Saturday, August 31, 2013

Star Maker in London (17th November) by Joana Saahirah of Cairo*

Joana Saahirah of Cairo returns to London for a Workshop you simply cannot miss:

STAR MAKER (for the Stage and for Life*)

with a full bombastic “majancé” (entrance on stage) choreography (the turning heads kind) & how to make your own star shine*.

It is never only about the moves, baby! Expect the unexpected.



17th November, from 2pm till 6pm at "THE PLACE"

(17, Duke´s Road, Euston) - Studio 8


Choreography, technique, concept and workshop facilitation by


Joana Saahirah is one of the most well known, respected and original Oriental Dancers in the World.

After almost a decade of Life and Career in Egypt with her own orchestra - rescuing the ORIGINS and ESSENCE of Egyptian Oriental and Folkloric Dance - Joana Saahirah has created a Style (of teaching, choreographing and performing) that UNITES EAST and WEST; the best of Egypt and the best of western open and free mind; technique and expression; healing and Art; the MIND and the HEART, the BODY and the SOUL. 

Joana has recovered the SOUL of Oriental Dance and Egyptian Folklore and it´s her Dream and Mission to share it with the world revealing the true richness and ancient knowledge hidden in this art form.

Joana has written two BOOKS about her life as a Dancer in Egypt and they will both be published this year.

She has also been invited to teach and perform all over the world with a constant blessed applause and the transformation of thousands of Dancers who are touched by her Vision of Oriental Dance***.



Full choreography of a BOMBASTIC stage entrance (aka “majancé”) exploring our full potential as dancers and reuniting Egyptian classical style with a contemporary language; how to fill the space/stage with your OWN power, personality and charisma and leave a personal touch upon every movement you make; linking head and heart, emotion and intelligence, body and soul through magical levels of communication; how to express the Uniqueness you are and forever enchant your audiences.

Your OWN star* shinning – in dance as in life. 

***The importance of the "majancé" (term often used by egyptian musicians refering to the music that is composed for a dancer´s show opening - a free translation, probably, from the french "marche en scène" - entrance on stage):

This is your card presentation; the first time your audience sees you and the opportunity to catch their heart or lose their interest from the start.
The music we will work presents a varied realm of musical-artistic challenges (moments*) that will allow you to show your talent, personality and ability to fill the space with your presence.
Knowing how to ENTER a stage defines your whole Dance. It is never only* about the moves - it is about how much of yourself (your own heart and soul) you can deliver through those moves. Ready for Magic? Rare opportunity to SURPRISE YOURSELF (you will). Here we go:

****Material (you will need to bring): a veil for dance and an open heart overflowing with curiosity, eagerness to learn and be surprise and Love.


****Price: EARLY BIRD (for payments until the 30th September) 40 pounds (for 4 hours workshop);

50 pounds (for 4 hours workshop) for all payments done AFTER the 30th September

PROMOTION: the first 5 dancers to apply will be refunded 5 pounds at the time of the event.


****Payment mode: bank transference.

Email for full bank account info:


****Contacts for infos:  &


****Venue: THE PLACE

(17, Duke´s Road, Euston)

Telf.: 020 – 7121 1000


****ORGANIZATION: Joana Saahirah of Cairo


****IMPORTANT NOTE: PLACES are LIMITED as we will need space (physical and other*) to move with quality. Make sure you have your place secure as soon as possible.



Confirmation: you CAN have an orgasm just by listening to Music*

Yes, I had experienced a miracle like this in my work; TARAB is the base of Oriental Dance and my own way of living. Flying up to the skies and coming back (landing not quite the same as when I took off) is something I - thanks God - have lived a million times and yet I was surprised by this* confirmation: you can INDEED have an orgasm just by listening to Music* (ahhhhhhhhhhhhh....breath in, breath out...still recovering).
And the word (for orgasm, for this Music) is DIVINE*.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Vision* (of Oriental Dance & Life***)

