Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Joana Saahirah @ Eilat festival 2013 Opening party

A little bit more of Eilat Festival FUN!:)
Videos can never express what a dancer is REALLY like. You need to be THERE - body and soul - to enjoy and FEEL those moments but this is still nice to watch.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sneak peak at "The Secrets of Egyptian Dance"

Sneak peak at the BOOKLET of my brand new
(Lisbon - 2nd March and
London - 1,2nd June).

*Life versus Dance and the way both are so deeply inter-dependent and inter-connected.
Let life shape you and your dance for Life itself is the wisest and...
most inspired of all Sculptors. The way you dance - at different times - is deeply affected (even if you are not aware of it) by the events happening inside and around in your life. The wounds, joys, dreams and frustrations you gather on a daily basis will be reflected, expressed, RELEASED (like it or not) through your body and its instinctive reaction to music and creativity. Therefore Dance is never only* about the body for the body is the TEMPLE where all the faces of your Being manifest themselves on Earth.
Use everything - from a love affair to a bycicle ride - in your dance and you will notice that, as life itself evolves and matures inside you, your Dance will also evolve and mature. The dancer you were yesterday is not the dancer you are today the same way the person you were yesterday is not the person you are today.
Life reflects Dance/Art and Dance/Art reflect Life. Mirrors of each other, they retro-feed themselves as twins of the same Mother.Use that* in your favour: the great and the hard; the light and the darkness; the rage and the love. Do not exclude whatever - specially the most umpleasant of experiences for it is from those that the highest lessons and MOMENTS of GROWTH are born."

Written by Joana Saahirah*

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Joana Saahirah @ Eilat festival 2013 Gala of stars

In this video you can see me struggling with the recorded (deeply flawed) version of my own "majancé" composed for me by Hossam Shaker. The title of this music is - profetically - "Joana around the world" and it was composed, step by step, between me and Hossam with whom I spent endless nights working.
I left my shows around 1.30h-2h in the morning and I ran to this office in the desert near Maadi to sit with him and the "k´anun" and compose, guiding him into the kind of music I wanted, half awaken and half sleeping while trying to figure out what kind of music would define me then.
A cup of coffee and an immense passion had us for hours, wondering about the kind of music that would translate me by the time (if a music would be composed for me now the result would be so different).
I learnt - at the time - that a lot of dancers (specially egyptians) would ask composers to make them copies of the successful music others had used. I couldn´t figure out WHY someone would pay a composer to copy (???) another person´s job just because it was a popular music.
It was immediate:

"-Hossam, I want NO COPIES. Forget what you heard and seen before. This is ME and my music must be totally mine, original, personal, risky, jazzy, DIFFERENT. Copies are for employees, mediocre people and weak of spirit and I´m none of them.
Let´s be ORIGINAL over here and let success in the hands of GOD."

This was the first time I accepted the challenge to perform it on cd as I always did it live with my own egyptian orchestra (which added things, corrected it, changed it for the better and to suit the STAGE and ME). I don´t regret it but I can still see my fight with the music´s weaknesses and flaws and even find it amusing to observe how I got around it all.
CONSTANTLY LEARNING and getting out of my comfort zone is REALLY my thing* and this video proves it.

Being part of EILAT FESTIVAL (organized by Orit Maftzir and Yael Moav) was a happy surprise for many reasons but, mostly, for the way I felt treated as a person and as an artist.
I felt my work, vision, knowledge, name and career deeply respected, appreciated, loved, RECOGNIZED in a way that is not so common to happen in the Oriental Dance environment.
Only the GREAT can recognize and not fear the talent and abilities of other people.
Every dancer - not only me - was treated with utmost tenderness and care (students, dancers in the competition, teachers, etc) and THAT is PRICELESS.
It´s never too much to thank the ones who do great things so here it is my thank you note - again and again.:)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Joana Saahirah of Cairo in Ireland (Charleville castle*) - souvenir

Wonderful and fun video of me at Charleville Castle - Ireland.
Teaching and performing at SHAKEFEST (check out their 2013 program at the castle!). Enjoy.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Joana Saahirah of Cairo in London (1,2nd June)*!


Joana Saahirah of Cairo returns to London with two VERY special workshops in 2 parts, that gather the knowledge very few dancers ever had access to until now:
"The Secrets of Egyptian Dance" &
"Om Kolthoum treasures"

At "The Place "
(16 Flaxman Terrace London WC1H 9AT - near from Euston metro station).

