Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"The choreography journal": the ghosts.

Yeah: it´s not only the search for movements and interesting combinations that fills the empty spaces during a choreography journey.
 You´re not facing just simple emptiness - as a painter or a writer would face a frightening blank piece of paper. What you´re facing are your ghosts,insecurities, fears and the limiting thoughts that whisper in your ears: "this is not interesting enough..."

Fighting those shadows is mastering yourself - and THAT brings you further ahead on your choreographic work. It´s a one on one game: you with the shadow side of yourself.

Winning this battle - I never knew other option.


You know you´re really wired when your idea of a relaxing time is one hour running under the storm.
: /

Heading off: Spain, baby!

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Religion

  1. I belong to no religion.
    My religion is Love.
    Every heart is My temple.

    ~ Rumi

    (Via: Joana Rodrigues)

Barcelona show at BOF- this weekend!

JOANA SAAHIRAH exclusive at BOF 2012!!!

Show and workshops in Barcelona, next weekend.
Bringing back the SOUL* of Oriental Dance to the World*.
For more informations, please follow the link:


Sunday, October 28, 2012

"The Choreography Journal" - what is egyptian dance?

Egyptian dance is not only about the steps, movements and combinations - it´s so much more than that.
As I choreograph a new piece - specially if this piece comes from "Sit Om Kolthoum" I find this everlasting challenge inside and in front of me: how to LISTEN, EXPRESS and TRANSFORM this song into something that is faithful to authentic egyptian dance?

It´s the walking pace, the hips weight on the ground, the internal and external posture, the sensibility and way of listening - and reacting - to sound, the flowing with it all that define a great deal of egyptian dance. Sure: choosing steps and smart combinations is easy and important but MAKING something unique and representative of egyptian culture WHILE communicating your own  character and soul is THE thing* I long for.

Shokry Mohamed (RIP) - one of my dancing pillars - comes to my mind every time a turning point happens during the choreographic process. He was always about simplicity, listening with the ears of the soul, pausing and moving graciously without that common eagerness to impress. His presence keeps inspiring and guiding me- God bless him.

*Remaining away from current "belly dance" superficiality fashion - it´s just not me 
(and it´s NOT egyptian dance, that´s for sure).

Saturday, October 27, 2012


  1. And may the Path be Joyous, fair and beyond POSSIBLE. 
    May dreams - made of ethereal flour - turn into bright orange pumpkins and carriages that takes us to REAL balls with REAL crystal shoes on our feet; may all the DANCES happen in HEAVEN-...
    while on Earth; may all the LOVE, TRUTH and VALUE win over smaller ugly mushrooms that grow from the dirt and may we use them for soups and midnight snacks as they´re not more than food for our STRENGHT. Amen.:)

Friday, October 26, 2012

"The Choreography Journal" (Notes to the Self):

It´s all about the Journey of Learning, for me. It has always been. 
Climbing is as fun as reaching the mountain top (being true to my Capricorn-goat side)...
Appreciating the rough patches, the storms (lovely sunsets these days - running with our dogs, under heavy rain is still one of my Life´s greatest pleasures).
Appreciating the views and the aroma of a dimly lit salon where ghosts, draculas and little monsters dance together.
Appreciating it ALL* and kissing the storm.

The essential CREATIVE companion:

Jean-léon Gérôme,
"The Bacchante" (1853)

And Beauty* (or the solution) is found in the tiniest drop of water - trust your own beauty.


Dame Margot Fonteyn: In Class, and Rehearsing with Rudolph Nureyev (1964)

"The Choreography Journal" - today is a new* day.

Dear diary,

I often feel bored and lose interest in the current fashion of Oriental Dance. Too much acrobatics, vanity exercizes, circus acts, clones, superficiality and commercial targets instead of ARTISTIC targets; marketing campaigns of dancers who visit Cairo and work for free for a couple of months - just to say they have performed there - assuming they become experts after that; too much eagerness to be this or that and not enough curiosity and passion for this craft. It´s sad to say it but I don´t see Oriental Dance for a long, long time (exception made to Dandash, egyptian dancer I saw performing in Cairo at a party a while ago).
Where is the SOUL of my dance? Where are the DANCERS - not the supposed divas?!

