Sunday, October 30, 2011

Martha Graham

OMG...Gotta LOVE this's a handfull of jewels delivered by Martha Graham at her backstage room. Dedicated to all the DANCERS who know their craft from its CORE and LOVE it from its CORE.
This is just PRECIOUS to watch and learn from!

Ovation TV | Martha Graham: The Dancer Revealed

Martha Graham, the mother of Modern Dance.
I wonder when other dancers, from all genres, start to relate to what Martha taught and practiced: Dance as a way of expressing real emotions and be in touch with the human soul. Not just a visual effect that is meant to impress by its acrobatic/physical power.
Love the video, love the ARTIST and how much inspiration I draw from her.

My book...................

I roll up my sleeves and search for the cigarette I never smoked before.

My stubborn nature keeps me going, not letting me quit of any dream I chose for my own.

So many battles behind more space in my brain for dirty matters of any kind. I react to evilness with violent rage...still on the way to react to it in a state of full bliss and peace, yet not there quite yet.

My brain is too focused on CREATION, on BEAUTY.

Ugliness hurts me and evil intentions stab me like a knife going deep into my guts. I am no more of the world that surrounds me. I have managed to create my own world where all I see is joy, love, animals and children, great men and women, achievements of the soul and more...

Sitting to write a few more pages of my book is a an act of courage, every single time it happens. A voice says: "Don t do it. You're gonna screuw it up. Who do you think you are?!"

The other, much more silent than the previous one, simply says: "Just do it." Not much for an inspiration, huh?! But it does the trick. It has to. If I don't believe I CAN DO IT in a great way, then nobody else can convince me of that. This is from ME to ME.

I m not only dealing with heavy work but also with my own demons, what to tell and what silences to keep, that fine and impossible balance between truth and diplomacy.

As I m afraid, terrified, every time I prepare to dance on stage, I also feel the same when sitting with my wide open legs (like I'm giving birth...and, well...I am!) by the wooden table where I am working on my own book.

In front of me, a huge indian fabric piece with two dancers from the temples ("Devadasis") coming out of their own private lotus flowers. Outside the window, there is the Cairo traffic providing me with the proper soundtrack and the decadent walls of another building in eternal reconstruction.

I have my cup of cappuccino by one side, my notebooks and tarot cards by the other, the baby cats outside my door asking for tenderness and food and me, inside of myself, being as brave as I can in order to become, once more, totally VULNERABLE and ready to throw myself into the blank pages on my computer.

My muscles hurt. I am a dancer, after all. This body was not made to remain still for hours, writing. This seems to be anti natura, an incredible effort I ask of myself. Maybe a silent, immobile kind of dance I didn't know before. It's still dance, though...I see it now.

I stretch every once in a while and light another candle, go out to watch the baby cats of my building, their mother, boyfriend and fellows (all of them are daily companions of my doorstep). I feed them, caress the ones who have gained confidence in me, smile with their playing around and see how my brain is renewed from this sight.

Returning to the blank page, I write again full of doubts and fears.

"What do I think I'm doing?!" - I ask myself.

Why is it so hard to believe in our own abilities and so easy to firmly take in the ghosts of our inabilities? If someone says "You re talented", I may smile but always doubt it.

If that same person tells me "You have no talent whatsoever" the echo of that phrase will haunt me for the rest of my days...why is that so?!

Writing my own book has been, more than anything else, the struggle between my inner demons and my persistent courage to NEVER GIVE UP of a dream.

I am up for the battle!

Let's do it, dear ghosts.

Colette's painting circa 1896 by Jacques Humbert
"She's made of steel!"
She's simply "made of woman", and that's sufficient. pleasing and labourious work as a mime and happy, tired muscles, the new concern (which relaxes me from the old one) of earning my own food, clothing and rent...all this immediately became my lot in life, but I also acquired a wild mistrust, a distaste for the milieu in which I had lived and suffered, a stupid fear of man, of men, and of women, too...A morbid need to be unaware of what was going on around me, (...)And another peculiarity took hold of me very quickly: I feel isolated and protected from my fellow human beings only when on stage - the barrier of the footlights keeping me safe from everybody..."

In "The Vagabond", by Colette

Any resemblance with my own reality is NOT a coincidence.;)

Joana Saahirah of Cairo on baladi, Egypt

With LOVE, to all my fans around the world...from Egypt...

So I've heard...somewhere I can't recall...:)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Everything is energy and that s all that is to.

Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality.It can be no other way.

That is not philosophy. That is physics."

Albert Einstein

Friday, October 28, 2011

Curious to observe...

That the preparation that takes sitting down and writting my book, bit by bit, is very similar to the preparation I always do when preparing myself to:

Perform on stage;

Choreograph a new piece of music;

Practice yoga;

(making love :)))).

Somehow, I need candles and incense (relaxing light), lots of clean, fresh air, a good shower to make me feel fresh and ready to go to the moon...

yeah, that's pretty much it. Yet I think what do all of these things have in common to require the same preparation for them all?

Also curious to see that all of these same things produce equal feelings in me:

excitement, some strongly seated fears coming to the surface, a state of peace and a splash into the deep waters of my SOUL.

