Friday, September 30, 2011

Definition of myself, inspirations, focusing on what REALLY MATTERS to me and never wasting time or energy with destructive thoughts, actions, situations, people. Here s some of the perks of LIVING and LEARNING in Egypt.

I simply say, in humble gratitude, THANK you, Master. Thanks you, Egypt, for the cruel, amazing, transforming, life changing school you ve been to me so far.

Back to the BASICS:



DON T THINK TOO MUCH AND/OR AT THE WRONG OCCASIONS (thinking is not always useful).







Thanks to Maria Aya for posting this wonderful quote on the Facebook.

Although I assume myself as more of a performer than a teacher, everything I do (including teaching) must be filled with TOTAL generosity and my FULL presence. If I am not able to give it ALL, then I simply won t do it.
Sure it is exhausting to give your everything at all times but I guess this is just the way I m built and that explains why I often need silence and time with myself, just to recuperate the incredible amount of energy applied on everything I do.

When teaching, I deliver everything I know to my students. I dont keep any detail or precious knowledge to myself, as many teachers do, because I assume the task of TEACHING and this is an INICIATIC job for me.
I don t train clones of myself but I deliver all the tools I know - learnt from other teachers, from my own intuition and constant research, from the stages I ve stepped on, from my musicians, from LIFE itself - in order for them to DISCOVER who they are and comunicate it through their dance.

Teaching Oriental Dance, in particular, it a job of a magician who practices alchemy in himself/herself and others. Through the dance material (and all the sided goodies that go with it) I wish to WAKE UP my students to their own treasures and unique sensibilities, their particular strenghts and vulnerable spots which can be used in their favour, both in dance as in LIFE.

By transmitting all I have and know to other dancers and pushing them to be more of THEMSELVES and less of me, I am not robbed of my own talents that make me UNIQUE. Curiously, I often feel that those talents are amplified and multiplied once I share ALL I have with my students.

Teaching is the ultimate job a dancer too...and that s the main reason why I never accepted the idea of having my own school. I m still too young, too fresh for it. There s still so much stages to cover in this life time...only when I cannot perform on stage anymore I will consider having my own school which could be the NIRVANA, the final ORGASM of my career where all my experience, life and knowledge would end up like a little river growing up and falling into the big OCEAN.

Teaching is not for selfish, insecure people who are too afraid to give away what they think they "own" and even in this point I disagree with those because I know I don t own anything.

What I learnt so far and the talent I may have are borrowed from God and are not my property to hold on to. I m just an instrument for God s inspirations and I use that instrumento with LOVE.
There s no other way to do IT.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Inside The Actors Studio - Dustin Hoffman

A true MASTER CLASS fot Actors and all artists in general. This feels like my greatest acting teachers returning to my life...brilliant stuff. Brilliant.

("You see things and you say: "Why?".

But I dream things that never were and I say: "Why not?")

Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And Still I Rise

My very own definition of a BEAUTIFUL WOMAN: Maya Angelou.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dedicated to all my fans around the world!

An artist creates because that s what he was born to do. I really don t believe in "artists" who create to please the crowds and receive applauses that they are, desperately, seeking.

Only when an ARTIST does what s in his soul, the audience will respond like a loving mirror, being affected by his work.

To be an ARTIST, in this current world, you need to be more of a social networker, diplomatic, ass licker than someone with talent. I tend to go my own personal way and never shake hands for the sake of my professional interest but always and only if I appreciate someone.

Not compromising yourself with the lobbies existing in every artistic area has its prices to pay and the road becomes longer and harder but I guess it s so well worth it! You just have to work harder than the rest, persevere more consistently than the others, show your talent over and over again more than the others...and you ll get THERE.

This post is dedicated to all my fans from all walks of LIFE.

I wish to inspire you as much as you inspire me (through the fact of being my students, audiences, readers, followers of every kind) and push you in the direction of your dreams, coming true inside of yourself and then in front of your own eyes.

I also wish to tell you that there is no dream realization without its due of sacrifices, burdens and losses. Your focus on a specific dream will take away another things that you, probably, wish to have there by your side BUT it is all worth it because LIFE is a BIG dream, like Shakespeare often said, and it s supposed to be lived like that: following your dreams.