*Saturday 1st of June: 11 am till 1.30pm."The Secrets of Egyptian Dance", Part 1.

The Secrets of Egyptian Dance no other teacher will pass on - from the old to the new, from the roots to a modern vision of this dance.
A pioneering workshop Booklet written by Joana Saahirah included.
The jewels Joana has gathered in 8 years of life and career with her orchestra in Egypt.
Differences between the western and the eastern approach to movement, music, life, art, pleasure, DANCE. What characterizes EGYPTIAN DANCE : essence, feeling, approach to music and oneself.
TECHNICAL exercizes and small combinations that illustrate the PILLARS and SECRETS of EGYPTIAN DANCE.

*Saturday 1st of June: 2.30pm till 5.00 pm. "The Secrets of Egyptian Dance", Part 2.

Full choreography that uses and illustrates all the bases, secrets and concepts we studied in the first part of the workshop.
Putting THEORY into PRACTICE: TRUE egyptian dance in style, movement, feeling and presence.


*Sunday 2nd of June: 11 am till 1.30 pm. "Om Kolthoum treasures" Part 1.

Opening the universe of the eternal star of the Orient and why her music is essential for every dancer.
Structure of Om Kolthoum´s music and how to read it through your body (entrance, couplets, phrases, words, silences).
Movement style to use in Om Kolthoum and all classical egyptian musical pieces.
Relation between pause and movement (when to move and when to minimize movement and head for pure interpretation from within); music and silence; breathing in and out.
How to READ a piece of music and tell a story with your body.

Sunday 2nd of June: 2.30pm till 5.00 pm. "Om Kolthoum treasures" Part 2.

2nd BLOCK of the workshop: afternoon:
Practice of everything we worked in the morning.
Full choreography of one of the most beautiful Om Kolthoum´s pieces. How to interpret the music beyond the movements. How to EXPRESS - not just impress.
What we mean when we speak about putting our SOUL in Dance.


Both workshops "The secrets of Egyptian Dance" & "Om Kolthoum Treasure" (10 hours of education in total with workshop Booklet written by Joana Saahirah included.

Each 2.5 hours block of the 2 workshops will cost 30 pounds for early birds ( booking before the 1st of may).

There after one block of 2.5 hours workshop will be 40 pounds.

If you book for 2 blocks of 2.5 hours workshops after the first of may, the price will be 75 pounds,

3 blocks of 2.5 hours workshops, 100 pounds

4 blocks of 2.5 hours workshops 130 pounds.


There is a limited number of places, so make sure you get yours.

For the payment and infos just email me at

I will send you a paypal request or you can simply make me a bank transfer.

You can as well call me on 07780904510.

For infos about Joana Saahirah of Cairo" go to Official Website:


What is TARAB* (or the Art of Loving, really...)

The question returned to me once again, insistent as a love affair one considers a past event although it keeps hunting our nights and days.
What is TARAB? I could answer with another question: What is LOVE?
Both concepts are hard to describe by words (and live beyond words) - easier to EXPERIENCE (for those are or were blessed to be offered experiences that made them merge with Life in the NOW and get lost in the moment).

I believe there are feelings, experiences and concepts which belong to the realm of LIFE´s experience that is so extreme, rich and divine that tend to escape any explanation but we surely try to disconstruct them in order to share them or arise in others the curiosity or the will to SEE the horizons we once (or always) see.

My vision of TARAB is - like everything else I do in my work (may it be dancing-performing, teaching, choreographing or writing) a result of passionate study, professional and personal experience and the ability to relate all the probable and improbable pieces of the puzzle.
The work I do and the perspective I have on Tarab is, specifically, the result of my 8 years of life, career in Egypt and the daily work I developed with some of the best musicians in the market and the interaction between me, my orchestra and the amazing egyptian audiences. Those were my biggest Masters and Inspirers and the way I perceive TARAB is related to them (as well as to some lovers whom I embraced the same way I embrace a piece of music when I dance it).

Trying to put it simply, TARAB is a state of mind-heart-spirit-even body achieved through the DEEP, VULNERABLE and LOVING connection to the MUSIC (music as a lover you hold so close to your heart) as if one got drunk with it in a way that he/she forgets about him/herself, loses his/her own ego and finds his/her own soul in the NOW.

I always experienced it as a state of Meditation, Orgasm (spiritual) or Ecstasy produced by a magical (not mathematical) union of myself, the music and the audience. A moment of HUMAN connection through the music (which I allow to affect me on a visceral level), the dance and the spirit (the three of them mirrors of each other) - a LINK that turns reality into dust and transports all the involved people to that place of total peace where nothing is desired, needed, missed.