I guess that what they have all in common is the most beautiful cliché of all: LOVE.

Mahmoud Reda

Another precious "vintage" video of me, dressed like a "fellaha" (peasant from Egypt) and dancing one more of Mahmoud Reda's choreographies.

Love the almost "naif" tone of it all and the lessons that are beneath the making of this video. Most of the precious things we live in our lives are kept in the silence, inside our emotional box of delights, no messing around with it, no comments needed.

Such tenderness comes to me when I watch these videos...
Grateful for these incredible roads I've been riding along.;)

Mahmoud Reda

This video was sent to me by a dancer from Argentina who had some questions about egyptian folclore.
Here I am, delightfully well behaved (cloth, "mademoiselle" hands and hairdo combining with the "good girl" mood of it all) in a video my dear Mahmoud Reda made at his studio, here in Cairo.

Working with Mahmoud (assisting him in workshops in Egypt and outside, filming his choreographies,etc) has been much more than learning and professional experience for me. It has been the building of a life time friendship that I cherish much beyond the dance sphere.

Here it is, a "vintage" video of myself doing one of the many choreographies I learnt from Mahmoud.
I find it very endearing and lovely.:)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chaos in my (creative) village.

Friedrich Nietzche said that it takes chaos to give birth to a star.

If that s so, then I am giving birth to an endless night of stars which can be seen from any place on earth without any astronomical device.

Reading "Just Kids" by Patti Smith, "Harriette Wilson's Memoirs - The greatest courtesan of her age" in english and also a latin american book that tells the story of a very special boy called Julius ("Un mundo para Julius", by Alfredo Bryce Echenique). Reading this last one in
spanish is a huge pleasure to me, kind of a "home return" feeling...warm and cozy.

What kind of influences are these and why this particular combination of simultaneous readings? I wouldn t know. I do things like explanation.

Performing, choreographing a new "baladi" piece (trying to figure out how can you "crystalize" movements in a choreography with a style that is, by nature, pure improvization...hmmm...), learning a new Mohamed Abdul Wahab piece to teach alongside with my dearest Mahmoud Reda (when and if he asks for my help, he will always find me by his side until the end of the world...this is a friendship for Eternity), writing my book with a deadline over my head and many discoveries on the way.

Not mentioning the "Women's Empowering" project which was born from a supposed "conflict" between women (ah, you gotta love them!) body, head and heart are flowing and floating in the immense ocean of CHAOS).

Fear to get lost, for sure.

But excited (Yes, I was born this way;).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"All you can imagine is real."

Albert Einstein

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

If you happen to be in Cairo on the 29th October, DO NOT miss this event

"Pink Party for the Cure" destined to gather funds to eliminate breast cancer in Egypt.

A full day of "zumba" workouts with different teachers at the "El Sawy Culturewheel" (Zamalek).

The point is not even the "zumba" itself (a commercial mix of different latin rythms dressed up in aerobics workout to make you sweat and have some fun at the same time).

The POINT is to support and join a great cause and use dance, any kind of dance, as a way of helping a very strong problem in Women's lives nowadays (breast cancer).

I confess I am a latin dance lover, not a "zumba" lover BUT I will be there for sure because this event is a great example of what I always defended: You can change society and people's quality of LIFE through Dance, Art, Creative gathering of people united to BUILD something of amazing worth.

I am IN. Body and soul.

Tickets only cost 30L.E. and they can be bought at Cilantro coffeshops, Makani and

El Sawy Centre itself.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My (very) personal apology to Blume.

I profess no specific religion. I follow no specific prophet (although all the prophets seem like quite fascinating individuals to me). I don t recognize stupid laws, traditions or authorities that bind the spirit and crash my own Humanity.

I follow VALUES that were taught by my close family and I follow my own conscience which KNOWS best (although I refuse to listen to it, some times...).

One of the many things my incredible mum taught me was to apologize when I feel I made a mistake. No matter how much annoyance my ego may try to cause me, just be strong and apologize. It is a sign of character, not weakness.

Another thing this same mum taught me was to never act in the same way of those I saw as ignorant, arrogant or evil. We are NOT responsible for whom other people are and for what they do BUT we ARE responsible for our ANSWER to this same people.

Sure it is not easy to answer with kindness and love when you feel disrespected or offended while doing nothing to deserve it. But it is the quality of the wise to control their own reactive/protective instincts and act BEYOND any attack.

I have failed in this matter.

Light comes to us in the most unexpected ways. I recognize (re-cognoscere is a latin word that means "to know again") it does.

And our MASTERS are, indeed, everywhere. Very often in the person who hurt us and offend us to test how much we have grown ourselves and how much of what we defend can be applied to our actions.

While dressing up for another show with my musicians (yesterday night...must have been the first really COLD evening of Autumn in Cairo), a friend of mine called me to comment on the "witch" burning process that was going on in the Facebook around my person.

"Oh, let them burn themselves and use me as a lighter and gasoline. That has nothing to do with me, really!"

