Monday, February 27, 2012
Yeah, Cairo is VERY rich in aliens and super strange characters. It is a movie in which you enter and nobody tells you "CUT!". You just keep shooting and shooting and newer, stranger characters come into action on a constant base.
Never thought Portugal could be so rich in the same kind of strange characters. Maybe the world is and I´ve not been paying enough attention.
While returning from a Natacha Atlas concert in the downtown of Lisbon, yesterday night, I headed to an indian restaurant with some friends for culinary delights and some catching up talk.
Then some of us rode the subway - at high hours of the night, I must add - and sat to experience the ride of a life time. Each character that entered the subway was stranger than the last one. Drunk and stoned people, cross eyed with a tendence for passionate flirting, charaters disguised with the most varied and weird clothing and behaviour. Almost as delightful as our indian meal.;)
Cairo does not have the monopoly on strange characters after all. Uff!
I´ve said it a thousand times. When I love a subject, I get to be a very good student. Always a better student than teacher as I tend to see what I still*** don´t know and NOT what I already do.
Last Lisbon workshop was another lesson for me. I was in the place of the teacher yet I could not stop myself from learning and the most important thing I kept in my internal luggage was the confirmation that DANCE is a mirror of who we are as HUMAN BEINGS. Oriental Dance, in particular, may be seen as a cheap, exotic way of streap-tease for many - westerners and easterners as well - but the truth is that this ancient, organic art does a true x-ray to each person/dancer and the truth that comes out of it is just, I mean JUST
People start to learn Oriental Dance for many reasons and it is not my job to tell them which ones are the correct (maybe there are no correct reasons, only reasons) but it is my job to bring out the best on each one of them, creatively and humanly wise.
Then there is the absolute NEED FOR PASSION. I cannot imagine a DANCE piece without this essential ingredient. JUST cannot. If the instrument of the DANCER is the BODY (and the energy, mind, emotions and spirit that compose it), then there must be PASSION in it. Without this FIRE, movements are JUST movements. Empty, tasteless, dead movements. And DANCE is LIFE so...you make the equation.
Feeling so blessed for the priviledge of doing what I most love and always learn from it as the eternal aprentice I know I am.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
In Dance as in Life. Only cowards remain frozen with the fear of loss, hard work, price tags attached to dream´s realization, failure.
I am a particular fan of mistakes from which I can learn something. Not a fan of mistake repetition, though...always falling into brand NEW mistakes and failing as much as needed in order to succeed in everything I propose myself to accomplish.
Fail. A lot. Always better...Failure is the way to SUCESS. I have heard, said and lived.
Friday, February 24, 2012
I am always fascinated by the Human capacity for extreme Beauty and Ugliness.
Although I start to accept both sides of the coin, not as a hurtful paradox, but as a FACT of Life, there are times when the heart yells inside my chest:
I am STILL a heart. Don´t pretend you don´t feel. Me. Everything inside and around you.
My astrologer friends advise me to use the planet neptune´s energy (now resident on its original sign: Piscis) as a tool to expand and enhance my ARTISTIC activities. The good girl in me - my bright side of the coin, yes sir! - says "sure I´ll do it".
Neptune is also the energy of madness,dreams and all evasions/escapes from the hard dose of reality we endure on a daily basis. I ran from reality through my Art and Writing, curiously reaching to its core through it. You can run but you can´t hide. Indeed.
Receiving a few more indecent proposals through the Facebook hit me hard as ever. I can laugh about it now. I do. I say to myself that there are all kinds of crazy people in this world and that I may see my PROFESSION as an ART FORM but that doesn´t mean everybody does. My mind tries to bring the relative side of it all to the table but my heart STILL FEELS. Too much. Too loud. Too HUMANLY.
Receiving sexual encounter proposals - not mentioning the regular romantic date proposals which do not earn the place of a worry anymore - simply from the image many men build of me and due, for sure, to my work as an ORIENTAL DANCER never ceases to disgust me. It is the clash between something I LIVE as SACRED and other live as GARBADGE. It is my knowledge against their ignorance and another hard dose of reality that informs me: there must be a LOT of women who do accept this kind of disrespect from men.
For the 100000th time, I say out loud: I am a PERSON, not a SEXUAL OBJECT. I choose the men I sleep with according to what my best friend calls "THE CLIQUE", meaning: falling in love with the man of my heart´s choice. I am a DANCER, not a PROSTITUTE. And NO, you´re not Marlon Brando in his best years.
"Morphine, please...just a little bit of..."
José Saramago on my hands.
Since I started writing my own book, all other books were sent to the Land of temporary vacation.
The piles of tomes are still saying hi to me, every time I pass through my Cairo living room. I still carry the occasional book in my bag for emergencies (all occasions that entail a period of waiting for something are occupied by my recently neglected reading) and remain faithful to the "Oprah Magazine" and the "Vanity Fair". But the rythm in which I am used to devour books has decreased exponentialy.
Only the portuguese Nobel prize winner, José Saramago, could make me open an exception in times like this when the only book I have in mind is MY OWN.
"The Gospel according to Jesus Christ" caught my attention. A polemic, honest and brave book. MY KIND of book.
