my curiosity for Tyrolese MEN! Do I have "Tyrolese men eater" written on my forehead? Well, maybe I do.


Yes, sir. MEN. Mountain men. Oktoberfest, drunk, cave men type M-E-N. Do I sweat Tyolese men allure? Did I mention Tyrolese men in my dreams and Simone heard it from her appartment? I really don t know what it was it is Simone s answer to my supposed fixation on Tyrolese men. Check this video and know why, for sure, I will never ask about the subject.


Volkstanzgruppe Untermais

I pested Simone, Merano workshops organizer, with a thousand questions about South Tyrol and the "mountain people"...I admit I was a royal pain in the "derriere" wondering how this people lives, what they do, believe in, eat, talk about, etc.
Everytime I looked at the mountains that surround Merano, more and more questions about the "moutain people" popped from my mouth like rain on a tropical tempest.

So I didn t feel the least surprised when Simone sent me a couple of videos that answer ALL my questions and avoid a future quest for answers from my side.
Check these two videos about Tyrolese people and men, in particular, and see how desperate Simone must have been when bombed all the way with my annoying curiosity.

"Ok, sweetie! I got the message. Really, I did!
No more curiosity for Tyrolese culture and, if anyone asks ME about the mountain man, I say I don t know anything about him and feel pity for the ones who do."
Got it!

Cairo, the 31st March, 2011

Just returned from Italy, on my way to Cyprus!

Lord...what a ride!

The world may be changing and turning upside down, the poles are shifting, political revolutions are exploding everywhere and chaos has become part of this crazy world s daily routine and yet here I go, happily ever after, travelling with the flow of events no one can control.

Moving around more than ever, closing some huge windows and opening even bigger ones, feeling the floods, hurricanes and deep transformations inside me. Earth Mother and Mother Jane in full empathy with each other (in case you missed the meaning of this strange expression that just popped off my mind, may I make something clear: I am the "Mother Jane", whatever that means and it may be left to your consideration/imagination).

I just happily returned from a BEAUTIFUL working trip to Merano, Italy and I could not even undo my bag packing because I will head for another business trip in a few days, this time to Cyprus.

It seems that everything is happening so suddenly and fast that my brain cannot follow all the events and huge changes so I may as well smile along and enjoy the ride, wherever that takes me. To start telling a bit about Merano s trip, I have to thank the amazing Simone who organized the events in a record time and treated me like a real sister (not the egyptian "sister", if you know what I mean, but a REAL SISTER)

and all the students who danced with me, learnt from me and also taught me a few pearls, laughed and opened up with me. I am deeply thankful for all your kindness, respect for me and my work and the sweet, tender way all of you had with me.

We had a short time to enjoy each other but, damn!, it was a hell of a time and we made the best of it!

We passed through baladi, modern oriental, saiidi, shaabi, tabla, laughter, the art of pleasure and all it can happen when you fully experience your sensuality and SEXUALITY! This one got us into trouble and lots of fun, you bet.

I was even asked by one of the special women who shared this great time with me:

"Were you born that way?" when mentioning our ability to enjoy LIFE and our own body with all the pleasures both can give us.

It became one of my instant classics and added smiles, giggling and spices to our workshop!

The quality of the people you meet make a trip unforgettable, not the monuments and landscapes. The South Tyrol looks gorgeous to me, all right...but nothing fills my heart more than remembering the great, beautiful women I met there.

Thanks to you all from my heart.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Entrevista a Joana Saahirah do Cairo

Memory from the Egyptian Revolution!
This is one of the many interviews I gave on portuguese television at the time of the Egyptian Revolution. I hope you understand portuguese to know what we re speaking about!

As soon as I returned to Portugal at the beggining of February, I was showered with television and radio interview requests in order to comment on the political situation of Egypt.
It was such an abnormal situation to be in but I could not give my back to the country I already consider "home".

I went on several National News editions and other television programs, not to speak about my work as it has been usual for many years now, but to follow and comment the incredible Egyptian Revolution.

It was hard to keep the tears from falling from my face, on many occasions. Watching the street fights in Midan Tahrir on the studio s screens and having the cold blood to comment on them was not easy as it wasn t easy to be rejected by the Muslim Comunity in Portugal, when I tried to organize a multi-religious prayer at the Lisbon mosque for the sake of EGYPT s peace and FREEDOM.

Nothing was easy, in fact.
And it still isn t.
The Revolution was a huge step from which egyptians are fairly proud but the FUTURE has to be built from now on.
Hoping for the best!
Cairo, the 23rd March, 2011

So true...

