Friday, June 28, 2013


VERY happy* to know that my upcoming WORKSHOPS in SLOVENIA (by the end of September) are already SOLD OUT.:)
Oh, boy! This is what I call my usual "Creativity Booster".
Although I´ve won lots of battles while dancing with OBSTACLES and even considered them my Masters it is GREAT to know that GROWTH can also come from supporting circumstances and from this FANTASTIC feed-back from dancers who - all over the world - appreciate my work.

 World*: here I come.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Belly Power (a MUST READ)*

Here´s an article I can fairly denominate a "MUST READ".
Essential reflexions on women´s belly, creativity, freedom, power and the way all of those are still feared and savaged.
If you´re na Oriental Dancer, then consider it a triple "MUST READ" article.
LOVE inteligente people doing inteligente things in the world.
***To access this and other (extremely interesting and relevant articles) follow the link:

Friday, June 14, 2013

The luxury of freedom after Egypt (or daring to wear my summer flower dress)

All I wanted for my Birthday was a breathing space: INHALING.

 Just inhaling for someone who is constantly exhaling in all directions and in so many ways - outch, that must (almost) hurt.

Not complaining, that I´m not. I´m living the life I dreamt for myself and even beyond/above it but, I admit, there´s some lack of balance in this whole equation as I don´t rest enough, I don´t cut myself some slack and always give 10000% in everything I do with no time between events to BREATH IN and RE-FUEL the whole machine (body, mind, heart and soul).

Yesterday was my birthday and I spent it just as I wanted it (and urgently needed): in peace and quiet, with loved ones, by the beach (feeling the salt from the ocean on my sun bathed skin was heaven) and wearing nothing but a bikini.
Once I left the beach, I dared to wear a new summer flower dress that I could only dream of in my last years of life in Egypt. Dressing like a "normal" person was one of those "luxuries" I had to abdicate from when I decided to build my career from Egypt (to the world).  Small price, comparing to the price many other dancers agree to pay (hhhmmmm...). Still a HIGH PRICE.

It is a fact that whoever has been born inside of a jail (without the experience of freedom) doesn´t even know he/she´s jailed (much less having the concept of what FREEDOM means).
 It is also a fact that, if you were lucky to be born in FREEDOM, then you will only value it once you lose it.

My personal and professional life in Egypt has been FANTASTIC and BLESSED in so many ways but the restrictions, sacrífices and loss it also entailed often left me drained out of energy and even a smile.
Not being able to walk in the street like a HUMAN BEING was a heavy daily load to carry; having to carefully cover myself (bag of potatoes, baby) every time I "exposed" myself outsider of my home (even when I opened the door to receive some delivery or the postmail) was a kind of subtle - yet powerful - repression that led me to a state of near clinical madness; being treated as a sexual object by 99,9% of all the people I met was hurtful and unnatural and the only reason why it didn´t break my spirit* was that I KNOW MYSELF too well and would never allow it to happen.

Now...being able to walk barefoot and with a beautiful summer dress in public FELT LIKE PARADISE - after so many years of my self-imposed indirect jail. It seems so simple, doesn´t it?
Oh, well: once you´re deprived of this basic freedom of just being natural - being a PERSON is way too much to ask for in countries like Egypt or others where mentalities and hearts seem to have been left to rot in Medieval times - you KNOW the value of it.

Happy Birthday to me - FREE as a BIRD, thanks God! - and may this new solar cycle bring everything I dream of and much more. It will. It does: right now. Amen!

Going to Cyprus (for this FANTASTIC EVENT)!:)

Love the presentation vídeo, the artists and people in it, the whole event and CYPRUS!
Here I comeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..................................

What they (beautiful London dancers) said about my work (whoa, Nelly!):

This is something I so rarely do:  take the time to let compliments (about me and my work) sink in my heart; the time to feel proud and happy about myself, to celebrate my small and big victories and to expose in public a tiny bit of the immense amount of appreciation, respect and support I receive from Dancers and general public from all over the world.

Trembling and a weird sweat is the result of the simple idea of exposing these comments - maybe because I´m not used to praise myself and feel quite ashamed of "bragging" and pulling out my own gallons. I tend to be so supportive when it comes to pinpointing other people´s achievements and qualities and quite reserved when it comes to recognizing mine (contrary to a lot of the small popular belief that calls me arrogant - quite an ironic comment that always locates me in the rope where the balance between loud laughter and crying lays).

I´m a no bulshit,  LET´S DO IT kind of girl and a highly self-critical one. While I tend to overlook other dancer´s faults and treat them with tenderness, I am the harshest and coldest critic of myself.