Living your BEST LIFE, exploring all your talents and never letting yourself believe that you CAN'T do whatever you dream of is my plea.

A sport s brand launched the magnificent slogan "Just do it." I repeat it to you to the point of exhaustion and hope that you stop thinking about whatever you wish to do and...


Courage and a stubborn mind that won't quit when faced with obstacles is essencial on the road. As it is pacience to take your time and learn along the way, understanding that the victory is already on the path you make, step by step, battle by battle.

From the Warrior in me, I salute the WARRIOR in all of you.

In peace, love and honesty, we may persevere and deliver a smiling flower to everyone who tried to stop us on the way up or convince us that we aren't good enough for the road we chose.

Flowers to the mediocre enemies , inner strenght and humour...wishing all my fans

HAPPY DREAMS and even HAPPIER roads to their realization.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Joana Saahirah of Cairo dancing Om Kolthoum

Dancing Om Kolthoum...

Joana Saahirah of Cairo dancing Om Kolthoum

Next stop: WORKSHOPS IN MERANO, ITALY this October
(contact Simone Gerstgrasser at the Facebook or ).

SPECIAL OM KOLTHOUM workshop and CRAZY TABLA SOLO "my style", directly from the stages of Egypt.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My day has 24 hours (only!) like the day of everybody else I know so let's confess that is impossible to do ALL that I do all the time.

Short cut to the story, I will be out of the blogging scene for the next weeks simply because I will get busy with my Cairo shows (so ready to be reborn BETTER than ever!), some events in Cairo and out and, of course, the writing of my book (which is transforming itself into a MAJOR challenge, much bigger than I could have previewed!)!

Here it is, in a flash, what you can follow for the next months:

1. WORKSHOPS Merano, Italy this October!

All infos with Simone Gerstgrasser through

the Facebook or email

2. MY 1st CAIRO WORKSHOPS for a very special, restricted group of students READY for a LIFE time experience which will CHANGE the way they see Oriental Dance (and themselves)!

All infos soon will be posted HERE and at my Facebook pages.

The event will take place in Cairo on the 15,16th November.


Infos on my pages of the Facebook.

4. No words (of mine) will be appearing on my blogs any time soon but know they will be thrown, delicately thrown!, on the right place.

Leaving you all for a while with LOVE, INSPIRATION and FIERCE WILL to put all those into action and transform DREAMS into REALITY.

Ideas are nothing if you don t have the guts to turn them into LIFE's reality.

May God keep us and protect us all from evil and always guide us.

May we have the STRENGHT to recognize that is not GOD who makes things POSSIBLE but it is US with God's consentment or challenging obstacles who DO it.

Make love, dance and beauty.


That I do. My "own thing".


Time has arrived: for my first CAIRO WORKSHOPS!

It took me 5 years of daily shows in Cairo, managing the whole machine by myself, no helping hands from any place and lots of personal and professional scorpions trying to bite and rip off my legs.

It took me this time to REALIZE what is ORIENTAL DANCE all about that what I can bring of UNIQUE to this world through it.

Although I still see myself more of a student than a teacher, I am so proud to announce my first WORKSHOPS in CAIRO this next November (15,16th November)!

The spaces for the event are extremely LIMITED because I want to deliver QUALITY teaching and time to the students and not another clone line of machines who don t even see what I am doing.

I want this event to be INTIMATE, GENEROUS, UNIQUE in its sharing intent.

Both me and students (I presume some of them already professionals or advanced students) are going to have a DANCING and HUMAN experience, not just a dance workshop.

NEWS about details of location, workshop's contents, schedule and prices will be soon posted here and in my Facebook profiles (Joana Saahirah Lotado and Joana Saahirah II) and in my Fan Page also on Facebook.
Me too, me too!
Einstein seemed to understand me...yupppiiieeeeeeeee...
When someone comments on my unexpected intelligence and active mind/imagination, I tend to answer the same: "I am just curious, that s all."
Curious about people, very different people.
Places, points of view, dances and songs from all over the world, food and name it. I feel curious about MANY and I mean MANY things all the time which can be strange (and exhausting) for most people to follow up.
It seems that someone, not studid indeed, understood me well.:)

" Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Lewis Carroll, from "Through the looking glass".
Fairy dust.