Oh, boy! I´ve been accused of some quite amazing things. My favourite - from all the supposed attacks that are, actually, compliments for me - is that all I make is "too personal". Apparently, doing things MY WAY and UNDER MY OWN SENSIBILITY, CREATIVITY and CONVICTION seems to offend a lot of people. Hmmm...strange...I thought ALL truly artistic work had to be PERSONAL or, at least, come from a personal perspective (hence its originality).
I hear it all and learn from it all and still there is this water-steel head that refuses to go with the flow.
Indeed, I have no time, interest or patience towards whoever is not in love with what he/she does. I have no space for copy machines or mediocrity and YES, I HAVE a PERSONAL VISION of ORIENTAL DANCE that I am willing to share with whoever is interested.
My VISION of ORIENTAL DANCE goes beyond Oriental Dance; it is a combination of INTUITION, KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE and - maybe - the ability to see the further or wider Plan.
Everything I do is personal - too personal. Indeed. So is my VISION of this Dance that I truly believe can help changing the life of women and men.
It´s not just learning the moves, the music and the culture behind them but a full (holistic) reeducation of the Human Being towards FREEDOM, GUTS, CREATIVITY, SELF-ESTEEM and LOVE (for one self and for others). How many times did I listen my own voice whispering - almost in loneliness: "it is not just a dance, is way more than that..."?!
You cannot be an Oriental Dancer if you don´t stop and smell the flowers or rejoice in the moment the sun kisses your skin;
 you cannot be an Oriental Dancer if you´re indifferent to Life or live limited by your own mind demons; you cannot, certainly, call yourself an Oriental Dancer if your HEART and SOUL are closed or simply sleeping...from "you cannot" do "YES, YOU CAN" - what a privileged job I have! Grateful for the luxury and responsability. Can you see the spectrum of my Vision? Can YOU see* it?
As far as I see it, Oriental Dancing is about becoming a Human Being, nothing less than that.
I don´t perform or teach an exotic dance for the superficial pleasure of hip shaking lovers; there are plenty of people who can provide that service. That is not my cup of tea.
The Oriental Dance I perform and teach comes from the SOUL and aims to touch the SOUL (and awaken it) of everyone who gets in direct connection with my work.
It is no small feet - neither big. It just IS*.
If you gotta do something, do it GREAT and TRUE - that´s all.
P.S. Curiously - and not surprisingly - enough, more and more people (around the world) understand and FEEL that this PERSONAL (oh too personal) VISION of mine is also theirs. Cheers to THAT* recognition and to all the dancers who are living flames with no compromise for mediocrity or any other small shoes of this world. Cheers to them (and they are many, thanks God!).

Isadora´s Pearls***

First question: is it possible that any Dancer who is worth of this designation does not know ISADORA DUNCAN?! Well, I am not sure I wish to know the answer (let it be and dig into what really matters). For those who have been distracted, here´s a little introduction to Isadora´s legacy: follow the link:

To those who know what she stood for and the way she changed what we know now as DANCE (or modern dance), here are some of the pearls of her AUTO-BIOGRAPHY handpicked by me, a voracious person (reader, dancer, lover, teacher, apprentice and lots of etcs added to the mix).
The PASSION, CONVICTION, INTELLIGENCE and COURAGE of this Woman leaves me breathless: BREATHLESS.
It is - also - from this Ocean that my waters are born and dance wild.

Catch these Pearls (from "MY LIFE", Isadora Duncan) and, if possible (notice all you can imagine is possible), do something from it:

". The ballet school taught the pupils that this spring was found in the centre of the back at the base of the spine. From this axis, says the ballet master, arms, legs, and trunk must move freely, giving the result of na articulated puppet. This method produces artificial mechanical movement not worthy of the soul. I, on the contrary, sought the source of the spiritual expression to flow into the channels of the body, filling it with vibrating light - the centrifugal force reflecting the spirit´s vision. After many months, when I had learned to concentrate all my force to this one Centre, I found that thereafter when I listened to music the rays and vibrations of the music streamed to this one fount of light within me - there they reflected themselves in Spiritual Vision, not the brain´s mirror, but the soul´s, and from this vision I could express them in Dance. I have often tried to explain to artists this first basic theory of my Art. Stanislavsky mentions my telling him of this in his book, My Life in Art."