Plus: my focus is not on what I did (even less on how greatly I´ve, eventually, done it) but on WHAT I DIDN´T DO - yet. Who cares about what I DID - I ask myself. That´s so...YESTERDAY. What´s next to conquer? - I yell at the skies.

So it´s only natural - and also wrong - that I don´t allow myself to look at and celebrate my victories as I desserve.

On a Happy Birthday self-note I offer myself this new space to share some of the public comments on my last Courses ("The Secrets of Egyptian Dance" and "Om Kolthoum Secrets") ministered in London. Even before I share them, I already feel shy and deeply grateful.
Notice that every message that was "too personal" to share is not - and will never be - exposed in public (in order to respect the privacy of who sent it) but I have read each one of them and felt deeply touched by it.

Here we go on this joyful self-appreciation ride (should remember that old rule: do what you preach!):

 " I think I have attended the MOST INSPIRATIONAL bellydance workshop EVER today with Joana Saahirah today! I wanted to personally thank you for sharing all of this with are not only a magnificent dancer...but also a woman and a teacher to look up to! And thanks to Frederique Assor Liscia for organizing such an is not only about bellydance technique...but MUCH MUCH MORE! Every bellydancer should attend her workshops...they make you feel EMPOWERED not only as a dancer...but AS A WOMAN! "

Claudia Bellydance

“Here are some personal thoughts on your workshop (Secrets of Egyptian dance) which I very much enjoyed.
I really like the way you connect dance with real life principles. (...)

I also remembered something you mentioned from your workshop last November “don’t pretend to be someone you are not…” Something along those lines, can’t remember the exact words J Again, it was spot-on for me. I keep reminding myself that I can still dance Egyptian style even though I’m not one (or look like one). It’s all about the dance and music.

Timing is always an issue when it comes to running workshops because there is a lot to teach and share, so that’s my only minor ‘complaint’. I know there is so much more I can learn from you, so I guess we will just have to get you back to London as often as possible."


"Thank you from my heart for the gracious nurturing approach, for your patience and love you brought to the workshops and classes. I feel very honored to have been your student even for such short period of time. Be blessed in all your endeavors and much success and luck everywhere!
With love,



·     "Hi Joana, it was such a pleasure to meet you and to participate in your workshop. It made me realize that what I  had before was like chewing bubble gum when you are hungry. So I thoroughly enjoyed the class and was inspired."
Olya Nikulin
"I did both days (...).
Saturday was fantastic for me - I learnt a lot about the baladi style and reasons behind it, the expectations and you put it across perfectly - the booklet was a great bonus to get to keep.
I love your teaching style and the way you had us doing exercises of everyday things to incorporate into our dance. That is a very valuable lesson to me and one I can take with me to aid with improv which I struggle with. You have opened up my eyes to so much more. Thank you.
Sunday morning was also very inspirational in that I could understand the differences in the moods, tempo, etc of Oum Kalthoum songs and what's expected of the dancer and to be able to justice to Oum Kalthoum when dancing to one of her songs.

You are a wonderful wonderful dancer - and so inspiring. It has been lovely to meet you and study from you - I shall take some very valuable information back to NZ with me and I know my dance will improve no end when I apply what I've learnt from you.
Thank you so much for your generous giving of your knowledge and yourself.
Big hugs."
o    "Thank you for the light and inspiration you brought with you, Joana! It was two amazing workshops and a part of your magic will always be in my dancing from now on! Enjoy the flight (of life, love and dance and everything in between)! ";)
"Safe travels dearest. Thanks for changing my life!!"
"Joanaaa have a great trip!!! Thank you for your passion and dedication but specially for showing us the real meaning of egyptian dance! I think I'm not the same dancer or even person anymore ( in a very positive way ) Loads of love!!!"
"We love you very dearly, and Good Luck wherever your magical steps might take you to...You open the portals of new Dimensions in Oriental Dance! Xxxxxx"
Ayanna Rakqs
" The workshops were really inspiring, i understood and learnt lots of things that will definitely change my approach of the dance and my dance for ever. Thank you!"
Frederique Assor Liscia
"We love you too ;0( and we will love to keep you here...obrigada for sharing so much knowledge, love, passion...u r truly amazing and inspiring ;0) and gave so much is such little time. Espero q regresses pronto y muchisisima suerte en donde vallas. Xx"
"Thank you Joana Saahirah for being a inspiration beyond the physical World, for Taking us Gently into the Multidimensional Self WHERE we learn to Uncover who we truly are. Loved every minute of it and Indeed you have so Much to Share and you do it Wholeheartedly! ;-)))"
Ayanna Raks
Thanks, my wonderful fellow Dancers-Sisters for your loving presence, feed-back and Existence. Taking you all in my heart* 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

(More) London souvenirs and some Magic*

Always found essential to KNOW where my true PASSION-FIRE resides and LIVE, WALK, BREATH, TRAVEL from that point ahead (in dance as in life, my own golden rule)*.
Find what MOVES you from your guts, belly, heart, soul and then move TOWARDS it* with or without fears. It´s risky, it´s expensive (that´s the thing about dreams: no one tells you there are prices to pay...and yet...) and it requires your TOTAL PRESENCE but it´s LIFE - instead of the zoombie almost-existence most people carry on with these days.
BE ALIVE, will you?!