Little children often see me as an angel or a fairy. I guess my image corresponds to the drawings of children's books with these kind of magical characters.
Funny to see that I see myself, not as an angel, but as some kind of fairy who carries her magic dust in her handbag.
I believe in all kinds of good magic. The magic of LOVE, PERSEVERANCE, COURAGE, KINDNESS, an OPEN HEART and so on.

It is USING this magic that I LIVE and WORK.
These next days will be filled with writing, dancing and teaching students that come from all over the world to learn with me (*honouring me so much).
There will be Tango and Salsa dancing just for fun, my usual addiction of compulsive reading, meeting REAL friends (no time or interest for social networking or dealing with people who, secretly hate me, but smile at me expecting some kind of benefit) for dinner and coffee, a fast escape with buddies to the beach (next week, Inshah Allah!) where I will jump into the water like a child and some kind of cybernetic absence.

NEWS about my FIRST CAIRO WORKSHOPS arriving very soon...

No other subject, besides the current political situation in Egypt, is prone to be discussed and thought about so much as this: Lust.

I've mentioned Egypt's (and all Arab World) obsession with sex and women's body (which they try to buy, harass, possess, aniquilate, hide or even destroy) and how WOMEN, in general, are seen as men's disgrace and a troubling factor of society's order.

What if we mention the concept of LUST?! So wide and relative as SENSUALITY or SEXUALITY.

I keep on defending that the more sexually repressed a society is, the more sexually demented it will be. For some reason, I cannot go out in the street here in Cairo with any curve of my body showing. How many sacks of potatoes have I tried on to avoid another nerve crisis or getting into a street fight for the simple fact of standing out for myself and answering a pervert who is harassing me or following me home?!

Most dangerous zones (to hide meticulously in public or even at your home if you re in the presence of strange men): breasts, hips, ass (pardon me the expression), arms, legs, any piece of skin showing, eyes in direct contact with another eyes.

Hmmmm... it seems all parts of women s bodies are open territory to lust.

Just the other day, as I was arriving to my favourite Salsa dancing spot in Cairo, I had to yell like an hysterical girl on PMS (and not, I was not in PMS) to a taxi driver who could hardly drive from the moment he noticed I was wearing a dress that showed my legs till my knees.

He wouldn t care less if we had an accident, but he HAD to stare at my legs.

The whole trip to the Salsa club was an ordeal...all due to a simple pair of legs.

As he was driving, he would promptly look back at my legs (hence, not looking at the road in front of him) and try to arrange all the mirrors that were around him in order to have another sneak peak at me.

I started to get REALLY nervous and told him to keep his eyes on the road 'cause I was in no mood for a car crash. He acted like a little boy who got caught stealing cookies from his mum's kitchen.

Yet, he continued looking back at my legs, almost ignoring my presence and the fact that I was watching him do this. I know some women DO enjoy being harassed in this manner. Maybe, for some, this is the only way to feel noticed or desirable. Let s make this clear then:

I am not one of them.

I feel noticed and desirable more than enough, the whole damned time, so no need to pick on my brain just because I am wearing a F.............. skirt that goes up to my knees.

I knew the high point of the trip would be the arrival and that magical moment when I have to get out of the car and the skirt has to go up a little bit more. I was preparing myself for it, all right!

Profecy confirmed.

As the car stopped, the driver turned all his body back and stared at my legs as if I had an alien hidden on the back seat that only him could see. His eyes were blazing ice, opened in amazement, his face was hypnotized in an extremely freaky way and I was...well, how to put this in a nice way?

I was ready to kill him (but without touching him, pleaseeeeeeeeeeee................).

The yelling started:

- What are you looking at?! Please respect yourself and don t stare at my legs. Are you an animal??? - This I said, with high tone voice and a witch s face that didn t scare him at all.

He looked away for a second but returned to my leg's landscape as soon as I breathed in and out with that same lunatic, amazed look on his face.