"The body itself must then be forgotten; it is only an instrument harmonised, and well appropriated, and its movements do not express, as in gymnastics, only the movements of a body, but, through that body, they express also the sentiments and thoughts of the soul."
"This was not a young man making love to a girl. This was the meeting of twin souls. The light covering of flesh was so transmuted with ecstasy that earthly passion became a heavenly embrace of white, fiery flame.
These are joys so complete, so all perfect, that one should not survive them."
"Art gives form and harmony to what in life is chaos and discord."


"Ah, how I envy the resignation of those nunswho pray with pale lips, murmuring incessant prayers all through the night before the coffins of strangers. Such temperaments are the envy of the artist who revolts, who cries, "I will love, love, create joy, joy." What a Hell!"


"Nietzsche was the first dancing philosopher."


"The miracle of love is the varied themes and keys in which it can be played, and the love of one man compared to another may be as different as hearing the music of Beethoven compared to the music of Puccini, and the instrument that gives the response to these melodious players is woman. And I suppose a woman who has known but one man is like a person who has heard only one composer."

Apple "Think Different" (Steve Jobs narrated)

Very few things excite me more than GENIUS.
Ok: COURAGE is pretty sexy; INTELLIGENCE can be irresistible; HONESTY gets me fascinated and an ELEGANT, GENUINE, KIND HEART has me totally surrendered but...GENIUS is the* thing that get all my juices flowing...oh, man!

(BIG TIME) Food for the Soul*

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Some of the next World Adventures:

Many countries in the WORLD* AGENDA (next are Slovenia, Spain, Russia and England) and na whole set of DREAMS coming true as we* speak.
My much awaited return to RUSSIA (which is quickly becoming my second artistic home) and a lot of surprises that will be soon announced.
So they did*********************



~Let´s ROCK it, ladies and gentlemen!


Current mood(s)*********************

What it means BEING a WOMAN?

Challenges never cease to chase me (also vice-versa!): they are my fuel and fire: the LEARNING, the CONQUERING, the ESCALATING of the MOUNTAINS, the eagerness to kill this thirst for KNOWLEDGE and WISDOM (two different things); the passion for FEELING and EXPERIENCING everything that amplifies me.

Following whatever I cannot escape from (myself, most of all), it was with immense pleasure that I embarked on a new challenge that is yet to be fully revealed.

For now, here´s the first stone of this particular* Castle: I AM ASKING TO ALL THE WOMEN I KNOW (no matter which nationality, religion, age, profession, social or any other background) what it means - FOR THEM - to BE a WOMAN or how they define FEMININE.

For way too long, what WOMEN are seem to have been defined by men (?!) but NOW the time has come for WOMEN to DEFINE (or remember) THEMSELVES.
So it is with much excitement and love that I launch the CHALLENGE:
Answers may be sent to my email: or directly to my Facebook Fan Page (follow link: )


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Miracles*, Revelations and Remembering who I am***

Photo by Maria Aya***

Every now and then...
We need to remember who we are and the Universe - so generously - brings us the awakening note (this time by the hands of my dear honey bee, Maria Aya - thanks, gorgeous!).
Here´s how Maria described the image you see above:

"Native Animal of Crete, Kri-Kri, the proud crazy goat, that climb's on mountain's eat sea grass and is so stuborn that can die just hiting a rock (as the rock) doesnt move from her way, rare to catch on photo and i'm very lucky cause i took this photo while driving at crete last week."

Oh, Maria...little did you know what you photographed is just me*:

A sttuborn goat (that could die kicking rock´s asses) living by the sea:
 have you ever seen something so close to me as this?!

Summer (LOVE) Bliss***:

Images (of my Summer) that speak louder than words.
Re-awakening to Life´s Challenges after the tasting - almost chaotic, almost real - of a truly BLISSFUL Summer time. Love - and Life - has this unsuspected Miracles and I am - now* - a believer.
From where do I get my inspiration?! It could only be from you - always you: my hips between your hands (planting new gardens of dances yet to be born) and my heart under your skin - as it always was and will be.
What you´ve given me (in resume): Air (once the air seemed to have vanished from my horizon); surprises (!); three dolphins playing on the shore to my (our) own delight; sun and Ocean (inside and around us); love making that is ETERNAL, quite like Us, together; the madness and rare Art of not asking, not understanding, not doubting and not fearing: SURRENDERING to US, to LIFE, to the MIRACLES that already fell on our laps and for the ones we baked under this blessed sun of August.
GRATEFUL for all the LOVE, PASSION, LAUGHTER, WARMTH, EXCITEMENT, HOME RETURN, PEACE and - above all - for your eyes on mine, telling me of hell and heaven (wrapped up in golden linen, sweetly invading our kisses and the dangerous dance that is ME & YOU: US).


