Sunday, October 30, 2011
OMG...Gotta LOVE this woman...here'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!
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.
"She's made of steel!"
She's simply "made of woman", and that's sufficient.
Loneliness...freedom...my pleasing and labourious work as a mime and dancer...my 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
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
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.;)
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
spanish is a huge pleasure to me, kind of a "home return" feeling...warm and cozy.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
"Oh, let them burn themselves and use me as a lighter and gasoline. That has nothing to do with me, really!"
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.
Maybe, maybe...so 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.
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):
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
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?
Friday, October 21, 2011
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.
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.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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.
Oriental Dance is all about HUMAN BEINGS, FREEDOM, SEXUALITY and SENSUALITY, CREATIVITY, INTELLIGENCE, WOMEN S OPPRESSION and so much more...
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.