I ran away from the car feeling like shit. And there is no other word for it. Feeling like SHIT.

Having a man recognizing your beauty (internal or external) in a nice, polite way is something. Having someone who is clearly sexually frustrated staring at you or sexually harassing you simply because you are a piece of meat he could easily screw is something else altogether different.

The first situation makes you feel nice. The other makes you feel like a cow in a line of meat packing cows. No soul. No mind. No Humanity. Just a peace of meat.

The same way when I go to a meeting for work here in Cairo and the man who is talking to me is looking at my breasts (who are never exposed cause I don t want to throw myself at the neck of any man, any time soon) instead of looking at my face, while talking with me.

Strange to know that most of these men are married (with lovers and other wives on the sides) so they must be having sex but, for some reason, they are STILL famished.

The reason for this phenomenon is another mystery to me. It has always been.

"The secret room"

No matter what happens around me and whatever people's actions or thoughts may be towards me, there's something in my world that no one - but me - can touch. The conviction of who I am, always in evolution and permanent change. The person I was this morning is not the same as the person I am right now and only ME has the key to that "evolutionary room" where peace, love and clowds made of cotton rest.

It s interesting to notice that it is from that secret room that I write, teach, choreograph and dance on stage. What I bring to the world is not a reflection of what I was taught but a reflection of what I, only me, can bring of UNIQUE to this world. Even more surprising and beautiful is to see that this is what I ask from my students and the road I try to open up for them: to find their own path in DANCE as in LIFE, not caring so much to copy other people s movements and life s choices.
I think I am becoming a good teacher.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rodrigo Leao & Lula Pena - "Pasion"

The reason why I started learning Tango in the first place (besides listening to the most amazing "bandoneon" orchestra in Buenos Aires, of course!).
When it s properly done, Tango dancing is exactly like making love with the man you re crazy about. It also has a lot of conflict, contradictory emotions but all of them are chocolate covered with true PASSION and SOUL.

Cannonball Adderley feat. Miles Davis " Autumn Leaves"

The thing about classics is that they sound to me as smooth and comfortable as silence (where all music resides, sleeping or awaken).
This may be the first sign of Autumn arriving to me. And that s the soundtrack of it.
So beautiful that you can actually taste it. It tastes lke warm bread coming out from the woven, covered with butter and jam watching an also warm cup of tea sweetened with honey.
This is how it tastes. This music. My preview of an unforgettable Autumn.

Today I woke up in a "New York state of mind" and it didn t help that some very wonderful posts were shared on the Facebook with music that I clearly associate with this city: Miles Davis and Billie Holiday, two of my constant musical companions.

Yet, when I say "New York" state of mind, I could also say Paris (still hanging from last Woody Allen s movie "Midnight in Paris") or any other city which has that undescribable tone of romance, excitement, nostalgia and Autumn leaves falling from bright orange trees...

Today, may I be in Cairo doing all I have to do, but my mind chooses to be on Broadway or by the Champ Elyseés, in a rainy day during which I ll be able to take a warm cup of tea in some bistro while people pass by as if they were dancing.

My mind decides it and, because it does, that s how it should be.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Next workshops in MERANO, ITALY

on 15,16th October!

Om Kolthoum and Crazy Tabla...what are you waiting for?!

All infos with Simone Gerstgrasser (Basimah): or through Facebook

Joana Saahirah of Cairo dancing Om Kolthoum

Antecipation for my next OM KOLTHOUM's WORKSHOP in ITALY, this October!
As an Oriental Dancer, no other subject is as fascinating as this one.
Om Kolthoum brought the technique, entonation and spiritual feeling from the "Coran" recitation (which she did since she was a little girl, taken by her father who dressed her as a boy to be accepted in religious feasts) to the most beautiful LOVE songs and gave them that RELIGIOUS feeling.

Although most egyptians will not notice it, but it was Om Kolthoum who joined religion with love and passion, turning them all in one single sacred thing.
The "tarab" she can produce in the audience s hearts is so much of this miraculous UNION: sky and earth, what muslims may consider "haram" (forbidden by God) and "halal" (allowed by God).