Just a thought for the go.



A sweet "good-buy" video just before heading to the airport and travel to Italy.
Some days of cybernetic silence will follow as I chose to dedicate this time to Italy and to the students I will find.
No emails, no blogs or Facebook.
Just GOOD heartfelt work and the pleasure of knowing new people and new places. That s all that is to follow.

Here I leave you all with some dancing goodies of myself to enjoy while I am gone.
When I will be back?!
Oh, only God knows...I am up for the adventure.

Joana Saahirah of Cairo

Another recent video of me, flying with my Art...I am honoured to have this gift and opportunity from God!
Being an Artist - specially an honest one - is not easy but, when you re born one, there s nothing you can do about it. Nobody chooses to be a dancer. Someone is BORN a DANCER.

Joana Saahirah

Tabla madness in Cairo...

Joana Saahirah of Cairo dancing Om Kolthoum

"Enta el Hob", by Om Kolthoum.

Joana Saahirah of Cairo on folkloric tableau in Egypt

Piece of a "tableau" inspired on an old Fifi Abdou theatre piece.
Lots of FUN, FUN, FUN...mix between "shaabi", "saiidi" and "baladi"!
A boy working in a coffee-shop falls in love with the boss, a typical "maalema"...she refuses him but also teases him by doing a BIT of dancing and asking for the goodies: "sheesha" and tea!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Devdas - Maar Dala - English Subs -HQ

This video will be posted by me till the end of my days so, if you happen to be a faithful follower of my blog, get used to it and you better try to appreciate it because you re gonna get
a lot of it.
The actress - Madhuri Dixit - is just sublime. The dance is full of expression, true feeling, soul, LIFE!
The photography, the lyrics, the choreography...everything blows me away over here.
Enjoy a bit of my indian passion!

Cairo, the 20th March, 2011

On my way to Italy...
What a pleasure to know a new place, MERANO/ Italy, and share my ART with some wonderful students over there! I can t wait to be surrounded by new energies, people and insights.
LIFE is a BLESSING, no matter how many obstacles may gather during the tempests of our days.
Workshops in Merano, Italy on the 26th,27th March!

Oriental, Saiidi, Baladi...the whole lot of genuine egyptian dance goodies...

Detailed infos on my Facebook and you may ask for full program through my email:

Cairo,the 20th March, 2011

Why do I love Egypt - PART *who s counting?

I was just heading for a meeting with a portuguese journalist (dear Paulo, we were meant not to meet each other, the Tarot must have told us that if we had asked it!) at the Hussein.

How did I end up almost getting engaged or lost in the city with a deaf-mute taxi driver?!

Well, Egypt has always been full of misteries and these are only a few ones to add to the unsolvable questions this ancient country carries on its back.

I left home, after cancelling a meeting in order to meet Paulo, and was lucky enough to get into a taxi with a deaf-mute driver who also didn t know how to write or read, as I ended up understanding.

I thought it was strange that I got no answer to my "Salam ualekum" when entering the taxi but, hey, you do not always find polite people in this crazy town!

