Monday, December 30, 2013

Backstage magic* (raw, real and essential) - the moments audiences never get to see*

Images captured on the backstage of different shows (in Egypt, Slovenia, Argentina, Russia, etc). Here´s the place where the Magic* starts, where all the nerve wreck, insecurities, passions and drive gather and terrorize me (making me the happiest person on earth at the same time); here´s the place where I let my armour down, breathe deeply, rest, relax, prepare my energy for the Sacred Space (stage), feel anxious and privileged to make exactly what I love the most.
No need to comment - these photos speak for themselves ;)





Thanks giving, letting go and LOOKING FORWARD*...

How I feel: overwhelmed with Gratitude and Love*
An immense GRATITUDE urge seems to be taking over me right now. Suddenly, it seems more obvious than ever the amount of people that helped me be who I am right now (as a person and as an Artist, both one and the same for me). They say it takes a village to raise a child; I say it takes many villages to build a successful artist and human being.

Having a "chat" with my audience in Ukraine*

It´s true that I have faced many obstacles and people who actually hate me without knowing me (just because*) and wish to see me on the floor but that´s just part of the price of a Great Journey Up the Mountain. People who cannot do it* - or are not willing to put up with the work, sacrífices and courage required for it - seem to hate who does it*. We are mirrors of each other - always - and I know how much frustration I can cause on a lot of people. And yet...YET. For each little, poor devil who tries to throw me down the cliff there are five incredible angels who pull me up and ahead. This post is for them (and they are MANY).

Feeling a LOVE outpouring towards the musicians, sponsors, assistants, technicians, dancers, students, fellow professional colleagues, strangers, family and friends who have believed in me - until now - and always reminded me of who I am and how much WE ALL CAN ACHIEVE when we put our minds, hearts and work to it.

My Angels - I have many, thanks God!

Dreaming is not enough; wishing is not enough. We have to dream, take the steps towards that dream and accept there will be tests, sacrífices, hard work, much persistence needed and an whole lot of demons on the way. COURAGE and PERSEVERANCE are as important as TALENT.

Here I am, humble, proud and overflowing with GRATITUDE, doing my little retrospective of my career/life and opening a golden, jeweled door for a new year that will explode with all scales and limits I may have established for myself. READY to shine and thanking each one of the ANGELS I´ve met along the way (they know who they are).
Love you and could not have made it - so far - without you*********************

"Il Hob how da il Qanun" - "Love is the Law", the inscription I ordered for my living room sofá in Cairo, Egypt.

My NEW BOOK "The secrets of Egypt - Dance, Life & Beyond" arriving...:)))))))))))))))))))))

Arriving to the WORLD: my BOOK
"The Secrets of Egypt - Dance, Life & Beyond"
A Journey of Death and Rebirth in the country of the Pyramids

Once upon a time, I had a dream so I chased it – in Egypt.... This Magical Book tells about this Adventure, the Price we pay for our Passions and the Wisdom we can gather on the Journey up the Mountain.
Almost killed, chased, shocked and amazed with an Egyptian (fascinating) underworld very few foreigners ever get to know.

" The Vision* of a Dance that answers to the question: what´s the Law?
I can hear the eternal echo (lonely singing in the mountains): The Law is LOVE. Here´s my discovery, my creed and reason to live – my own treasure island found at the present (full circle) moment.
Leaving everything I knew behind, heading to the mysterious Egypt (with a bag full of ignorance, guts and big dreams) was more than an ambitious impulse; it was a Sacred Initiation. Little did I know that it would be through hell that I would reach (my own private) Heaven."

From my BOOK "The Secrets of Egypt - Dance, Life & Beyond
Sneak preview of some of the Book´s illustrations (directed related to each chapter´s theme) lovingly done by my own hands.

Lifting the veil a little bit more (enjoy it)...
What inspired you to write this book?
My own personal and professional career and life experience in Egypt as well as the Secrets* I gathered there and the urgency to share it with the whole world.
After almost 8 years of performing, teaching, researching and living in Egypt (with all the shocking and miraculous experiences that come along with it), I´ve started to travel the world and notice much of the Knowledge I had been gathering was not only unknown but urgent to share. So I started taking notes on the most important things I had learnt in Egypt – regarding dance and life (one and the same) – and keeping them in a very special notebook which, eventually, ended up as a full Course (“The Secrets of Egyptian Dance” – for art and for life) and this brand new Book.
(From the upcoming Press Release of the Book)