Who else could sing about embrace and love making with a religious tone and feeling to it?! Dear friends, this is what I call a REVOLUTION.
Oh, yeah...that s why I defend that mediocre, coward people CANNOT be

EXTRAORDINARY Artists. Your LIFE and how you live it is the material you use, as an artist, to PRODUCE dance, music, cinema, etc.

Your Art reflects who you are and your life. If you live small, according to other people s rules and limitations, then this is what you will do while giving birth to your heart.

That s exactly why I try my best to have a FULL, PASSIONATE, TRUE Life from which I can bring seeds to be planted in my dancing, teaching, writing.

Collecting the best seeds simply because I am living them.

The most needed kind of hospitals for the moment.

I wonder if it s just me being too much of "myself" (can you ever be too much of yourself?).

While choreographing new pieces to teach and preparing to return to the stages of Cairo with my orchestra, I can t help but notice that I am a different person now (how fast can you grow in such a short time?!) than I was just a few months ago.

Egyptian Revolution happened and so many other professional and personal ones added to it. It did not remain stone over stone in any of my castles. Lost a close friend to cancer when I was expecting her hug and amazing smile, learnt that not all MEN are MEN (even if you love them with all your heart), realized that the will for power, status and society's approval of what you do can be stronger than real love, noticed that some people live by other people s rules and decisions like slaves who don t know about their own condition and so much more.

Rejected yet another attempt of sexual harassment in exchange for work in Cairo, got tired of the whole game, saw my niece being born like a miracle happening on the palm of my hands and realized there is no space (not 1%) for bullshit in my world anymore.

My garden was washed over by the rain and there s no dust or rotten fruit left in it, only bright trees and flowers who spread their aroma into my everyday morning. No space for any kind of low games, ugliness, lack of quality things, ideas or people...

My garden is shinning like a new born baby in the interior patio of my home.

The sudden, hard changes and cold reality checks were a kind of deep cleaning period from which I am coming out like Venus from the waters (reference to Botticelli' s painting), a new born again more full of Light than ever.

Not sweating the small stuff anymore is part of the learning coming from a hard time but that s not all.

Magical (word that I use all the time...) is to SEE that my dance has evolved as much as I did and all the accessory disappeared giving place to the LANGUAGE - my own language, also known as "language of the birds, tigers or wild horses" - that Oriental Dance helped me find inside myself.

More than ever, I search for the Language of my SOUL (with my FULL Humanity in it) hugging Itself with heart, body and mind. It s not a process you can ever find intelectually, if you searched for it. That s the (here we go again!) MAGIC of it: this Language of the soul is something that comes to me through life s experiences and a phase of challenging "desert crossing"... like being in LOVE with a wonderful MAN (and I mean MAN, not man)...both extreme joy and pain touching each other s fingers, as if they were one and the same.

*( The power of )Delicate details.

I live for those unexpected, delicate moments of kindness and beauty. Maybe they may seem insignificant to others and, for sure, they will pass unnoticed to most of us, but I am stubborn and weird that way: I have this strange tendency to focus on BEAUTIFUL details so it s only natural that I can t stop smiling when a cat says "hi" to me on the street 'cause I look at him with the eyes of love or when a stranger has a lovely gesture without expecting anything else in return.
I've seen the best and the worst of humans, I suppose. This school of Egypt is a great one to start/end with. But, no matter how many shocks of terror or joy I may catch inside of me, nothing and no one could ever erase this colourful addiction of searching for the BEAUTIFUL details everywhere.
And, because I search for them, I find them and find them and find them. That s part of the whole thing s magic...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I like it...'cause I do.

No one really has to explain why they like some stuff that other people find irrelevant or even horrible.Tastes, like Love, are too personal and do not follow logical rules everyone can understand and agree with.

I like to take my breakfast early in the morning (when I am not performing, writing or partying throughout the night) at my favourite cafe in Zamalek, where I live. Cappuccino at one side, a great book or my Oprah magazine at the other side...such a simple pleasure that brings me enormous joy!

I like smelling the cupcake store zone, just for the kick all the sugary aroma produces in my body.

I like to drink my "mocca cafe" while riding on a Cairo taxi, heading to some happy place.