I told her what happened and exactly what I answered Blume (whom I don t know but REALIZE is a human being like me and, therefore, deserves my kindness no matter what) when she accused me of spam and threatened to report me like a criminal to the Facebook simply because a friend had posted the link to my Fan Page in her Group.

- What the hell was that? That girl must have been way out of line... it s ridiculous.

You, usually, report as spam and report people to the Fb authorities when they are stalkers or sexual perverts, right? - My friend told me, agreeing with me.

- Well, yeah. I think so. At least, my personal page is open to sharing all kinds of interesting things and I personally promote other dancers and events I consider CONSTRUCTIVE so I really thought her threats were way out of line. As if my Fan Page was offending her on some way...weird, exaggerated, aggressive. That s how I see it. - I concluded.

My friend was compassionate with me until I told her, practically word by word, what was my straighforward answer to Blume.

Now...the thing about REAL friends is that they always tell you the truth, even if that is umpleasant or disagrees with your own perspective.

- Wow...Joana! Did you tell the girl all that? In those words?! You must have hurt her feelings, don t you think so? - She made me notice.

- Well, not as much as she hurt mine by dealing with me like a common stalker.

Who the hell does she think I am? And why waste her time threatening me JUST because Sonya made a link of my Fan Page in a Group with the name "Cairo" in it?


So, yeah. I told her all that and I would tell her some more, if I had her face to face.

She was being a bitch and I answered her in the same way... - I told my friend, already falling into some other reality, higher perhaps.

My friend didn t follow the conversation. She didn t have to. She knows me well enough to feel when I realize I made a mistake, by myself, in a single second.

I had to finish getting dressed and get on stage but my heart was already feeling it ALL.

In fact, it was never my intention to hurt anyone s feelings and I m the kind of person who people, usually, come for healing and inspiration, not to get hurt.

If I felt offended by the threats of Blume, I should have forgiven her on the spot. I should not answer aggression with equal aggression.

If I open my Page to other dancers and love to share other people s work, I must accept that not everybody is obliged to do the same. Having an OPINION about what this means doesn t have to be, necessarily, something I talk about but simply keep to myself.

If I felt any frustration, unhappy reflection on me from this person who approached me with unreasonable aggressivity, I should feel compassionate towards the pain I feel in this person and shut my mouth, simply asking her WHY she had that behaviour.

The thought that I might have hurt someone s feelings - in this case, a lady called Blume, but it could have been anyone else - made me cringe and feel sad with myself. That s not who I am, not even when I am defending myself.

If I defend that we should LIVE with LOVE for others, then I should know that means LOVING them even when they are wrong with me, when they attack me in any way, when they are unfair to me. Loving someone who is great with you is easy. Loving someone who approaches you in the opposite manner is the REAL proof of your own sanity and maturity as a person.

In some ways, I now see that Blume (name that I, curiously, adore) was wrong and out of proportion in her attitude with me but I was equally wrong by answering an attack with another attack.

Maybe my answer to her was the accumulation of many, many disrespects I ve been delivered with in the last years of struggling as an ARTIST in Egypt where women are still 3rd cathegory territory owned by men and dancers are seen as cheap prostitutes.

Maybe I am sick and tired of being good to other people and receiving back stabbing as a regular feed-back.

Maybe I m too hurt from the battles any dancer has to face if she wants to work and succeed in Egypt without selling her body and soul to the devil.

Maybe I am over sensitive to any kind of aggression or unfair accusation because I ve heard incredible stories about me from men I refused to sleep with around here or other dancers who just don t like me due to my success and the proud, clean way with which I achieved it.

Maybe, many other things yet the important for me to say is:

I am sorry if I hurt your feelings, Blume (she knows who she is) and I don t care how aggressive or unfair your message may have felt to me. I should have known better than to answer with the same coin.

Besides this, I even thank you for making me REALIZE that I m still acting through my most basic reactions and instincts, some times.

And THANK YOU for the bright IDEA of my brand NEW PROJECT in Cairo that came out from all this mess originated by my beloved "Joana Saahirah Fan Page":

"Women s Empowerment and Creative Union through Oriental Dance".

Oriental Dance classes to women of all nationalities and walks of life;

Discussion of topics chosen by these women;

Book club and much more...

(more details will come soon!).

My apology doesn t come from any other place than my own conscience. From there and also from my heart.And it is of moments like this that GROWTH happens.

Thanks to all the MASTERS I find in my path (Blume, you are one of them!) and for the ability to follow and ASSIMILATE their messages bringing more LIGHT into my LIFE.

P.S.Dear Blume, I also invite you to come to Cairo and join me in one of my shows or classes. It will be a pleasure to meet you.:)

"If you knew the secret of Life,
you too would choose,
no other companion, but Love."

About retreats and security in Cairo.

A lot has been said about Egypt since the Revolution started.
Sure there were mistakes made. It is impossible to have a perfect behaviour happening with millions of people united in a chaotic situation that the PEOPLE of EGYPT managed incredibly well.
While on the phone with my friend Mahmoud (THE Mahmoud Reda, the GENIUS and my dearest teacher and sweet heart) I was commenting with him how many things I read and heard about the insecurity in Cairo due to the incomplete police forces in the streets and general lack of authority being practiced in the over populated city.