Provocation: what is "shaabi" music and dance?

The - spicy - subject is more alive than ever as the political unrest (to say the least) in Egypt jumps into dimensions no one (or almost no one :/ ) could have predicted.

Egyptian PEOPLE - " il SHAAB MASRI" - seems to be arising from the sleeping sands of the desert and with them a new LOOK and ATTENTION towards the music of the poorer, the claims of the most vulnerable, the frustrations of the most ignorant and the DREAMS of the majority of egyptians - which is, like it or not, on a pretty low poverty line.

Terri Dale - sweet heart from Ireland - has pushed me (kindly, though...) to talk about a subject I usually don´t give much attention to: "SHAABI" music and dance.

Why haven´t I put it under my spotlight?! Plainly: everybody else seems to be doing it and with little knowledge; it is fashionable and I don´t follow fashions; it is a kind of music and dance I got use to see as something I did, time after time, when I went out to party in Cairo or when I was invited by one of my musicians for an authentic "street party" in some dark cornered neighbourhood of the city.

For me, it is just the music and dance we do - and, by "we", I mean me and egyptians - when no one is looking and ALL WE WANT IS TO EVADE OURSELVES (from reality) AND HAVE A GOOD, ROUGH, FREE and PEPPER TEMPERED TIME. For this reason - and others fairly explained bellow - I didn´t consider it as ARTISTIC material worth of much attention but a way to have fun with no beauty, artistic or sophistication pretensions.
Now - for some reason I gladly surrender to - the subject is ON again.
Here we go (here´s the answer I sent to Terri):

In a few words (I´ll try): Shaabi comes from "shaab" that means, literally, PEOPLE. So this is the kind of music and dance regular, simple people practice in Egypt and is clearly separated from the classical - more sophisticated - music such as Om Kolthoum, Abdel Wahab or Abdel Halim Hafez (just to cite a few).

Shaabi is also a reflection of the poorest people´s world: their worries, dreams, frustrations and way of evasion from real life hardships (quite like a drug).

In this matter, you will find a style that often speaks of subjects that ART usually runs away from: the dark side of life (no usual egyptian romanticism included),drugs, sexual harassment, sadness, injustice, despair, rage, less than diplomatic REAL thoughts of the people, etc.

 The language is often slang and even umpolite and it has an open, multilayered - and provocative - interpretation to it.

As it reflects the PEOPLE - simple people which is the majority of the population - of Egypt, it naturally changes with the times.
 The shaab - people- of Egypt today is NOT the same of a decade ago or twenty years ago. So shaabi music reflects the CHANGES egyptian society goes through.
This is why you see the music, nowadays, "contaminated" with foreign influences (eg: hip hop or rap music). It is easy to understand: egyptians - specially the youth - is now open to the world via mobiles, internet, cable t.v., etc. Their mentality, horizons, hopes, fears and dreams changes with the world around them and so does "shaabi" music.


In relation to BALADI - which is also associated with the "shaab" or "people" - there is a BIG difference. Although both genres are usually practiced by the simple people of Egypt, baladi is way more poetic, lyrical, musically rich and wide than "shaabi".
Besides that, baladi speaks of each human being´s inner world while "shaabi" speaks of the outer world, the current social issues of specific generations. The rage, joy, toughness and dreams, in this case, are from the collective and not from each personal soul. 
I could add: Baladi is eternal and shaabi changes with the times.


You ask: "if it is music that is claimed as still for the people and communities, is its meaning still authentic or do you think it is diluted?"

Sure it is diluted as people are diluted. As I said before, shaabi music and dance reflects current social situations in Egypt - particularly the problems and joys affecting the lower social classes.