With a guilty feeling in my guts, I grab Saramago´s infamous literary piece promising I will only eat a few pages of it until I return to work on my own book. It´ s a literary adulterous relationship and it feels AMAZING.
"Human vocabulary is still not capable, and probably never will be, of
knowing, recognizing, and communicating everything that can be humanly
experienced and felt."
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Just forgot to mention that a Woman can enjoy and have fun with the "bad guys" that look like the real thing until the REAL THING comes along. First, you are the victim. Then you learn and become, a little bit, the big bad wolf.
And that can be such a ride!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Oriental Dance history in the making over here.
Part of interviews to iconic egyptian dancers Samia Gamal and Tahya Carioca.
It doesn´t mean they were the best of their time. I believe they were not. Yet they were the most well known and, certainly, they DO represent a kind of MAGIC that I guess it is practically lost in egyptian oriental dance.
Mona el Sayed and Lucy are, for me, the last egyptian oriental dancers who deserve that name. With the end of their active careers as performers and teachers, something not short of a TREASURE gets lost forever. Ironically enough, it is a duty of FOREIGNER DANCERS all over the world to RESCUE that TREASURE (so simply called SOUL/HEART) and bring it back to life once more. Once the East gave us some of their juicy SPIRIT and FEELING. Now I guess it is our turn to give it back to them.
I am, certainly, doing my part. Hope you all, dear fellow dancers, do the same!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
No comments needed.
A MAGISTRAL performance by the eternal Withney Houston.
All I could say and more...in this song.
Going...Egypt, see you soon!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I sware I try to understand it, I even sware I try hard not to judge and learn from the different ways of Living I can so colourfully observe in Egypt. Yet I just CANNOT accept HIPOCRISY.
As I returned from the gym, I observed as an egyptian girl fully covered (including the "hijab" that hides the hair) flirted shamelessly with a young taxi driver. She was driving her own car and he was driving his taxi. She teased him, stared at him and smiled, winked and finally said something I could not understand (neither can I imagine). The whole way was a series of cheap attempts to catch his attention in ways that not even the cheapest prostitute would use.
I already find disgusting that men sexually harass and pick up women in the streets of Cairo as if this is the most normal thing in the world. Knowing that women/girls -veiled women who should act according to their religion and appearance - do the same leaves me speechless.
In a sexually segregated society with a crescendo of religious extremism -palpable in all aspects of our daily lives over here - it is "normal" to expect all kinds of weird behaviours. Men and women were created to live together as naturally as any other animal species. Whatever you repress, you expand. Law of Nature that religious extremists - of all the so "called" religions - do not seem to grasp with these - and other - disastrous results.
Brains, oh brains! Wish to know where have you gone on vacation (for way too long...).
Monday, February 13, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
My favourite *** THING in the first Cairo "Oriental Ladies Night"!!!
The WORLD never stops expanding when you´re willing to spread your wings and DO new things with FULL dedication and LOVE. Brains and heart. Responsability and passion.
I am used to the high risk flights. Always jumped into the Unknown with the internal assurance that God and the Angels were ever present on the fall and the landing. I wish to dance during the falls and be surprised on the strange places I face during the landing.
An adventurer at heart, I fear mediocrity and coward attitudes more than the guts to enter non-explored places. It must be my ancient Portuguese genes that give me this kick for DISCOVERY, TRAVELLING and ADVENTURE. I would be Cristovão Colombo, if I could.
By, faithfully, following my genes, I end up going out of my comfort zone as a way of LIVING.
Organizing an EVENT exclusively DEDICATED to the WOMEN of EGYPT (egyptians, arabs, foreigners, ALL ONE) was one more step into my ever growing need to FLY higher and higher.
What I most LOVED during this NIGHT was the CONNECTION, emotional-physical-psychological-creative, between all the women. There were spanish, argentinian, chinese, egyptian, sudanese, japanese, english, american ladies out there and they ALL came TOGETHER through DANCE sharing lovely, sincere SMILES, FUN, MOVEMENT that came from the heart, FEELINGS, NEEDS to express themselves and so much more not fitting into words.
Eyes met, hands were held, hips were balanced in one single stroke, hair was put down with no fear of critical eyes, FREEDOM to be sensual, happy and PROUD to be a WOMAN was experienced between egyptian BEAUTIFUL ladies and foreigners as well.
I thought to myself: "Oh my God! How gorgeous are these women...and how much they crave for this FREE expression of their bodies and souls!!!"
It was mesmerizing to watch, to LIVE.
"My cup runneth over", as I say so often. ´Cause it did. It does, constantly.
It only confirms that you receive back what you GIVE to the WORLD.
Right now, I am already planning the
2nd EDITION of the CAIRO ORIENTAL LADIES NIGHT with more surprises, activities and reasons to CELEBRATE.
Watching how Oriental Dance, so negatively portraied in Egypt, can affect WOMEN in such a POSITIVE, HEALTHY way is also a PLUS on the rewards of getting out of my comfort zone.
Thanking, in loving silence, all the LADIES PRESENT at the first night. You gave me FAITH and extra STRENGHT to go on with the project and make it GROW. It could only be possible WITH YOU.
Cairo has seen nothing yet...;)))