I often feel I´m in the wrong field - although I´m, certainly, in the righ kind of Art; therefore, I look for inspiration and strenght to go on in the most unexpected places - here´s one of them (you cannot escape your own roots, can you?! Classical Ballet will always be a huge part of my own iceberg, probably the part hidden under the water but still there, firm and eternally shaping all that I am).

This video touches my heart on so many levels that words fail to express it. Sharing it and keeping it in the safest corner of my heart - for times of storms and incredible Love.:)

Thanks to Melanie Norman (always with great taste and sensibility) for posting this "inspiration tool".

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"The choreography journal: crisis!"

Why can´t I do things "nice and easy" instead of rough and dramatic - all the time?!

"Dear choreography diary: there was a major crisis today."

Having your dance so deeply automatized in your muscles and bones that all seems and feels so easy is an achievement - as well as a nerve racking factor when it comes to choreographing new pieces you wish are EXCITING and SURPRISING to yourself.

No combination, no step, no movement seemed fresh and new today.Guess what? They aren´t: that´s the good and the bad thing about being experienced.

A sense of quite despair took over me while I took a minute to remain in silence and decide: should I give up this struggle or fight?! I always end up fighting - I presume that´s my biggest asset: being a fighter - and conquer the "enemy" but, until I get there, a bumpy road is ahead - no end in sight, no lights, no warm bed to spend the night in.

Wasn´t it Nietzsche who said "we need chaos to give birth to a shinning star"?! I´m with you, dear Nietzsche: you´re DA MAN
Not giving up the CHALLENGE.
Mission: to break the walls of comfort and already known territory; fighting the exhaustion that comes with constant demanding work- on so many levels.

P.S. Doing the FINAL editing/revision of my BOOK. This is IT. The weight of responsability has never been so heavy on me (more ghosts and struggles on that one - no running away).

P.S.2 Full moon is arriving and a ball in my stomach grows with it - bursting with joy, anger, EVERYTHING from Tokyo to Paris. Ahhhh, don´t you love being physically connected with the moon?! (being a woman is a delight...).

P.S. 3 - Going to perform and teach in BARCELONA (Spain) at BOF on the first weekend of November. VERY excited about it- meeting new people, teaching talented dancers, performing for the warm spanish audiences. Wonderful thing on the horizon.:)

P.S.4 Meanwhile, here´s all I feel like doing:

Food for the Soul...

  1. “In the house of Lovers, the music never stops,
     the walls are made of songs & 
    the floor dances.”


    (Via: Joana Rodrigues)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"The choreography Journal (part 1): walls breaking."

The beginning is always the hardest part for me. I said it before: I´m not a fan of choreography; I do it out of love for the challenge, out of professional necessity and for developing my dancing skills: that´s all.

If Pablo Picasso was right when he - famously - said "inspiration exist but it has to find you working" (1000 agreed) then I must add that it often takes some time for inspiration to arrive - even when it finds us regularly working (with enthusiasm, faith and a great dose of doubts and insecurities).
"Just do it!" - will you?!
A couple of candles and incense are essential to work (to choreograph, teach, perform); natural light  and fresh air also help as well as a bottle of water and a mug of coffee (which will be substituted, after a little while, by a cup of green tea). 

Thinking: reduced to the minimum - only the strictly necessary.

Feeling: for sure - as long as it doesn´t erase my sense of self-criticism.

LISTENING: yes: yes: yes. 
The wall breaking phase is all about LISTENING and DIGESTING the music; exploring different movements, alternating between deep frustration (because the movements that come out are too predictable and familiar to me) and excitement when a step or movement transition lights my fire.
Have in consideration: although I mostly choreograph to teach and every piece I prepare is full of DIDACTIC  MATERIAL and a series of GOALS of what I wish to develop in my students, I do it to please myself too - BIG TIME. Meaning that what I´m doing HAS to be exciting FOR ME (not easy!).