New posts, new look, new book, new year, new LIFE*********************

The painting you can now see (enjoy*) on my blog was made by the Artist Rute Maluma and it´s a divine part of a new Cycle of my Journey.
2013 is almost coming to an end and there´s much to be THANKFUL for:
1. How much health, vigour and breath I enjoyed in 2013.
I never stop feeling surprised at the marvellous CREATION my body, mind, heart and soul are. No matter how much I´ve lived and how many challenges these "guys" have been through, they never fail to recover, heal, reinvent themselves and assure me the HEALTH, ENERGY, INSPIRATION and REASON(s) to LIVE.
2. 2013 was a year of RADICAL - and blessed - changes for me. I´ve decided to take Egypt in my heart and share it with the whole world (travelling all over the globe to teach, lecture and perform within the Vision* I have of Egyptian Oriental & Folkloric Dances).
Being able to feel like a human being again and just walk in public without being sexually harassed at every 5 seconds was a HUGE relief. 
Having lived and built my career in Egypt, I have seen* a cycle closing (there was nothing more to achieve or learn in Egypt) and another one - BRIGHTER and even HIGHER - opening in front of my eyes.
3. 2013 was a year of permanent TRAVELING related to my work. I lost the count of countries where I taught my workshops, performed and presented conferences on the wide and fascinating realm of Egyptian Oriental and Folkloric Dances. I hope I have touched - and inspired - other dancers and audiences as much as they have touched and inspired me.
Ready, grateful and blessed for MORE* of this wonderful Dream come true***********************
3. 2013 was also a year of WRITING - BIG TIME. No one (including me) knows how much hard work, patience, persistence and skills are necessary to write a BOOK. After I´ve written (and edited which, in reality, means "rewriting") my first Book about my Journey in Egypt, another (unexpected) BOOK asked to be written ("The Secrets of Egypt - Dance, Life & Beyond"). As an obedient (?!) listener, I followed the call, wrote and edited this baby within a couple of months. To my own surprise (and to Life/God´s ironic delight) this one will be the FIRST book to be published. It´s already on the Publishing House´s hands and I can´t wait to see it out there.
4. 2013 was a year of close friends returning to my life, new amazing people crossing my paths and a renewed sense of PURPOSE, HOPE and ENTHUSIASM.
5. Despite all odds, competition and other "dark spots" on the map of the Oriental Dance Universe, I feel honoured - and lucky - to have worked with a LOT of amazing people, dancers, sponsors, teachers, students, etc; I also feel immensely grateful for the way my work is received EVERYWHERE I go (with no exception). After almost 8 years of living and performing with/for Egyptians and Arabs, I was not sure how my art would be received by audiences of other nationalities (for whom Oriental Dance is not a familiar language) but the answers could not have been better. You know what? What comes from the heart goes straight to the heart. Yes, ladies and gentlemen.
6. 2013 was a year of FABULOUS growth and freedom for me but 2014 will be even better (in every way). Just wait and see*********************
Wish you all the same blessings I dream for myself. May the seeds you plant grow into flowers and may those flowers be of the same scent as heaven.
Love for all of us* (see you in 2014)
Plenty of them!

London - death and rebirth of a Gipsy

Oh, man...where should I begin?
Such a long time since I´ve updated my blogs. The truth is I´m not good at doing things I don´t feel and it´s a fact that LIFE is taking over my time, energy and focus in a way that makes me less prone to updating these "babies". Yet I am here. Alive. Dead and reborn. In Love*. In-hope. In-me and in-the-world.
Let´s start by the beginning (and I promise to be brief, tasty and truthful):
I LOVE LONDON* in all its brutality and marvellous (endless...) treasures. It took me one month (and a week) there to realize how much fascination I feel for this city, how much it inspires me (there are places that awaken your inner ghosts, demons and angels and London is one of them) and to receive a couple of AMAZING lessons I was probably in need of.
Dating London was an impulse - one more that I followed without asking "why". For a girl who loves the "whys" and "why nots" this is BIG thing: not asking why. I just went. One month and a week of work, lessons, new experiences, people, landscapes, horizons and energies.
London gets under your skin - literally. The cold and the dampness starts by bothering you, even hurting you. Then your muscles talk to your bones and decide - democratically, of course - that they´re taking it all in and making it* their own. The vapours, shadows and blue lights of the London´s sky become part of who you are (I think my hair turned blue and some water from the Thames´river can be seen and heard inside my hips).
London was JUST what I needed - as everything else is JUST what we need if only we can recognize* it.
There´s no way I can gather the time, focus and energy to fairly describe everything* I experienced in this last month in London - other priorities rise above it. Yet here´s the resume of (yet) another FABULOUS time in my life, a time when I clearly saw I was dying and being born again (what a beautiful Journey*):