Now...let s be fair.
I may be one of the very few dancers who dares to speak the TRUTH about this incredible country and the experience of living and performing here so I must tell it as it is in order not to disappoint myself and my blog s followers.

Egyptian people have managed this transitory period in the most amazing way. Other countries, as it happened and it s still happening, fell into war zone situations and total destruction in the same revolutionary attempts.

Sure the economy is down and the tourism too. Sure there are prices to pay for every Revolution. No doubt about it.
Sure there is the proper instability of the upcoming elections and all of us not knowing who will represent us and lead the country BUT there is PEACE and SAFETY and TOURISTS are welcomed.
If there was a rise in criminality and chaos in the streets, then I didn t notice it.
Cairo is still the safest city in the world for me. That hasn t changed.

The demonstrations that keep erupting in the city are localized and do not represent any danger to passers by or tourists. I ve passed by some of them and saw how people - and some police forces - manage it well.
Maybe the news show you all the darkest details of the whole situations. But dark details can build up a wrong image of the country and its people. Manipulating images is the main crime of news these days and it can give a totally wrong idea of what s REALLY going on.

Sure I don t mean news are lying about it all BUT I should give my own experience s feed back. There have been clashes between christians and muslims (no doubt, due to the willingness of some powerful ones to SEPARATE egyptians and, therefore, make them weaker) and eventual violent episodes BUT that doesn t reflect on the security of our daily lives in the country.

As I receive messages of dancers asking me if they should come here or not, I must say what I SEE around me and that is:
"Come! You are so welcome in Egypt and the current unstable situation does NOT mean any harm or danger to you."

Often find a gap between the news that are spread about Egypt and the REALITY I see in front of my eyes on a daily basis. I cannot express, like a true reporter, what s going on ALL around the country but maybe my personal experience can cover some of the true facts.
Also notice that Egypt is a country full of contradictions and that s one of the many reasons that makes this place such an interesting, often exhausting and challenging place to live and learn from. Although we tend to cathalog Middle East and countries like this one as repressed, mentally located in Medieval Ages and such other things that happen to - also! - be true, I see much further than that, including all the shades of grey that go between black and white.

There is a crescendo of sexual harassment in the streets of Cairo ( I can t figure out why) BUT the security that taxi drivers and other public employees garanty you in public spaces is enormously touching.
Being a woman, walking in any street of Cairo, you ll hear sexual remarks at every minute (even if you re covered with loose pieces of heavy, ugly pieces of fabric) BUT you will find people watching your back everywhere to make sure no one touches you or robs you of your material possessions.

Oh, yes. It would be very easy to put Egypt in a box but things are not as simple and linear as that, specially after a very SPECIAL REVOLUTION which egyptian people are still trying to go forward with.
I praise, not the egyptian politicians who are as corrupt and shameless crooks as any other common politician in the world, plain puppets in the hands of corporations and money making machines, BUT I praise the common man and woman of Egypt who can feel compassion and care for their community and its inhabitants.

Human beings are multi-dimensional and Egypt is a good example of that BUT I have to say that, despite normal conflicts that follow any Revolution, I am proud of Egypt and its people.
And this doesn t come from following the news or going with the current - any current. It doesn t even come from an attempt to be nice or diplomatic (if you follow this blog, you ll know by now that I am NOT a diplomatic person).
It comes from my own personal experience and view of this beloved country.
To all tourists (dancers and non dancers):

Feel welcomed and safe to visit us in Egypt!

Meanwhile...still on retreat...recovering some energies for challenges that do not cease to arrive to my hands.

P.S. Egypt is not ONLY Cairo. Some amazing beach and archeological zones and retreats can be found all over the country. Check them and come!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

( Lilith, John Collier painting)

Celebrating the "bitch of the day" or simply the Lilith in me! (?)

Well, well, well...may I say VERY well?! Yes, indeed.

These days away from the madness of Cairo and the "killing of the witch" going on my back at the marvellous Facebook have done miracles.

In fact, I realized - once more - that answering to what I REALLY consider unhappy, frustrated women who see in others the projection of everything they are not or cannot be would not fix any problem, it would just perpetuate it.

I didn t only block and reported a lady called Blume to the Facebook authorities but I also blocked away all the "witch" burning that followed. It is not interesting to me because it speaks about these same miserable women. It doesn t even speak about me and I have no interest in these women s frustrations being clearly expressed through the witch of the day, me!:)

If you didn t follow the, apparently, BIG subject (ridiculous, ridiculous...) then you wouldn t know a very funny fact: I am the witch many women are, happiply, burning on the communal village of shared unhappiness.

I don t even mind to fill that role, as long as something great and CONSTRUCTIVE comes out of it. And, thanks God, it DOES.

Answering to hateful comments of people who don t even know me (simply because a friend of mine sinned by posting the very offensive link of my Fan Page in a Group with the name "Cairo" in it) is not the right thing to do.

Sure I do not aim to please anyone or to be nice to people just because they are potential sponsors, students, clients of my work. I m my worst enemy in this case.