 "Do you think Sha'abi and its meaning has re-surfaced in Egypt and especially Cairo since the government changes and upheavals to become more popular, since its meaning is more for the people and less for government and forced establishments?"
YES, I do think Shaabi music and dance has been revived since the egyptian - almost! - Revolution of 25th January 2011. PEOPLE - il shaab - has been aware of its power and identity (still struggling with it) and "shaabi" music has been directly affected by it. Naturally. And YES, there is a greater FREEDOM of expression so this is clearly felt in the lyrics of the shaabi songs as well as in the movements-dance that follows them. Shaabi can get really rough, wild, violent and ordinary but it is a TRUE mirror of the lower classes of Egypt as well as the result of many centuries of lowered heads.

I read the article you sent me ( ) and it fits the idea I have about the subject (most of it I already told you about).
Also notice that shaabi music is, in an evasive manner, a way of ESCAPING reality completely diferent from the way Classical egyptian music uses. Shaabi music - and dance - goes directly the DARKER side of society and people. No shame, beauty masks or sweet talking attached.
The things other songs don´t speak about and that are not "politically correct": the drugs, the poverty, the despair, the sexual mess in Egypt, the ordinary and AUTHENTIC mood and thoughts of MOST egyptians. In this way, it is a HONEST music that gives voice to the simple people of Egypt in a way other kinds of music never really did.
"I'm just wondering why its still 'underground' - is it because of some oppression from the state or what? I don't seem to see it clarify this issue in the article."

I would not say it is UNDERGROUND because it is EVERYWHERE in Egypt, particularly these days. It is not hidden, forbidden or anything of this sort. It is quite mainstream, actually. But it is - on purpose, I guess - ordinary and shocking and it does not reflect the ARTISTIC elites of Egypt who may see it as a lower form of entertainment for the poor and ignorant. Artistically speaking, I consider it poor. The lyrics are shocking, for sure. But shocking does not mean, necessarily, interesting (at least, for me). Some lyrics can be creative, even funny in a sarcastic, ironic, bitter sweet way but the musical structure is usually extremely basic, predictable and repetitive which is everything the GREAT EGYPTIAN MUSIC never was.
If artistically this music does not enthusiasm me, it does so if we see the SOCIAL side of it. It can be interesting if we listen and UNDERSTAND this music as a barometer of most egyptians minds, bodies and souls.

"Do you think that Sha'abi was less popular before this started happening when Egypt was gaining influence from western civilization and perhaps being lured away from traditional dance but at the same time still under a fixed regime?"

Shaabi music is NOT a recente phenomenon. Egypt always had many layers of music and styles that fit diferente people and contexts. Shaabi music has changed with the times and the people, that´s all. When Egypt opened itself to the globalization, shaabi music changed. When Revolution - almost - happened, shaabi music also changed in egyptian search for its own identity. But it is not something that was born now. It has only been more visible than before - that´s all. Also the CONTENTS of the music have been more abundant since social revolt started: freedom to express what one feels and things as well as political opinions to be expressed. Nowadays, there is much more material for shaabi singers and composers than before and this may also have contributed to make it more visible but it has always been there.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Echos from Ukraine and a see you soon full of Love*

Performing in Ukraine (with some of the musicians who have been part of my orchestra in Cairo).
In these photos, Semsem is doing his "magic" as well as I am (check out how my finger is pointing up, directly touching a lamp:).

Talking (no words required) with my beloved audiences. In Ukraine, in the sky, everywhere.

Oh, man! I gotta love Semsem - the "taabal" performing with me over here - for his obvious respect, enthusiasm, focus and passion. Just look at his face and you will know - just a bit - of the pleasure of performing with Musicians who truly know and love what they are doing.

Loving these guys! Me and musicians have always had a passionate (and respect based) relationship. Grateful for their generosity - always.

Living (another way of saying "dancing") on stage. Ukraine.
Then he came and climbed them.

Vacation plans*

A Glimpse

A GLIMPSE, through an interstice caught,
Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room, around the stove,
late of a winter night-
And I unremark'd seated in a corner;
Of a youth who loves me, and whom I love, silently approaching,
seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand;
A long while, amid the noises of coming and going-
of drinking and
oath and smutty jest,
There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little,
perhaps not a word."