 1. Teaching (my weekly Master Classes) as well as private lessons was fantastic. I LOVE teaching in all sorts of circumstances (big groups, HUGE groups in major international festivals, small groups, private lessons, you name it); I think every single class has something to offer the students and myself and none is more important than the other. Teaching 600 dancers in a major event can be as rewarding as teaching only 1 dancer at a private lesson. It´s never the quantity that matters the most but the QUALITY of what it´s done.

2. The support (or lack of support, to be accurate) from the Oriental Dance community in London was not a surprise. People will be know the rest.
It´s great when you´re just an invited star teacher/performer who´s passing by to drop her/his pearls at the city and vanish for good but the story changes (drastically) once people feel their territory is threatened.

 The curious - and ironic - thing is that I am no threat at all. What I do has always been apart from the markets where I work (in Egypt as well as everywhere else I go).  My work is unique and totally out of the common "belly dance" classes and performances. I could never occupy anyone else´s territory simply because I am not interested in it at all. I´ve always created MY OWN TERRITORY (which others have followed, copied and used at their own pleasure) and have no interest (or time to focus) in what´s being done  outside of it plus I don´t follow trends - I create them.
No need to fear me at all. I promise.  ;)

3. I realized who are my friends and enemies - the distinction between the first and the second became absolutely clear. Thank you very much.

4. I fell in love with London, its darkness and rain, its Museums, bookshops, cafeterias, theatres, weather (yes, THE weather!), river Thames, melancholy, parks (Saint James Park near Buckingham Palace=love at first sight), hidden corners, stories and History.

Jude Law = TEMPTATION**********************

5. I´ve fallen in lust with the Musicals and with Jude Law (watching him play "Henry V" - by Shakespeare - at the Noel Coward theatre was the BEST artistic revelation I´ve experienced in a long, long time...what an ACTOR and what a MAN, gorgeous man).

6. I´ve taken note after note for a fiction book I plan on writing right after my two (already written) books are published and way out there in the world). London is pregnant with ideas, personal miracles and tragedies and incredible characters; no other city seems to gather such an array of precious & rough stones.

7. I´ve met - face to face - a burglar inside my flat, I´ve been at the house (museum) where Sigmund Freud lived and died and digged into a cycle of conferences relating Women and Madness. A little bit of trauma, a little bit of drama and generous amounts of MADNESS - that material from which CREATIVITY is made of.

8. I have to THANK all the dancers who´ve studied with me while I was in the city and to promise that bigger and higher experiences are on the way for them (for us).
Each one of the dancers whom I met were a combination of POTENTIAL, INTELLIGENCE, TALENT and HUMAN QUALITY. They know who they are (love you and thank you, lovely women!).

Painting exhibited at the National Gallery in London ("A satyr mourning over a nymph" by Piero di Cosimo)
9. I would also like to thank Leila Haddad for her amazing workshops (it has been a while since I had the pleasure to be a student, instead of a teacher)  and inspirations and for making me feel my craft as I should always feel it: as the eternal apprentice.
10. Thanks to the London National Gallery and the Tate Modern Museum for the guided tours and for Paul Klee´s exhibition (high quality food for my soul).

11. Thanks to all the new friends I made, strangers who have provoked me, taught me, shocked me and marvelled me. You ALL made my trip SPECIAL.

12. Thanks to my Advanced English course supervisor who expelled me from the school because (and I quote) " you don´t need to be here". To be honest: yes, I actually needed to be there but thanks for the compliment.

13. Thanks to the Dance shows I´ve seen - opening my mind and heart beyond their gates. The "gay parade" show at a fancy, posh, don´t touch me without your gloves theatre; the Saddler´s Wells gems; the Classical Ballet of the Royal Opera House. All of them teach me about ORIENTAL DANCE, myself and life.

14. Can you explain LOVE? You can´t. There you have it: me and London! Don´t ask, don´t explain. It was what it was; it is what it is. Explaining it would be minimizing it. Love is like Life: way bigger than any label or fancy description.

Bonus: a (catch it if you can) vídeo made at Saint James Park (which became one of my favourite places in London):

Tea for two and two for tea ;)
LOVE YOU, LONDON! See you soon*********************