My friends are my friends due to their human quality and they, usually, have nothing to do with my profession (although I have a handful of dancers who happen to be my true friends) and NEVER for hidden agenda interests of my own. That game people play makes me sick to my stomach and has nothing to do with the way I lead my life.

I will be the kindest person to anyone and everyone who will approach with kindness and my answer will NEVER depend on my potential "professional" interest in this person. It s just not the way I live.

I firmly believe that people will request my work JUST BECAUSE of its quality and not because I practice the very common art of adulation and social networking full of lobbies who promote friends and "connections" instead of ARTISTS and QUALITY.

I go against the tide in this matter as I do in many others.

I also will NEVER refrain from expressing my opinion about anyone. If I have a positive opinion about someone, whoever she/he may be, I express it. If I have a negative one and that person disrespects me in any way, then I will also express it and that I don t intend to change.

Some people love me for that and others simply hate me. That s LIFE! You cannot please Greeks and Trojans.

After a few days of burning on the stake of women who felt relieved from their own frustrations by trashing me (I m glad I could be of a great service to you all) for the sin I commited (link to my Fan Page and message to the person who threatened me by advising her to take some therapy sessions and making her notice how miserable she must be if she took the time to accuse me of spam and criminal behaviour simply because someone posted my Fan Page link to her group! WTF???), a great ray LIGHT came to my head.

I thought to myself: "How can I help WOMEN unite each other and SHARE the GREAT things they do INSTEAD of creating lobbies of frustrated beings and destroying the ones who ACHIEVE things in life and reach for their own potential?"

I thought I already did that in my workshops and private lessons. By pushing my students to be their FULL selves and giving them confidence to be themselves and reach higher in their dancing and lives, I presumed my job was being done.

I even thought that, by my example, I could inspire other Women (dancers and others) to BELIEVE they could dream BIG and achieve their goals without selling their own soul to the devil.

I presumed my career example would be of good service to other women who need an extra push or strenght to believe in their potential, develop it and fight for their dreams...

Yet that is not enough...

Complaining and feeding the hate that has been built around the bitch of the day

(" Oui, c'est moi!" and I say it with a cigar between my lips and fishnet stockings that will cause another riot between the little, desperate housewives of this world) would not do the trick.I ve learnt so far that Ghandi was right in many things, specially in this one:

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

So I decided to CREATE a Group in Cairo. A very special one.

"Women's Empowerment and CREATIVE union through Oriental Dance"

From this main idea, another ones flowed like beautiful flowers "blooming" (ironic but very accurate verb being used in this situation...thanks to you, dear Blume, whoever you are!).

An open weekly Oriental dance class to egyptian, arab and all foreigner women in Cairo where I could teach them more than steps.

An open discussion covered in a warm environment, cappuccinos and egyptian tea about subjects that worry and affect women's lives after the class.

A Book club that will select, democratically, a specific piece of literary work per month and then discuss about it, dance about it, write about it, probably live about it. It feels to me a way of uniting women in the same purpose of improving their life s quality by exploring all potentials of their senses/bodies, hearts, minds and spirits.

It all just fell on my lap like a bright, juicy, sweet orange in a sizzling hot summer day!

The idea is still in my womb, thanks to the bitch burning valuable process I ve been blessed to go through. The thing they didn t know about TRUE witches is that they get stronger and more creative after being burnt.:) It s quite like being reborn, do you know what I mean?

I am very excited and happy with this project, also realizing that GREAT things can be born from the most potentially hurting situations. That LIGHT can come out of evilness and that we have the power to use destructive forces into CONSTRUCTIVE ones.

I can only thank, from my heart and without the slightest irony, all the evil comments someone called lady Blume (who really made me "bloom") and respective friends have been busy with. Busy with me, my own little self! How important must I be, dear Lord!:)

That s another compliment as well.

Thanks to you all and your out of order hate, this PROJECT was born and I will make sure it will go through, CREATING instead of DESTROYING.

Opening Women s sharing, instead of KEEPING LOBBIES/GROUPS closed in their own mediocrity.

This weekly meeting will be opened to all the WOMEN who wish to bring their hearts in their hands and LEARN from each other.

Thank you all for the incredible INSPIRATION.

Wait for details and way to join us. All details will be posted soon!:)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Open letter to DANCERS (people, really) all over the world:

The biggest gifts and discoveries often come disguised as evil people and episodes in our lives. Living and performing in Egypt for the last 5 years has taught me that, among many other valuable lessons.

In times such as this, I feel in my heart the need to write this note to all dancers who wish to read it, hoping that BETTER things and attitudes will come out of it.

This is NOT an answer to all the dancers bad mouthing me in the Facebook because the REAL reason they do it is not worth the time and effort to write whatever I could write.

This is, FOR SURE, the beautiful result of yet another backstabbing episode that came from the air, from the simple fact that many people are unhappy and frustrated with their own inability to achieve what they dream of and, therefore, they tend to attack the ones who are able to do it.