Struggle: this is the time when I SEARCH for the "music door". Yes, you read it well: each music has a secret* door from where you can travel inside it and explore all its corners and  magical rooms. The songs I choose to choreograph tend to get on my nerves and play hard to get. They make me sweat - body and soul - before they allow me INside their world - through that* secret door that is opened when I least expect it.

Unpredictability: I never know when the FLOW of the movements is gonna start to FEEL right and exciting to me. My dear Mahmoud Reda´s voice often comes to my head saying: " Imagine if you had to choreograph 50 pieces of music for a week of Fawazeer - Ramadan  television show in Egypt - and you only had two days to do it all...believe me: inspiration would come very quickly. It´s all a matter of confidence, practical sense and necessity."

"What am I saying with this choreography?" - It´s a question that arises from step one. Feel the whole matter, for sure, but never lose track of what you´re doing and which story and richness you´ll be able to offer with this piece of work. 
The more you know about this craft, the more responsability and awareness you gain: there´s no going around on that one. I remember how much easier it all seemed when I knew close to nothing about Oriental Dance (oh, sweet times!:))) Ignorance is ugly but it can also be pure bliss- here´s one of those cases.

Group or solo choreography: Here´s another subject that often comes to my mind when 
I´m browsing the music and my own body in search of an interesting connection that may trigger the whole sequence - that blessed secret door I so deeply wish to see opening in front of my chest.
Choreographing for a group - as Mahmoud Reda usually did - is a completely different matter than choreographing for a solo performance. The first tends to be more about the visual concept of the dance, as well as the shapes and drawings you can create by conjugating different bodies and their interaction on stage. Every dancer serves the group - in principle - and his/her own idea-feeling of the music should not be above everybody else´s. 
Choreographing for a solo performance is a PERSONAL- rather EMOTIONAL kind of work - at least for me. 
As I teach a new choreography, I make sure every dancer is offering his/her own personal touch to the piece - rather than just doing copy-paste on me. I request breathing, feeling, interpretation, fluid connection between the body of the dancer and the music as well as with the movements of the sequence. It´s never about "just memorizing" the whole thing but LIVING it, REINVENTING IT, offering your own soul to it. 

Stamina and perseverance: more than required as we go along. If nothing of special interest arrived to your body today, then you must try again tomorrow and after tomorrow, until the door of the music opens itself. You have to deserve it, build it upon steps of frustration, trials, failures, attempts to go beyond yourself and the things you already know and did before. 

Gratitude: super important as I recognize INSPIRATION* is borrowed from a divine source that is generous enough to descend upon me and communicate through my body. A new movement, an extravagant transition, an idea that I think is brilliant: all those are borrowed from God (according to my own vision, of course). Therefore, I never take it for granted and or get arrogant about it  - hoping it always returns to me (as easily and fluidly as it can be).

What I wish for my next choreography session: 

It happens all the time. :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

"The Choreography Journal" - home delivery included.:)

Due to the kind request of many of this Blog´s followers, I´m gonna open the Door´s of my own Choreographing process.
From tomorrow on, you - dear reader - will enjoy a "Choreography Journal" where I will expose my thoughts, feelings, doubts, discoveries and lessons learnt throughout choreographing one more piece of Om Kolthoum.

Do you see Cocas frog stoned (check the image on the top)?! Well, I´m not saying that´s me choreographing but I´m already assuming some kind of wonderful trip - very similar to the one - I imagine! - drugs offer to people who dig them.

Let me start by saying this: I am not a FAN of CHOREOGRAPHY. I started studying Classical Ballet at the age of 5 years old and I was forced to memorize and perform choreographies I didn´t understand or feel for many years: that can train a DANCER - as well as ruining his/her spirit and zest for this Art.

Then I went through a wild phase - full of learning curves - until I landed on Oriental Dance and thought all was great, intuitive and free. I finally met Mahmoud Reda - who pushed me to choreograph, like it or not - and I realized that IMPROVISATION is a blast (and an essential part of an Oriental Dancer´s ability) but not enough to develop yourself as an Artist and Teacher.