I like to smile at old people and children and feel in heaven when they smile back at me.

I like to feel my musician s protective arms when we re performing at some crazy wedding and people are getting out of hand.

I like to feel the sun on my skin after a long day of beach (salt on skin WITH the sun is essencial).

I like to breath slowly and deeply. All the time.

I like to sing. In the car, in the shower, everywhere.

I like the simple feeling of liking and discovering that it can be multiplied when I focus on it. Pleasures multiply themselves when we give them the proper attention.

Joaquin Cortes y su flamenco III

"Que hombre, por Dios!"
What a marvellous piece of Artist and Man...ay, ay...whispering deeply...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Joana Saahirah of Cairo dancing Mohamed Abdul Wahab

Me and Mohamed Abdul Wahab..."Min kher leh".

Joana Saahirah of Cairo dancing Om Kolthoum

Me and Om Kolthoum.


Doing my thing...


There is a television show I love to watch on the internet: "Inside the Actor s Studio". As an actress myself - who left my husband - ACTING- for my LOVER - DANCE! - I can t resist this program and all the actor s talk in it. In the end of each program, the presenter offers a little questionary to the actor who is being interviewed. Here s my own version of it, interviewing no other actor but myself:

Favourite word: Love/Passion (can t decide between the two)

The word I dislike the most: betrayal

Favourite sound: Silence (or the Atlantic Ocean waves breaking on the shore)

The sound I dislike the most: animals or children suffering

The most beautiful places I ve ever seen:

Taj Mahal, India.

Rishikesh, India.

Tulum bay, Mexico.

Tyrolese mountains, Italy.

Havana, Cuba.

Central Park or Broadway at Christimas times, New York.

View of horses and trees, inside Medellin (Colombia).

Atlantic Ocean, Portugal.

My favourite curse word: F.......k!

Which food/drink I always have at home, no matter what: water, milk, honey.

If God exists, what I would like to hear him say to me when I arrive at the Pearly Gates:

"Get in and let s DANCE!"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Miami Belly Dance Convention in images...

Small, wonderful moments that turn a regular working trip into an unforgettable event tatooed on my heart with loving, bright pink ink...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pearls (from Rumi, the eternal poet and visionary):

"Just wait a while,

turn your back and

remember what you have forgotten.

Try to find, if you ve lost.

Apologize if you ve hurt,

forgive if you ve been hurt.

Because life is too short."

*Shamz Tabriz


"Those who don t feel this Love

pulling them like a river,

those who don t drink dawn

like a cup of spring water,

or take in sunset like supper,

those who don t want to change.

Let them sleep."


"Don t let them think that we ve broken down.

That we've cracked up.

We merely dropped leaves,

for a further spring."


Rumi s poetry, more alive then reality itself filling the purpose of all POETRY: disturbing the rotten order of our minds and waking us up for a more inspiring, alive, true and exciting way of being ourselves.

Poetry should be ready to be eaten, drank, savored in all its glory and applied in practical daily life. After drinking a bit of (dangerous, like Dance) poetry, you often feel like making love to someone you re absolutely passionate about or going out in this crazy world and fight for the realization of your dreams. Isnt it THIS the actual function and purpose of all poetry?

I am guessing: Yes.

Conversations and pleasures...

4.00h a.m. in Cairo and I am seating with two friends of mine (both dancers) at the coffee-shop in Mohandessin.
We ve been dancing Salsa, merengue, bachata, mambo, kizomba and "que se yo" the whole evening, laughing our hearts out and enjoying each other s presence.
Then we headed for my favourite egyptian fast food place and continue to dance, yet with our mouths.

One of my friends is a GREAT ( and I mean GREAT!) classical ballet dancer and the other is another wonderful Oriental Dancer who happened to have started to study with me, years back in Spain.

Each one of us has his own experience, very different from each other, but each one of us agree on something: we LOVE dancing and we are happy not to be a part of its often dirty system of lobbies, dear friends who only call another dear friends for work and diplomacies that are nothing but lack of talent disguised by mediocre, loveless social relationships.

The better you are on stage, the less you are prone to be arrogant and make yourself more than you are: outside of the stage, you are REALLY just a person like any other person. Only people with no talent and self assurance feel the need to impose themselves on others as superior beings.