A lady called Blume (gorgeous and poetic name, if you say it out loud!) has sent me a warning message forbidding me to post a link of my Fan Page in Facebook in a group called Cairo Caravan, threatening me of consequences to my crime.

Sure I didn t understand the reason of this law as both my Fb profiles are opened to other dancers who wish to promote their good work but I respected it because not everyone is supposed to want to know my work better. She had the right to block, for some personal reasons of her own that I will not go into, the access of my Fan Page to this group and I sure accepted her decision.

I happen to have a few friends, very few and very valuable, that help me in the organization of my work and promotion of it. I even happen to have two beautiful girls called Sonia (or Sonya, as they write their name) and they both try their best to share my work with whomever they can just because they love me. One of them is in Portugal and the other in Cairo and none of them earns anything from it or wishes to be recognized. They just like to help me out of friendship, love and appreciation. Yes, they are RARE. I told you so!

One of these beautiful friends who assist me with my work in the Facebook didn t know about this FORDIDDEN entry at the group of this lady called Blume so she posted the infamous link of my Fan Page in the group simply because it had "Cairo" in it and I perform in Cairo so that would make sense for here. No harm or offense intended.
She didn t mean any disrespect as I didn t mean any disrespect while posting it for the first time. I is a simple link that so many people seem to consider offensive (wonder why?!).

To this episode, this lady with the beautiful name of Blume sent me an extremely aggressive, nervous break down type of message, threatening me again in a much more violent manner and informing me that she had reported me to the authorities I don t know of what.

For me, this was crazy talk and I told her so. It seemed that I had offended her own beloved mother and she was defending her pride. Out of proportion and evil, for NO reason.

As it is known from all my close friends, lovers and friends, I have NO diplomatic skills whatsoever. I admit to this "fault" and I consider it a side effect of the compulsive honesty that has put me into troubes so many, but SO many times.

So I told her what I thought: she should seek a therapist and refrain from showing off her rage and envy to people who did nothing to harm her or offend her.

She posted my message (NOT the message she sent me, threatening me and reporting my crime to whoever she dreamt of, of course!) at her page and mine (talk about invasion of privacy...) and from this point I read the most hateful comments about me from people that must know my professional name but have no idea of who I am or how did I reach the point of SUCCESS I did in my career.

It seems that my assistant s crime of posting my very offensive Fan Page link in this group erupted different vulcanoes that were sleeping under the anger of so many dancers who see in me the reflection of what they would have liked to be and do but CAN T or COULDN T do.

It is not a new subject to me.

When I left my own country, Portugal, to come to Egypt and perform here (while writing a book about this LIFE s experience) I had to deal with the same kind of ugly reflections of other people s frustrations and deep seated envy.

One night before my "Farewell" show at a theatre in Lisbon, I dreamt that I was sleeping on my back, laying on a hill with a bright sunny sky, when several snakes started bitting my back.

My sister was with me in that dream and she told me: "Aren t you feeling the snakes?"
I looked above my shoulder, while asking her: "What snakes? I don t feel anything."
As I realized my back was being bitten all over by several snakes, I smiled at my sister and finished with the revealing phrase: "Oh, don t bother. They bite but they cannot hurt me."

The other day, before the big gala with my farewell show, I was attacked by dancers and my own students with comments such as:

"Who do you think you are? You are arrogant. You think you re the best or what?!
You think Portugal is not enough for you so you have to leave to Egypt! What kind of irresponsible teacher are you if you just leave everybody and run to Egypt?"

No support or words of encouragement from anyone, including from my family who thought - and still does! - that coming to Egypt was a pure, dangerous madness.

I even heard about conspiracy theories of the reason WHY I was going to Egypt.
Running from taxes, going after a rich "sheikh" and so on...All BIG BULSHIT and none of it had to to with ME.

That s the crazy and funny part of it all: none of this BULSHIT had to do with me.

It just reflected the dreams those dancers and women, mostly, had for themselves. The same dreams they knew they would never have the guts to make come true. The same dreams they wished for themselves but were too afraid to fight for.

I became a MIRROR of their own frustrations, the things they would like to be and do but couldn t or wouldn t. Till this day and more and more and more...

That same reality has struck me once again, making me REALIZE how much I have grown until now and that those mirrors of frustrated people grow alongside my path of victories.

Also ironic is the read comments from dancers who have no idea of what it took to get HERE without prostituting myself, harming anyone on the way and always being honest with me and everyone around me when everybody else was trying to screw me and harm me as much as possible.

From other dancers trying to put me in jail by hiding drugs in my backstage room, cheap copies of my shows and "stealing" of my best musicians by managers/husbands who could afford to pay an extra buck, to snails being put inside of my boots so that I would perfurate my feet and stop dancing, to ex boyfriends trying to stop me dancing by threatening to destroy my face with acid, to bosses and men in the Cairo business harming me on my back like cowards because I refused to go to bed with them...the list is endless. But no one really wants to know about it cause that will make them hate a great deal less.

Due to hard work and the talent God gave me and that I m so proud of, I have built my name in the most competitive, dirty and hard dance environment in the world but no one seems to care about that. The gossip and dirty lies seem to be much more comfortable to other envious dancers than the pure truth. It s quite like selling papers: only the bad, bloody, dirty news sell. The good things some people are doing in the world don t seem to appeal to the buyers/readers.