I always felt choreographing was against the nature of Oriental Dance - I still think it is, in many ways - and that FREEZING movements carefully chosen in a sequence that you´ll repeat until exhaustion is not my idea of "having fun" - until I also found out how much richer and interesting my craft would be if I just insisted on this tough medicine and JUST DID IT, anyways. The cherry on the top of this cake came when I started teaching at major festivals around the world- mostly to advanced students and professionals. It was easy to realize what a great teaching tool a GOOD choreography can be. It´s not about memorizing a series of movements to present at a home party (although I think that can be cool too) but much more about DEVELOPING skills, ideas, perspectives, feelings and OPENING your MIND and HEART to brand new perspectives that can give you a deeper insight about Oriental Dance and yourself.
So: here I am, the proud born improviser: surrendered to CHOREOGRAPHY.

Light your incense stick and your candle; put the music on and DARE to fail a lot - until you grow (and believe me: Growth comes to the ones who don´t give up and are brave enough to accept and caress their own fragility).

Let´s take this TRIP together, shall we?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Joana Saahirah of Cairo on television show (repost)

And here it is, once more, due to popular demand:):
Me, in my city - Cairo, being interviewd about my life, dance work there and favorite spots for a portuguese television show.

Moods and Dresses: the hidden helping hands of a Dancer.

There´s a lot of talk about technique, style, expression, feeling, knowing "your craft" and the whole luggage of a Dancer´s wagon. There´s also some hidden - forgotten or unnoticed - issues that REALLY do wonders when it comes to the final result of a performance. 
Forget about the Invisible Technique (all the students who have studied with me for a while KNOW* 
what I´m talking about) and the love making between music and your body. Those are all great but I still see another pearls floating - like the tiniest stars - in this endless galaxy of Oriental Dance world.

Moods and dresses: here they are.

*The MOOD of each song is a very IMPORTANT - and ignored - issue when it comes to performing on stage. In Egypt, my musicians know - with no need for any request from my side - that I need a couple of minutes to GET in the MOOD of each song. They give me that time - simply because they are experienced musicians used to work with professional dancers for decades and also because they are egyptians and moody themselves. They KNOW what I´m talking about. 
The mood required to dance an Om Kolthoum piece is not the same as the mood required for a "shaaby" tableau; the mood for Abdel Halim Hafez cannot be the same as the mood for a "baladi" improvisation and so on. 
There´s a kind of spontaneous acting process in this whole matter. Like a GOOD actor, a dancer has to let her-himself dig into the character, context, MOOD of each song - and egyptian music offers a LOT of moods, styles, contexts. It´s almost like allowing the spirit of the people you´re representing enter your body and speak through it during the dance.Ignoring the MOOD differences between each style, song and specific moment cuts a LOT of quality, authenticity, variety and Magic* to your performance.

* The DRESSES: I know it´s a temptation we all fall once we start to study Oriental Dance. The bling, the sparkle, the embroideries and the fancy dresses that, frequently, reach an "haute couture" level of beauty and complexity...Oh, I know...
Yet, as time and experience go by, I see I started to search for SIMPLICITY, LIGHTNESS, COMFORT and COHERENCE much more than beautiful and impressive dresses that make me look like a Christmas tree and take the attention of my audience. 
I noticed I started to search for dresses that FEEL GOOD on the body - much more than LOOKING good on the body. Dresses that are easy to put on and off (important point when you´re doing entire 1h or 1,30h shows with two or three cloth´s changes), light and not painful (as many dresses I bought and remained, abandoned, in the closet). 
Dresses that allow your dance to come through as the most important thing of the perfomance - not taking all the attention of your audience for themselves (in detriment of your dance and talent).
Dresses that are suited for each style - also helping you to express the specific mood, feeling, character and musical universe of each style and song. Wearing a "gallabeya" while dancing a classical piece is not the most appropriate or intelligent thing to do because it does not show all the details of movements existent in this style and it´s also out of its universe. 
Dancing a Saiidi with an over exposed dress is also not a cool thing to do: you may as well end up showing your panties and more* (not the kind of memory you want your audience to retain - in case you´re an artist).

If I could, I would dance naked- I found out that is the natural "clothing" for Dance. The body is totally free and the FOCUS is on the DANCER - not on the DRESS.
I know it´s easier to just look beautiful and let the dress take part of the responsability for your success but I find it useless, somehow. 
The BIG challenge is not to focus on looking great but on DANCING GREAT - in a way that turns any dress (even the most beautiful in the world) into a bonus of the performance, NOT the performance in itself.

The bitchy factor* in Oriental Dance (as in Life).

Oh, oh! Here´s a tricky matter: what I call the "bitchy factor". Yeah: it seems a lot of people - not only dancers - presume that being a bitch and competing with others turns them into instant winners. I agree this may be true for most cases simply because we live in jungles where the best and the most talented are not always the ones who get the deserved recognition - but it SURELY does not work (at least in the long term) with ARTISTS.

I´ve been blessed to have learnt with some exquisite ARTISTS (always pinpoint Shokry Mohamed, Souhair Zaki and Mahmoud Reda as the MAIN influences of my Oriental Dance education) for whom the point was NEVER to be better than other dancers, to check other people´s grass, to envy and to presume they are the last coke in the desert. 
These artists and human beings showed me - through EXAMPLE, the only real way to TEACH - that ORIENTAL DANCE is, above all, LOVE, SOUL and VULNERABILITY: NOT trying hard to smash others and to be better than them.

It´s sad when I see great potential in some dancers who insist - for many reasons - to work on bitchy mode. The problem is that it SHOWS - and not in a good way. It´s the vanity, the ego, the fake sparkling face expressions, the physical postures that denote insecurity disguised in arrogance, the TRYING TOO HARD to be considered SOMEONE, the eagerness to show up as a Diva, the ambition without measure or ethics that gives them a SOUR, NEGATIVE and UGLY vibe- no matter how beautiful their fancy dresses are. Every movement becomes poisoned by that negative energy they carry and the point of the Dance - uniting yourself with your own soul and touching your audience´s souls - is lost in the process. 

It ruins the whole picture:  you can have all the technique, smart-ass tricks, know-how, experience, amazing make-up and the latest dance dress model and yet this will end up in less than ZERO if your purpose is to show off, to affirm yourself in competition with others and to move from your EGO - instead of moving from your SOUL.

It takes a lot of courage, maturity and character to be able to BE YOURSELF and always aspire to be better than YOURSELF - not others - on a daily basis. Yes: it´s hard, tiring, rocky and often maddening but it´s the only way I know for a real ARTISTIC GROWTH. 
Rewind the tapes- or going back to the basics:
*Oriental Dance is NOT a vanity exercise, although some teachers (specially male teachers who know how to use - in a very sneaky and dishonest way - all of women´s insecurities for their own benefits) insist on feeding  this illusion.
*Oriental Dance is NEVER about comparing yourself with others, trying to step on them or "having what they have" - it´s all about FINDING YOURSELF and being brave enough to use it and express it through your dance.
*Oriental Dance is never- EVER! - about hate, ambition without soul or a cheap affirmation of the ego. It is a Dance of LOVE, FREEDOM, HUMAN CONNECTION.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Telegrams - creative retreat and Barcelona on the horizon:

Going into Autumn with a lovely - warm - feeling inside of me (notice I am a Summer kind of girl - therefore this new love affair with Autumn is beyond new and strange...).

Taking Egypt with me - wherever I go. It´s part of me, after all. Not only the many years of performing there - living, suffering, enjoying, LEARNING - but also my own eternal nature that belongs to THAT ground. The feeling of accomplishing my own dreams and mission in LIFE is a BLESSING impossible to express by words. 
Finding the UNION between my egyptian side and my "world" side: here´s my current goal (very few people will understand this phrase but I do and that´s what REALLY matters).

The Warrior is going to BARCELONA - SPAIN next. Performance and show at BOF on the first weekend of November. Om Kolthoum is ON - for both workshops and performance - and she´s kicking my ass, as usual. I´ll be also taking some of my baladi, "assaya" details, "SET il HOSN" stage entrance and Magic* - THAT´S FOR SURE.
Barcelona: here I come!