Yet it didn t take me long to understand that this poor man could not speak or listen as he headed, relaxed and convict, to any direction with a soft smile on his face that disarmed me and let me unable to stop the car and get another taxi.
How am I supposed to explain where I wish to go to someone who doesn t hear or speak and cannot read any paper I may write on?!
My heart was with this taxi driver, though.I didn t want to quit on him and get out of his car, just because he could not hear or speak.
Yes, I was getting lost and I had no idea if I would reach my final, expected destination but my conscious would get too heavy on me if I took another taxi. I wanted HIM to achieve his goal, to feel confident and happy to see that he COULD work as a taxi driver, or anything else he wished for, and that Nature s less than generous hand would not stop him from having a "normal life".
I almost had a nervous break down on my way to "god knows where" but I just wouldn t have the cold heart to step out of the taxi just because he couldn t hear or speak. I wouldn t.
He smiled, victorious, when he finally arrived to the Hussein. He also gestured at me with his hand, asking for my approval. "Am I a good driver?" - he seemed to be saying within his soundless world of hopes.
I gestured and smiled back: "Yes, you are a GREAT driver."
And the most unforgettable human connections happen like this.
We made our fair amount of sight seeing because he was driving aimlessly and, God knows how, I managed to mimic the directions I wanted.
After a long, LONG drive that seemed to end in Alexandria, I got to the Hussein around 22.30h.
No tourist in sight and lots of strange people in the streets, mostly men with black, fat moustaches that pointed at me like swords cutting through silk.
Paulo had not arrived yet so I searched for a coffee shop to sit and wait, until he came.
I found a cozy place where they served me "sahlab". The owner and the son of the owner sat in front of me, staring and commenting about all the beauty they saw in me as if I was not there, listening. They were analyzing a landscape, a piece of land, a house with deluxe finishemenst, not a PERSON.
The son of the coffee s owner then went up and passed in front of me like a stressed peacock several times, checking if I was noticing him. The loving father was STILL staring at me, watching me drink my warm and sticky "sahlab".
I am used to the staring, any ways! I am also used to the comments of men and the way they ignore my feelings about it. My body seems to be public property they analyze and comment on in order to see if it s a good investment for the future.
I tried to pay and leave but they refused. Then I left the money on the table and headed to the place where I was supposed to meet my journalist fellow, Paulo.
I noticed I was being followed. It was the son of the coffee s owner.
When I stopped at the arranged meeting place, he started to make signals asking if he could get close and talk to me. I said "NO" and pushed him away. Or so I thought.
Suddenly, after a few painful and long minutes, the father of my stalker arrived and they both came to me with a marriage proposal. According to the father, his son fell in love the moment I entered their coffee-shop and cannot live without me.
Talk about egyptian crap!
How on earth can someone love a woman from the moment he sees her and how come he cannot live without her, even when he never spoke to her or has any idea of who she is?!
Come on!
If they had told me the young guy has the hotties for me and wishes to take me to bed, then I would believe it. I would still slap them both at their dirty faces but I would have believed them.
Now...proposing me marriage after seeing me for the first time in his life and stalking me down the street for a pair of minutes?!
Come on, guys...please give me a break over here...
Where are we, really?
Sometimes, I feel I landed on the moon or another even stranger place and none of these creatures are for real.
The father was insisting and the son had the sad, melancholic face of a "Calimero". I was infuriated, then smiling and cracking into deep laughter and then infuriated once more.
They got stuck to my coat and would not let go. My journalist pal didn t show up and I, literally, ran away from my prospective husband.
Then the taxi driver who took me home wanted to charge me three times more than the right fair. I didn t need to fight a lot. I guess my face said it all.
A little word from him trying to steal an extra pound from me would easily make me forget that someone called Buddha once existed on this earth.
All this happened in a couple of hours when I was just supposed to meet a journalist.
Don t you EVER ask me why I love Egypt.

Cairo, the 20th March, 2011

The same old "pashas"!

It must be my destiny, "nasibi". Or the destiny of any Oriental dancer who DARES to work in Egypt without prostituting herself in exchange for money, work and career pushes.
I ve dealt with it hundreds of times, literally. I have exhausted myself from it, talked about it, exorcize it and won many battles over it and still it haunts me and follows me everywhere I go.

I will not mention names because the men who think they can buy any woman they wish do not even deserve to be named. They are, in my opinion, cockroaches with no self respect or respect for women.
If you ve read my blog for a while, you might have caught a few posts about the same old subject and I wish I could say otherwise but, even after this incredible REVOLUTION, people s mentality towards dancers did not change and it will not change in a few days or months. We re talking about centuries of men (and women, as well) associating Oriental Dancers with prostitution and this mentality still lives on, permeating every step I take.

I was asked by a portuguese journalist if that bothered me, the mentality "thing"!
I answered it doesn t anyone. But it does harm me the fact that I lose important jobs to another "dancers" who don t know how to dance and cannot be, even remotely, compared to me. Yet they accept to be the "meat of the month" and, therefore, are IN for the job while the boss has some fun with her. Then he gets tired, throws her off the trail and gets another ambitious "dancer" who will do just about anything to reach what she considers to be SUCCESS and there it goes in this endless dirty game.

The ones , like me, who refuse to be chosen as meat by these "pashas" are seen as silly and weak. Not strong and honest, NO! Silly and weak.

I struggle and struggle with this ISSUE all along, since I ve arrived to Egypt and still see loads of battles on the way.
Excuse me, dear sirs, but I CHOOSE the MAN I SLEEP WITH. Not you and your pasha friends.
Plus, I don t do it for professional interests but for my own pleasure and love.
Is that so hard to get?!

Mental retards are still around and they usually wear the best suits and have their drivers take them to hot spots on the town for dinner in top cars. You would never guess, by their appearances, that they are- indeed -mental retards!