Along this incredible, challenging path I chose I learnt how to appreciate OTHER GREAT ARTISTS, not filling my heart with envy and rage towards them.
If there s someone or something in which I see QUALITY, I yell it out loud and I get inspired by them, becoming a better ARTIST also BECAUSE of them.

With this comment I finish this letter, retaining the most important:

Dear dancers, do not let your envy, frustrations and mediocrity blind you.

If you have a DREAM, you should believe in yourself as I believe in myself and follow through with it, doing your best to develop your talents and abilities and that includes sharing and learning from other DANCERS.

We have much more in common that you think. Substitute HATE and ENVY by LOVE and SHARING. This is what I have to say to Blume (still insisting she seeks therapy, maybe "anger management therapy":) and to all the dancers who lose their time and energy destroying the ACHIEVEMENTS of the few dancers who SUCCEED without losing their dignity and humanity.

Cheers to everyone and my shows in Cairo (or anywhere else in the world) are open to you all, as long as you come with your heart in your hands!

Happy dancing and happy living make INCREDIBLE ARTISTS. Believe it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Leaving you all, for a while, with some precious PEARLS of mine...

"If I create from the heart, nearly everything works;

if from the head, almost nothing."

Mark Chagall

"One is not born a woman,

one becomes one."

Simone de Beauvoir

Out of the blog sphere for the next period of my CREATIVE LIFE (and it feels like writing EVERYTHING in CAPITALS, chocolate covered in bold).

Here s what you can follow:

1. Workshops in Cairo completely FULL. No more subscriptions accepted.

2. Finishing the so anxiously awaited book of my own! Work, work, work and also lots of obsessions, challenges and surprisingly physical pleasures in the process (besides a healing surprise that comes from re-writing part of your past and its obligatory wounds alongside with the joys).

3. Cairo shows still on preparation to be TOTALLY REBORN not only with the NEW but also with the BEST ever. Becoming my own boss, more than ever, and not taking crap from any of these Cairo pimps, "pashas" with money who think they can buy every woman (well, not me, dearest ass holes!) and other blood sucking mosquitos that hang around Oriental Dance environment in Cairo.

4. Preparing WORKSHOPS for my upcoming SPAIN and PORTUGAL TOUR:

*Barcelona, 19-20th November;

*Madrid, 27th November;

*Malaga, 28th November...

PORTUGAL WORKSHOPS (Lisbon) on the 3,4th December!


All daily updates available on my Facebook (join my second profile

"Joana Saahirah II" or my Official Fan Page "Joana Saahirah Fan Page".

With such tasks I am busy these days...

Life is nothing but a succession of deaths and rebirths, always hoping and WORKING hard to be reborn with a higher knowledge, love and courage to be MORE of my true self.

Not easy, yet possible.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Teaching (In Italy, all around the world)...

These past weekend s WORKSHOPS in Italy have reminded me, again and again, of the reason why I do what I do.

I told the students in Merano, as I tell everybody who inquires me about the subject, that I am a performer first and a TEACHER in second place. My first, original, most precious work is performing on stage (dance, acting) and TEACHING is a luxury, the cherry on top of the cake, the champagne bubbles running out from the cup because it is too full...

Teaching is also a work of COMPLETE generosity (or it should be) and maturity.

I am often asked: "You re such an incredible teacher! How come you don t have your own school?"

My answer is multicoloured.

I already teach all around the world and that has always been my dream. That gives me the opportunity to meet different countries, cultures, mentalities, dancers and spread my DANCE and LESSONS LEARNT throughout the whole rainbow of incredible people I meet on the ways...

Then I am a gipsy by nature. I cannot stay put on the same place for long, that is known by the ones who are close to me. Contradicting this nature would kill me.

I need to move, feel free to leave at any time to any place. And so I do...

I also think that having a school will come, eventually, when I am not performing anymore and have accumulated enough artistic, profissional and personal experience to have my own IDENTITY as a School owner and director. There is lots of time for that so I m not in a hurry.

How much do I also learn from my students?! Oh, God...they have no idea...They are the reason, aside from my audiences in shows, why I am an ARTIST working in its own field, chosen out of love and passion.

I am blessed to work as a DANCER both performing and teaching. The idea of doing it everywhere, with no fixed place to root me in is my DREAM coming true at this moment.

You should never cage a bird which is made to fly.

And so I DO. I fly................................................

Sound of Music - The lonely goatherd

Dedicated to Simone, exclusively.
I know it will make you smile (remember how many times I mentioned "The Sound of Music" to you!!!).
Sending you my LOVE, from Cairo.

Edelweiss : The Sound of Music

Homage to the flower that became my favourite, after I knew about its story.
Eternal reference: "The Sound of Music" dedicated to Merano and all its wonderful people!

Oh, the Tyrolese FOOD!!!

These images dispense large comments.

It s a matter of defining COMFORT food. That s what this REALLY is.

Food for the cold weather and the hard physical work of the mountains.