Laughing at a LOT of things and attitudes (mine and from others). How your "enemies" turn out to be your friends by pushing you forward and how nothing is what it looks.
 Life´s an ADVENTURE, folks: and we have to LIVE it with courage and fierce passion.

In love with my own BOOK (BOOKS, in fact - two volumes on the way). After writing it and editing it, I´m letting it simmer - cook by itself, for a while - so that the night duendes visit it and do their own silent* work. Still a second - and final (!!!) - editing job and the bread is sizzling hot and ready to be served with a side of homemade marmalade and a pot of tea. 
Yes, yes, it´s annoying for a lot of haters and envy professionals but I am not tired to say: 
I´m so proud of myself (reading about my own Journey in the Middle East - specially in Egypt - and the way I learnt, lived, achieved Success and a greater Knowledge of my craft and LIFE is absolutely incredible; hard to believe, even for the person who went through it all).

I often say it´s easy to be successful - even in the middle of a prostituted jungle like Cairo Oriental Dance scene - but it´s nothing short of a miracle to be successful, honest, dignified, FREE and HUMAN (all at the same time). Doing IT gives me a deep sense of self-respect and gratitude for God´s help.

Taking the BEST of Egypt to the WORLD: the music, the dance, the feeling, the LOVE, the SOUL* of my beloved country.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Gotta let it simmer..."

  1. Just finished the editing of my BOOK (Oh, Lord: I´ve come so far: thank you).
    Letting it simmer inside the hot magical pot. Then some last chewing left and ready to serve (with a side of homemade cookies and "chai bi laaban").

    Although I know this will piss a lot of people off, I must say it: feel so proud of myself - what a journey, so far!:)

    "Everyone's a dreamer.
    The fact that we grew up, believing that you can wish from an EYE LASH, blowing your CANDLES on your birthday, crossing your fingers, shooting stars and other beliefs. We all grew up knowing that there is still hope if you just believe. Don’t let one thing ruin your life, never lose HOPE, have faith, believe and NEVER STOP DREAMING :)"

    Art by Valentine Rekunenko

Egyptian Belly Dancer

Well, well, well...this is NOT an egyptian bellydancer but myself - doing a funny "face dance".
Whoever shot this clip must have had a crush on my face because you see none of my movements from the head down but you surely see a LOT of my "FACE DANCE MOVEMENTS". Funny and delightful to watch in a tender way. Thanks to whoever shot and uploaded this clip (by the way: I don´t mind being called "egyptian" : THAT I AM, in many ways!).

Joana Saahirah of Cairo dancing Om Kolthoum

Om Kolthoum it is: preparing a brand new choreography to teach in upcoming festival (BOF) in Barcelona, Spain - on the first weekend of November.
Her music never stops to amaze me, teach me and challenge me. This LOVE is here to stay!

My deepest sadness:

  1. Damn!. My attempt of staying away from egyptian current politics and general madness of the new islamic banana republic has failed. The moment I dare to check the news I get on fire and feel a huge frog stuck in my throat. The rage and frustration of seeing the EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION stolen - and then stolen some more - by cave men is umbearable. Egypt DESERVES to be a FREE, PROSPER, CREATIVE and HAPPY country. Egyptians have suffered more than enough already. Come the f....on! (mad as hell at the moment).

    I feel for Egypt as I feel for myself: this country has been my home, career, Dance and Life School for 8 years...I´ve suffered the same injustices that egyptians suffer and DREAMT the same dreams.
    I also felt THE* ray of LIGHT when Egyptian Revolution happened and held my breath: hoping for a brighter future for my beloved soul country. 
    Reality is striking me like a series of lightning bolts that break my heart into a thousand pieces: check what´s going on in Egypt now and remind yourself of the decadent Iranian Revolution and what kind of society it originated.
    I am beyond sad right now - every time I check the news about Egypt...

Simple pleasures that heal the soul.