Revolution has arrived to Egypt, thanks God. Now there s an whole mentality to change.
Towards WOMEN, DANCERS and a lot of other issues that keep egyptian society from advancing AND HAVING THE PROSPERITY IT DESERVES.

Radha Kaise Na Jale ENGLISH Subtitles

Another delicious video from the indian movie "Lagaan".
This is India. Colour, feeling, love that unites body and soul. Senses and Spirit.
The India of my dreams!

O rey chori Lagaan english subtitles - A Jealous Woman - Full clip

Lovely India, always in my heart.
Can t wait to return home...
Cairo, the 21st March, 2011

A gentleman and a lady.

Egyptian literature has never been so alive and egyptians, generally speaking, have never let their immense creativity and talents out there as much as these days.
Festivals everywhere celebrating Egyptian Revolution, t-shirts with comical political statements full of pride, flags and hats with egyptian colours all over name it!

The voting for the approval - or not - of some changes that were made to egyptian Constitution happened yesterday all over town and people were mobilized to VOTE and, finally, have a say on their country s future. I felt proud of egyptians, once more, as I felt during the Revolution.

One of the ways you can have a real feel about this people s minds is through blogging - very active activity in Egypt - and books that were recently published. The ones who used to shut their mouths during Hosny Mubarak s regime are spreading their words now and the few brave writers who never shut up, even when they could be punished and killed, are stronger than ever.

Here are two books that I ve just read from a male writer *Alaa Al Aswany (not a beginner in this Literature world and a very interesting man, I may add) and blogger Ghada Abdel Aal who saw her blog transformed into a best seller book and a television show with the same name of her book.

* "On the State of Egypt" by Alaa Al Aswany
Group of chronicles from the past recent years about the political, social, religious life in Egypt. Never boring or convenient. Always accurate, brave, clean and interesting approach to the analysis of a society full of contrasts and contradictions.
I LOVE this MAN!

* "I want to get married" by Ghada Abdel Aal
Not a Shakespeare s follower regarding literary quality but a funny account of most egyptian women s minds, fears and wishes. A truthful portrait of the way egyptian women - and men - are pressured by society and their families to marry just anyone who is "suitable" in order to procreate and follow the sheeps that have repeated these loveless associations in the name of TRADITION, ending up with hateful relationships, children who suffer from their parents mutual hate and endless unhappiness (oh, and a LOT of cheating from both parts, althoough only men are socially accepted to cheat!).

* Of course I am reading another stuff at the same time but none of it is related to Egyptian society.
Some of it is OSHO (on YOGA, specially after I left my own Yoga ex-teacher speaking by herself after patronizing me and speaking to me during class as if I was a 5 year old misbehaved naughty girl), Eckhart Tolle ("A NEW EARTH") and a book about the moon and its inffluence on nature and human beings...
Lots of goodies to read along!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Cairo, the 19th March, 2011

Special full moon today and my favourite poem dedicated to all the REAL WOMEN of this world!

Just follow the link to enjoy "Phenomenal Woman" from poet Maya Angelou:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cairo, the 17th March, 2011
Always in search...of myself..............................

Bastet and Sekhmet.
Mixed with each other, coming to light when I least expect it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cairo, the 15th March, 2011
All the students that were waiting for me in Venice will have an exclusive chance to learn with me in Merano, Italy next 26,27th March!
The Venice Convention s organization may have been a shameful disappointment but God DOES KNOW INDEED what He does and I go to Italy in order to meet the right people, at the right place.
Baladi - From 13.00h till 16.00h
Modern Oriental - From 16.30h till 18.30h
Modern Saiidi - From 14.00h till 17.00h
* Private lessons available for booking during the days I will be in Merano.
Contacts for detailed infos and subscriptions:
Simone Gerstgrasser
Mobile: 0039 338 32070 19

Cairo, the 15th March, 2011

Love is...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cairo, the 14th March, 2011

Me through images that speak 1000 words...

Cairo, the 14th March, 2011

More of me...talking without words! - PART II

Cairo, the 14th March, 2011
Fresh new photos...of me - PART I
Still hot like early morning bread out of the bakery forno...
Why do I love being photographed?! Well, I just don t know.
Cynicals may say it all comes down to my vanity and ego feeding times but I know myself and go further than that.
The camera is an eye which is focused on me and it s paying attention to who I am, what I have to say and feel. It is just a deep, intimate conversation without words. How much lovelier can it get?
Each photo is a feeling, a piece of Eternity, a silence full of meaning and LIFE.
The photos on this post and the following were taken by egyptian artist/photographer
Myriam Abdel Aziz