London in my heart.
@ Mia Lounge.

Me and the beautiful Frederique - upon my arrival to London (in her garden).

Under the unexpected London sun*

London - kissed by the sun.

It´s in the dance between Yin and Yang - female and male energies - that we find the platform from which DANCE can be born and grow. Thinking is not enough; feeling is not enough - a bit of both can be quite great, if only we can let go and smoothly learn how to dance with both, holding each other´s hands (apparently diferente faces of the same coin).

Be HAPPY while you´re at it. What´s the point of LIVING-DANCING if it´s not for HAPPINESS purpose?!

The Gipsy in me - eternally present, no matter how much the exterior world wishes to put me in a box.
A wild horse will ALWAYS be a wild horse.

The CRAFT of the Artist*

"Smart. Nervous. Not entirely trusting of herself or others, at first. Leary. Giggling. And then: Coiled. Focused. A serpent on the prowl for truth and the soft underbelly. Piercing the skin of the character, opening its gut, and out comes ...details, biography, features. She can alter the tone of a character's skin by the reading of a line. She can dramatically alter the temperature in a room, on a stage, perhaps in a city by the look on her face. She is all characters, all women, I think. And then--gone. Silent. Blank. Home." 
Tenn's notes on Geraldine Page, found on a piece of legal paper/New Orleans. (Photo of Page and Paul Newman in "Sweet Bird of Youth.")
Via: Elizabeth de Lacanne

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On the Roads* (of Happiness)

Courtesy image by Plesna Delavnica (from Slovenia, where I will be teaching this September)

It strikes me as obvious - way too obvious - that dreams do not come true overnight and just by wishing upon a star*. There´s a lot of wishing involved in the process but there is much more ACTION and FEELING in it than just day dreaming while pacificaly staring  at the sky.
TODAY is the only day that matters for dreams accomplishing as for everything else.
A new Life - and ideas, will, projects, dreams - are born after every single work trip I make around the world. Each teaching-performing-lecturing project is a STEP ahead on the mountain I chose for myself to climb (of which chose me).
Now it´s time - again- to make a balance of what I´ve done so far and build brand new pillars for the Roads ahead. Loads of Dancing, juggling* (blessed be this gemini brain of mine!), choreographing, writing, performing and travelling on the way ahead.
In the middle of all this blessed agitation, I will fit a few days of well deserved vacation that will feel nothing less than PARADISE.:)
Next stops on my DREAM airplane:
Cyprus and Ukraine FESTIVALS.:)
 Meeting amazing dancers and people while at it, letting myself be soaked with influences from every single place I visit and doing my BEST at all times (hence receiving the mirror/feed-back of that TOTALITY and LOVE*).

Courtesy image montage by Plesna Delavnica

Surrendering to the Mystery*

Teaching is learning twice, right?
You teach what you need to learn, isn´t it?
So here we go (from my Travel Notes in London, written after my weekend courses):

Accepting the Mystery, the illogical (or beyond the Rational Logic of Mathematics), the Unknown, the Void, the place where no brain arrives is part of the highest Intelligence of a Dancer-Person.

Not everything in the Universe exists so that we rationally understand it but, probably, that empty space where the brain has no saying or doing is all around us (and inside us) to be EXPERIENCED by the heart: a heart that asks no questions and simply surrenders to the apparent chaos where the Divine Order makes us all dance-live.
Somethings are meant to be kept in our ignorance so that we can breath, keep that essential glimpse of illusion alive and thrive for tomorrow´s sake. If we were given the full access to all Knowledge we would - I bet! - explode and disappear as human beings. A percentage of ignorance is so important - now it seems...- as a passionately acquired percentage of Knowledge.

Knowing when to THINK is as wise as knowing when to let thinking rest for a much appreciated nap.
Knowing to accept the pure, blissful state of "not knowing" is as important as the willingness to inquire and the thirst for more Light.

Surrendering to the Mystery of Existence - in dance as in life - as if you would surrender between the arms of your most beloved one.