Food cooked with love, high quality ingredients and that EXTRA "gourmand" touch I only find in people who don t have any pretension to be "gourmand" but KNOW that s REALLY important in LIFE.

Tyrolese food reflects that knowledge.

I just sank in my chair, lost and surrendered to these tastes that take me to other hights of pleasure, so deep that it becomes spiritual. From my mouth, to my a fraction of eac tasting second.

Yummi is all I can say (and my mouth waters at the thought it all...).

"Edelweiss, edelweiss...every morning you greet me..."

Curious/beautiful fact I learnt about the famous tyrolese flower, the "edelweiss":

This flower only grows way up there on the top of the mountains where no other vegetation is able to grow. For this reason, men used to offer this flower to their beloved women as a proof of their strong character (necessary to go all the way up to remote places on the top of mountains in order to pick the flowers himself) and the strenght and power of their love.

I just thought: isn t it absolutely LOVELY?

The romantic in me just whispers...


Merano, Italy!

Here are some images of my last trip to Italy where I gave two wonderful WORKSHOPS.

It all started with the typical Alitalia incompetences (bad service from beginning till the end, fight s delays and a general lack of reliability that makes you think that team is united to make your trip a living hell and sink the airplane company...very weird!).

Due to flight delays, I lost my flight connection to Bolzano (the nearest airport from Merano, where I was heading for work) and had to spend the night in Rome.

As my sister, abruptly, put it on the phone, when I called complaining about this event: "there are worse places to be stuck in during the night than Rome!" . She was right and I must stop complaining about this little bump on the road.

As I arrived to Merano in the morning, there was my so anxiously awaited trip to one of Merano s mountains with a lovely lunch of a delicious pair of "knodel" with Simone, the amazing organizer of my workshops there.

I must make a note here: Simone is NOT a mountain lover, like me.

I have this blessed Capricorn ascendant that gives me an irrational love for climbing everything (all kinds of mountains, the ones made of earth and the ones made of DREAMS and CHALLENGES) and for big, rocky places with amplitude and nature all around.

Simone doesn t. So she sacrificed for my own pleasure. For that I say:

"Thank you, sweet pie, you re the best!"

The workshops that followed were a blessing because everybody was there for the RIGHT reason and I could truly connect with the students, although we were very limited, time wise.

We worked on Om Kolthoum s interpretation, percussion work in dance and other stuff that make EXCEPTIONAL DANCERS, as well as EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE.

Great company, professional and kind organization of the whole event, great place to be in, delicious food (and I heard, wine...but I don t drink...), gorgeous things and people around me, the sound of Merano s thermae water running into the city in the early morning...ahhhhhh...........God, that was GREAT!

I have to thank , again, all the students that were present in the workshops and Simone who made them possible.

Not every one would go out of his/her way to make my little wishes and pleasures come true in the way Simone did and this is NOT part of her responsabilities as an event s organizer but she STILL DOES IT and she does it from her heart. That makes me want to go back again and again...thanks to Simone!

Nawal El Saadawi: 'Religion is all politics'

Straight to the point!

This blog is my own professional and personal mirror.
I am, maybe, supposed to restrain myself from osting videos, images or texts that are not directly connected with my DANCING/TEACHING career but I can t help being myself and also can t help pointing out a very deep conviction of mine: Oriental Dancing is not JUST dance or a way to know a specific culture.


Don t you be surprised, then...if I post a miraculous video like this one.
Conservatives, fundamentalists and brainless people will be mad at me. I might even receive anonymous (of course they are anonymous, hence the coward character of the brainless) offending me and accusing me of being heretic and against religion. I don t care. I REALLY don t care.

I do CARE for the COURAGE to express the TRUTH. In dance as in Life.

P.S. I have no intention of apologizing for my honesty any day soon.
Thank you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thank you, Merano (Italy)!

The meaning of success is very particular and wide for me.

I still insist on dancing, teaching, writing and LIVING with my full presence, body and soul and complete honesty, only using my own talents, intelligence and abilities instead of surrendering to the dirty systems which premiate lobbies, convenient "friends/connections" and other dirty stuff.

According to my very own notion of what success is, I can frankly say: I was happy and extremely successful during this last weekend in Italy, where I was teaching two different workshops (one on dancing Om Kolthoum and another on dancing egyptian percussion).

Not only the organizer of the event, Simone, did an incredible job (professionalism and human kindness silently mixed into one, not very common to find these days!) but I felt a true connection with all the students that attended the workshops.

They were 100% present, as much as I was and we could UNITE our worlds, brains, hearts and souls in a way that, for me, defines SUCCESS when it comes to DANCE. This is the POINT about teaching or performing on stage: to CONNECT, truly CONNECT with other people and, not only entertain them, but bring them an opportunity to get out of themselves and WIDEN their perceptions of dance and life. This is my duty, my passion, my mission. And I am the happiest and most successful person when I KNOW I ve achieved that.

Thank you, Simone.

Thank you, beautiful women who attended the workshops.

Thank you, gorgeous South Tyrolese city of Merano which I 've grown to love beyond words and common logical understanding.