It´s impossible to mention the experience of TARAB without mentioning the ART of LISTENING (to the music which also includes SILENCE). This is a reality egyptians and arabs of other generations had as a natural way of enjoying life. The modern pace of today´s societies in North Africa and the Middle East is killing - on a great extent - that tradition. Modern egyptians and arabs have no time or mood ("mazeg") to sit and listen. Where are those 5 hour long Om Kolthoum concerts that had people fainting from emotion just from the experience of LISTENING and FEELING the music (that was TARAB)?!

 JUST listening and taking PLEASURE and exaltation from that - apparently passive - experience is the birth of TARAB. Allowing yourself to be pregnant with the sensation a certain moment, sound, feeling provokes in you is the path to TARAB. This is - by the way - one of the MAIN PILLARS of my Oriental Dance teaching method.

Tarab is not a dance or music style - as far as I´ve experienced it and learnt about it. It is a product of a GATHERING of people, conditions, feelings that allow a state of BLISS to happen within us.
Most of the times I performed with my orchestra I was BLESSED to live in a state of TARAB. I managed to allow myself to dig deep into the music, get lost in it, chew it with my heart´s teeth and let it dance inside my head, my chest, my blood, my muscles and soul. Then the audience joined this RELIGIOUS moment by "feeling" my exaltation and state of pure bliss so they joined me in this communal SENSATION of PEACE, LOVE and SPEECHLESS state of TOTALITY. THAT* is TARAB - at least, for me.

I don´t think there is an universal truth but I share what I believe in according to my direct experience, vision and current state of knowlege and CONSCIOUSNESS. Therefore I hope you read this article, comment and even disagree with it. Learning from other people is another kind of TARAB for me...always thankful for a good flight.

Do you know what moment when you forget about yourself and all that exists is NOW fully covered in LOVE?! THAT* is tarab (and that may happen when you´re listening to music, dancing, making love, sitting still, holding a loved one and many other moments we - humans - are blessed to experience; those same moments that remind us how Divine we truly are).

Joana Saahirah of Cairo choreography for Teaching - "Set il Hosn"

One more gift from my workshops.
Choreography for TEACHING is a very special, specific and magical kind of work. Although I had to be pushed by Mahmoud Reda to start doing it (I hated choreographing as opposed to my ever present love for Improvisation), once I started digging into it I couldn´t get enough. Every time I choreograph a piece (may it be for TEACHING, for a PARTICULAR DANCER or a group performance) I always end up learning more than what I share and teach. It´s another School (one more!) among the Great School of Egyptian Dance.
Wishing all the angels, fairies and POSITIVE vibes are with me - helping me to dare more, try more, be myself more and more courageouly.

Joana Saahirah of Cairo choreography for Teaching - Modern Saiidi

One more souvenir for all the incredible dancers who have studied with me to the others I will meet in the future: Modern Saiidi choreograohy for Teaching - breaking the rules I know, respect and love so much.
May God grant me the health, strength, curiosity and talent to keep surprising and inspiring myself (and others, as a natural consequence). Amen to that* and Let´s Dance!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

(Full*) moon gifts falling on my lap...

Ok: I am a moon lover (and that love is becoming more and more obvious as I progress into myself and my own FEELING of what it means to be a WOMAN). I die and feel reborn at every moon cycle (both physically and spiritually) and am blessed for Nature´s collaboration in that sacred process I go through with my hand holding the moon´s hand.
Between many of the GIFTS I am now open to receive here´s little observation I wrote on my bed side notebook:
"Music has always been a part of religion, the religious feeling and rituals.
Singing is part of religion (in the shape of official songs or disguised into recitation as it happens in Islam, for instance). Priests and false gurus have always known that DANCING would be next logical (and illogical) step towards the Divine. Music is the backstage and Dance is the stage; music is the first step and dance is the peak of the mountain.
If DANCING was allowed and cherished in the religious institutions then a new, higher stand would be taken; the next level of approaching the Divine (within as around us) would be way too close to our hands and would set us FREE. Dance is the next level - after music - of communion with the Divine (directly into ourselves where we would discover God with no need for intermediaries, holly books and governments).
This explains why so many religious authorities forbid Dance and point their finger at it as if it was the devil itself. It´s not because it´s an evil thing to do. It´s actually a blessed state of being during which no harm can be done to one self or others. Evil is in the heads of those who point their fingers at Dance blaming it for the darkness they carry inside themselves.
Music is a step towards God; Dance is the ultimate MEETING-REuniting with God and what´s WHY* it was long ago banned, chased as a sin and covered in shame.