Joana Saahirah - in the booklet "The Secrets of Egyptian Dance"

Monday, June 10, 2013

Treasures found: Mondays with Merce

You cannot be an ARTIST if you´re not curious and a rebel in your nature. Learn the rules (better and deeper than anyone you know) so that you can BREAK THEM (greatly), I so often say to the Dancers who study with me.
My task - as a teacher - is to help you REMEMBER who you are and give you all the tools you need to fly on your own (as distant from being a clone of me as close to BEING your FULL self). Yes: that´s my job. It´s certainly not a marketing oriented strategy - that has never been my "thing", anyway.
But it´s a conviction that comes out of my most cherishe integrity and pride in my profession, dream, mission and VISION of Oriental Dance.

Here´s a TREASURE* I found that only confirms everything I stand for and do. Enjoy the Magic*.

Creativity is everywhere (London souvenirs)

Me, bathing under the unexpected London sun*

On the very few occasions I could breath (in these last days in London), all I could see everywhere I went was CREATIVITY and TALENT (two things I cherish above almost everything else in life).
It was not just the Musicals and the Theatres (which leave me breathless) but the bubbling creativity on the streets of the city, on tube stations, on gardens and totally unsuspected corners.

A guy playing trombone (perfect, mystical, multi-layered and rich trombone playing) with a plastic traffic cone (so perfectly that, before seeing him, I though I was listening to Louis Armstrong...); acrobats at Covent Garden and those "statue men" who hold their own breath in the strangest - and most interesting - positions; painters and sculptors in the subway; ART mixed (or simply revealed) into LIFE and LIFE - surely - REVEALED into ART: what a blissful mess!

A country which knows the connection between ART and POLITICS is alive; a country which knows that creativity in Dance, Theatre, etc, is exactly the same as the creativity applied to social issues and economical boosting business is alive.
A country which supports its ARTISTS is a country alive in the rare manner that unites street smart with wisdom. Impossible to have a poor cultured country with a thriving political, social, economical life - ALL is connected.

Got so many food for thought and for the soul in London. Damn: I LOVE that city!

TALENT: that diaphanous quality that makes me feel ALIVE, on FIRE and on the verge of exploding into a million tear drop ocean.

London delight* (thank you, darlings)

I like to believe that the Universe is like a boomerang: it returns to the source whatever the source throws at him. Yes, I like to believe this is true: what I give out to the Universe, I receive back in the same quality, frequency and intensity.
Me and Frederique, the wonderful organizer of the weekend Courses.
Until proof of the opposite, this belief seems to be faithful in its mathematical and mysterious ways: indeed: you receive a MIRROR of what you put out there.
Before performing.

If so, I must be putting some AMAZING vibes out there because the FEED-BACK has been overwhelming in all possible (and yet not imagined) manners.
What can I say?
Going to wathc the Classic "Singing in the Rain" Musical. Oh, Gene Kelly, Gene Kelly...won´t you come back to life?!
Very few things get me as emotional as TALENT.

I had a fully booked agenda on the last period of time I spent in London. Every single dancer that was present in my Weekend Courses (as well as in the daily private classes that filled all my time while in the city) were there for the RIGHT REASON and with a totally opened heart. Now...THAT is priceless. The love of doing what I LOVE and the love of feeling the love of the people who share my Vision (or are willing to do so): THE LOVE all around me and inside me. It´s FANTASTIC.
Just arrived to town.
Me and Frederique at her home´s gorgeous garden.
 There aren´t enough THANK YOU´s that can cover what I want to express.
 All I can say is that I had a FANTASTIC time with everyone (dancers and "common" people I met, new friends I made, strangers that passed by me while leaving their mark on my skin, ghosts in the theatres and all that life jazz).

Another Classic: Mr. Big Bem and its imponent presence as if it could kiss the London sky.

Cannot - also - express the joy I am receiving, until now, with the messages of apprecia
tion sent from the dancers who have studied with me or saw me perform in London. Ladies: you REALLY make my day (and night)! Beyond thank you (so much).

Sending all my LOVE and warm embrace to London and everybody who has touched me as much as I´ve touched them (I hope). See you soon, darling ones (you know who you are*)!

With the wonderful Zara (so much pride and faith in you, baby girl!).

P.S. YOUR MUM.:) Ah, your MUM (DA MUM).

They told me London was never kissed by the they told me. Glad I know - oh so well - that NEVER is quite a silly word.

The Musical "Thriller" - spending all the tears I had left in my tear storage room.

Fresh from London: notes from (for) the Soul*

"Let your dance bloom from the aroma of your soul for in that inner garden a million flowers, trees and fairies awake every single morning."

Joana S*. (...they say it´s me; I´m not so sure about it...)

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things."

-Leonardo da Vinci, was a great Italian genius & polymath