I ve been used to be taken for many things I am not: stupid, arrogant, a tramp who eats men for breakfast, prostitute, devilish bitch and so on. I am so used to be taken by these treats (by people who dont even know me) that I can already laugh at it all.

My friends agreed - and I guess that s one of the main reasons why I love them both - that real hard working and talent shown on the stage are enough for us.

This made me feel warm inside, like finding my way home when I had been lost for a long time. It felt great to find another ARTISTS (and these ones are ARTISTS) who, like me, didn t want to play the Super Star game and just allow themselves to have a human, peaceful, simple personal life where their relations are built from and for love, not from/for professional interests.

So many dancers befriend or even marry others they don t love, prostituting their bodies and their souls, just in order to reach some specific point in their careers and never get the chance to have REAL FRIENDS, REAL LOVERS, REAL LOVE in their lives because they re too busy playing the games of sad can that be?!

We didn t see the time passing...I love those guys and it feels amazing to find another dancers who, like me, dont get dirty in this business and care for their work without turning themselves into soulless animals.

It seems I am not alone in this journey...and what amazing companions do I have, indeed.

"All aspects of dance should aim at the evolution of mankind and for refining individuals.

So, dance is used for cleansing of the self and reflecting the divine, resulting in happiness.

So, any real art must only express the divine."

S. Sarada

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nagwa Fouad: 'Enta Omri'

All right, straight to the point: Normally, I would not post a Nagwa Fouad video because she s very far from being one of my favourite Oriental Dancers.
Dislike the movements and the whole lack of technical harmony BUT (and here s a HUGE "But") I just LOVE Nagwa s feeling and interpretation of the music in this particular video.

Don t mention the dress of the singer who looks like Disney s "Snow White" during a nightmare BUT (here we go again with the "BUT") what we see in terms of expression, honesty and raw presence is the REAL thing as far as Dancing is concerned (and notice I use the Dancing word with a capital "D").

Curious, true story:
Some years ago, I studied with Nagwa Fouad in a dance Festival and she sent her assistant to get me (almost lost in the middle of hundreds of students) because she wanted to take some pictures with me ("What???Why?!" - I thought, at that time).

I went Nagwa Fouad s way feeling extremely shy and she held me and told me :
"You are a great dancer" (well, did I blush??!!! I SOOOOOOO much did...).
We took some photos and I ran away from the place feeling very honoured and touched by her generous attitude and not knowing what to do next.
Well, LIFE has been aswering my questions so far...

Thank you, Madame Nagwa Fouad (beautiful heart, indeed!).

"Not all those that wander are lost."

J.R.R.. Tolkien, novelist and philologist (1892- 1973)

The great (often hidden) sides of the coin or the Puppet show for adults.

If there are several hard aspects - incomprehensible to my own "limited" mind - about living in Cairo (which does not represent the whole Egypt and egyptians), I must say that there are also magical reasons to LOVE this city and this country.

Let s not forget ( as criticals and foreigners do much frequently, me included) that Cairo is a major jungle in the center of the Middle East and Africa. Millions of people circulate in this overcrowded city, literally, "running for their lives" and they have to compete in a marathon full of holes, traps, dirty spots on the road and many scorpions who will bite you and aniquilate you if they see you run better/faster than them.

Frank Sinatra said in the famous song "New York, New York":

"If I can make it there, I ll make it anywhere..."
I have a sure impression that he was singing about Cairo, not New York.

New York was just a secret code word he used in order not to cause any stirr about cross cultural matters.

Although New york is, in its own style, another kind of jungle where so many people are trying to get the same pieces of cake, the corruption and the lack of humanity has not reached the point where Cairo is, devilishly, seated.
If you can MAKE IT in Cairo without turning yourself into a "son/daughter of a bitch" then you should be considered a hero and statues should be sculpted on your honour.
Talent, honesty, hard work and competence are not rewarded but seen as dangerous treats that will, eventually, corrupt the dirty order of lobbies and mafias existent in every single area in this country.
The smart asses who can cheat, steal, lie and play the diplomatic dirty games required by a corrupted system are the WINNERS and it s a miracle when someone can break this chain and still be SUCCESSFUL!

Now...there are two sides to every coin/story.
I could not stop to smile when I was heading to my home, in Zamalek, and saw the advertisement for one more of the already famous Puppet shows at the "El Sewy Centre" in the same zone of Zamalek.
I think this centre is a blessed place, giving opportunity to so many wonderful artist of all areas to show their work in a respectable environment where people understand and appreciate ART.
Sure I already had many doors shut on my face there, when proposing Oriental Dance shows, but I guess that asking a mainstream cultural place to accept its own egyptian dance is STILL asking for way too much...

I ve been in some of these puppet shows related with Om Kolthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez and felt surprised and delighted to see children and, mostly, adults crying and smiling over a few puppets on stage pretending to be the famous singers and their orchestras.
Now it was time for "The Beatles" puppet show and it s all sold out.
In which other country would you find adults filling a theatre to watch and feel emotionally taken by puppets?!

I find in egyptian people the kind of sense of humour, wonder and innocence that they have almost forgot. In times like these where everybody seems to be becoming a wild animal just to save his own ass, it s endearing and lovely to watch these simple facts that show me that not everything is lost.
If adults can be faithful audiences to puppet shows like the ones I watched at this centre, then they haven t totally lost their heart yet. There is still hope!
They re still alive, still children at heart, still carrying some white, clean territories in the polluted ground of their souls.

It s wonderful to be able to find the beautiful sides of these coins. Everywhere.
"I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life."

F. Scott Fitzgerald, in: "The Great Gatsby"

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Hey, cavemen...up for marriage...tomorrow morning?!"

My mobile rang with tis usual irritating tone. I do not like phones or speaking through them. In a previous life time, some phone must have exploded in my ears and, therefore, I abhorr all kinds of phones in this current life.
With shopping and phones, I must be the opposite of most women: hate shopping and speaking on the phone! Go figure...

- Hi, Joana! Do you want to marry an egyptian man? - I heard from the other side of the line, coming from a familiar voice but with no preliminaries or "salam ualeekum".
- Hi! How are you? What the hell are you talking about? - I answered, quite not prepared for yet another episode of typical egyptian craziness.
- I have a friend who is a doctor and the owner of his own company and I told him about you and how amazing you are and I also showed him your photo and he wants to marry you. Are you interested? - He continued, as if he was asking me if I wanted to have coffee on any given sunny afternoon.

*What DA F..................................??!!!!!! (I thought to myself).
I ve dealt with so much and so varied kinds of weirdos around here but they never fail to surprise me and shock me more and more.

I was speechless, not so much because I didn t know what to say but because I am simply sick and tired from egyptian mentality towards women and relationships. It seems that people around here get married for all the reasons, EXCEPT LOVE. This makes me want to throw up!

- No, I don t want to marry any egyptian man. Not interested but thank you for asking. - I said, in a last attempt of being polite.

- Why not? He s very good looking and you ll make gorgeous babies together and he s offering you the direction of his own company. I told him you are not only an artist but also a very intelligent, highly educated woman so he s ready to give you the leadership of his company. What do you think?" - He continued, in pursuit of his own "match making" challenge, talking with me as if I was a piece of merchandise someone wants to buy for a great price.

I didn t have time to think about an answer to this lunatic conversation when my "express husband" spoke for himself (and so poorly, I may say!):

- Hi, I am doctor X. I heard so much about you. I want to see you and marry you. - A strange voice came from the other side of the line.

My patience was, instantly, over. I asked him to pass the phone to my "friend" and told him very clearly that I had no intention of marrying any egyptian man and that most of them are the kind of men I would not recommend to my worst enemy, if I had one. As it happens to every rule, there must be exceptions to the majority but I didn t find one of them just yet.

- NO, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I d rather eat indian cow s dung for lunch than to marry someone I hardly know just because he is offering me "everything" and, by everything, we can mean so many different things.

I never stop surprising me around here. At which extent does this local "logic" goes and how different is my own perception of the world and their own perception of the world.

Meanwhile, I try so hard to keep my mental sanity going on...