Having dinner with my best friend (the best indian cuisine in the world surrounded by candles, laughter and THAT kind of trust I can only have with her*);
Receiving messages from all over the world congratulating me for my work and asking when I´ll be in this and that country;
Running with our dogs (one of my classics) - under heavy rain;
Breathing fresh air and feeling free to walk in public spaces without being sexually harassed (big contrast in relation to my "regular" life in Cairo);
Watching a beautiful sunset and having tea with my mum in a cozy coffee shop facing the castle of the city (yes, my family lives in a city that was originally built around its own castle - this is Portugal, my friends. Castles are our second nature);
Having lunch at our garden;
KNOWING that Life is GREAT, no matter how many dark spots we can choose to focus on (I CHOOSE JOY!).

The trick*.

The trick is having no tricks at all, I guess (I only guess everything*...)...
Picasso said that Inspiration exists but it has to find you working. I agree with the genius.
As I find myself in the last stages of my BOOK editing (the weight of responsability is heavier than ever) and prepare my upcoming european tour of performances and workshops I cannot stop but check that Inspiration is really a false trick that lazy people use in order not to work hard, persist and - yes! - dare to fail.
Nothing gets Inspiration going like HARD and CONTINUOUS work. Today the result is less than what we envisioned: no problem. We will persist tomorrow and then try again after tomorrow and again: and again. 
Eventually, RESULTS materialize. I know it´s not poetic or magical enough but it´s true and efficient.
When you´re not feeling THAT inspired: WORK. 
Stars follow on your lap when you least expect it.

Vénus Anadyomène

Monday, October 15, 2012

Taking it to the next* level.

For me, Life is a succession of GROWING curves, challenges, courageous jumps into the Unknown and endless Lessons. I´ve always assumed myself as more of a student than a teacher: indeed.

I cannot stop but wonder how to REACH european audiences with my Dance after I got used to perform mostly for egyptians for the last few years. I also dread the moment I will have to go on stage without my musicians and the possibility of failing in that purpose that I take for myself - as an artist: TO TOUCH my AUDIENCE´s SOUL. 
Not an easy task, I see...

Cliché: the more you know, the more you realize how little you know. Sure enough. But damn sure you see very clearly WHAT you still have to learn - in front of your eyes. I mean: the horizon is cloudless, spotless:  exposing all that you still didn´t do and the next STEPS towards a higher version of yourself (as a person and  as an artist - both interconnected). 

TAKING IT* to the NEXT* LEVEL has been my most recent role - I might even say obsession.

Taking Dance into a level that I recognize as ARTISTIC and SOUL touching. It´s a sphere way beyond the technical side of the dance, the interpretation and the competent masks we use - consciously or unconsciously. It´s also ahead of our own time and limitations: it´s the PATH - the barometer of our evolution, THE RETURN to the origins of Oriental Dance.

Yeah: taking it to the next level has been offering me some sweet sleepless nights and a lot of brain energy. 
How to "forget" what I learnt - so far - and rescue a LANGUAGE that will talk - by itself - with my audiences?! How to find the synthesis between the egyptian style I´m used to dance and the demands of a western public which is - in many ways - more demanding, distant and detached than the egyptian public.

I am partial: still feel that egyptian audiences are the best in the world (for several reasons) but LIFE is my stage, baby. And the responsability to be up to the expectations is the price to pay for the FREEDOM and BLESSING of sharing my art with the whole world.

How to move BEYOND technique and dance clichés, be true to myself , do what I KNOW to be the authentic egyptian dance and MOVE my audience´s hearts - all at the same time?! 
Be soulful yet dynamic; 
energetic yet cool;
 self-conscious yet relaxed; 
humble yet self-confident; 
emotional yet rational enough to make an intelligent use of all my resources (space, audience´s mood and energy, dance vocabulary, etc);
 present in the moment yet aware of time management on stage;
 warm yet cold enough to be my best critic;
 let myself go yet knowing exactly what I´m doing...uff!

Wondering: working on it: getting lost and then finding myself, little by little, fall after fall.

Notice: Falling is also good (it´s ALL good, actually): falling is a dance step and a language in itself.