This is IT*

My Passion, Mission, Dream and LOVE all have been gathering into a same path and purpose for the last years of my Life. Destiny may have dragged me to Egypt in a way I could not logically explain at the time; all the challenges, walls and shocks I had to deal with and LEARN FROM were not - in my wildest imagination- what I had previewed for myself but still the Universe KNEW best.

More recently things, people and the whole JOURNEY have been revealed as clear as crystal to me and the REASON behind my career, my adventures and LIFE is - every day - more obvious, loving and stronger than ever. I gladly find out that nothing is stronger than the TRUTH.:)

My Soul knew* all along about the treasures this ancient, magical, alchemical DANCE has kept in its womb for so long; my mind caught up with it; then my body and my heart. NOW the WORLD is ready and I just say: Let´s DO IT* (and amen to that).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Back to Russia and some Eilat fun memories*

So HAPPY to return to Russia!

KNOWING* this will be another unforgettable Love´s exchange.

Joana Saahirah of Cairo WORKSHOPS and PERFORMANCES on the 23,24th March in Russia (Krasnoyarsk).

***Infos with: наталья бокова

***More infos at:
Joana Saahirah´s Official Website:
Eilat Festival memories (treasures, really):

Friday, February 8, 2013

Joana Saahirah choreography for teaching "Il Fan"

For me, the value of WORD of HONOUR is untouchable. Once I give my word to someone - specially to myself - then there´s no turning back. I HAVE to do what I promised I would.
So here we go: one of the choreographies I taught in several countries (Spain, Ireland, Russia, England, Israel, you name it...:). I usually don´t share this material on videos because it´s just NOT the same as learning it from me, personally.

Copying is not LEARNING - as far as I´m concerned - and I know there´s not much more than that to be taken from videos but a PROMISE is a PROMISE and here I am answering to the requests of so many wonderful and passionate dancers to studied with me and asked for the goodies on video.

Hope you will feel as inspired as I feel every time I face the challenge to coregraph a new piece (dread it and love it at the same time).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

On the - blessed - Road(s) again*!

Heading to Malaga, Spain very soon. Then Russia - my beloved return to the country that is already in my heart - and so many other events spread all over the world. Blessed and grateful.

Protected by my own vulnerability and open heart.

The world is my stage: my mission: my biggest Love.

HUGE task overdue: the final editing of my Book...oh, boy! Managing constant work travels, performing, choreographing, teaching AND writing a major BOOK is not the easiest of challenges - even for a gemini/multi-tasking girl like me.
Nonetheless: up for it.

Some events (happy) images*

*A little souvenir from Eilat Festival (one of my performances there). Follow the links:

At EILAT FESTIVAL - receiving the deserved fruits of what I´ve planted so far.

Baladi moment at EILAT FESTIVAL.

With Shae - a sweet heart - ROCKING the stage.
At a "cultural talk" in Barcelona, Spain.
With Baseema Maku, the hiper professional organizer of BOF - Barcelona, Spain.
With lovely artists at BOF, Barcelona Festival (Spain).
Me and the talented and sweet Alesya after one of my workshops (Eilat Festival).

Saiidi moment at EILAT. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Another NEW BRIDGE between me and the world*

Oh, my!
Time seems too short for everything I have on my hands but - thanks God and all the Angels* - the Inspiration, Health and Willingness to move FORWARD never goes on vacation.
Festivals all around the Globe, writing, planting new seeds - may God grant me with the energy for it all.

Leaving u all with a souvenir from my last Barcelona trip and a new bridge between me and the world:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Oum Kalthoum. Rak Al Habib. ام كلتوم .رق الحبيب

OMG: tears flowed from my eyes as I found the Om Kolthoum theme I danced at the Closing Gala of "Ahlan wa Sahlan" Festival, Cairo.

This is a rare song by the Eternal Star* of the Orient that my musicians suggested. By telling me it was a rare, hard and "not for dance" song they knew they would make me fall in love with it and so it happened.
When my men started to play this song I immediatly fell in love with it and announced: I HAVE to DANCE this song.  A challenge to dance, interpret, feel and transcend but what a JOY.
Wish I´d found the video of this performance ( me, performing "Raq al habibi" at Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival).