Saturday, April 19, 2014

Honoured to teach & perform in Greece (LdB Festival in Thessaloniki)

One more reason to be joyful, excited, grateful. It´s a luxury to have a profession that allows me to explore THE BEST I am and know and share it with the whole world.
Greece is also on my world agenda* and I just know we´re gonna have a FABULOUS time.
Workshops, shows (with live orchestra: YES!) and more - all covered in sugar with a fantastic team of Artists and Teachers.
World, here I come!*********************

Flying around the world with this Love & Vision* of a Sacred Dance that is - now! - more needed than ever.
Passion, mission, dream come true and Destiny.

Joana Saahirah of Cairo choreography "majance" piece

Dedicated to all my studens around the world.

A little bit of a choreography ("majancé" - entrance on stage music) I created for teaching purposes.


Friday, April 18, 2014

A re-post and a see you soon to all my blog readers*

Here´s a repost - answering the request of "many families". A tiny bit of my "regular" life in Cairo, Egypt.
Leaving you all for a while: 15 days´work trip to Russia arriving now, a new book to finish (final editing aka DA BITCH!LOL) and a serious VACATION to plan and actually take.

My words and movements are travelling the globe*
A see you soon to all my dear readers.

Water your own garden; believe in yourself and go ahead (act upon) with everything that makes your soul ALIVE.

On the Road again: Russia, here I come!*********************

How I´m feeling*
Between dancing, teaching, choreographing, writing, promoting, travelling the world to share the genuine Egyptian Dance and plotting other wonderful adventures, I take a deep breath and know - just know - that Life can be really wonderful.

Promoting my book "The Secrets of Egypt - Dance, Life & Beyond" and getting the other* one ready for publishing.
This girl is taking care of business - BIG TIME.
Astrakan, Russia - "Spring of Oriental" Festival.
Honoured to teach, perform and judge in this beautiful city/event.

The biggest event in Russia - where I´m sure I´ll find some of the highest level of talent and professionalism. Teaching, performing and judging in Moscow! Another honour, another opportunity to share my Vision* of Oriental Dance with the world*********************

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Heading to Russia (and other dreams come true)

Apologies - again and again - to all my blogs´ readers for my absence and lack of words. My time is applied on MANY big challenges right now and my most valuable words are resting on the pages of published book as well as on my next book (to publish soon).
The word I´m searching for: PRIORITIES.
Telegram (until we "meet" again):
Heading to Russia for 15 days of teaching, performing, lecturing and judging (Astrakan and Moscow). Preparing the most exciting material to share with some of the best dancers in the world.
Learning, jumping off new cliffs and NEVER limiting myself. FREEDOM, CREATIVITY and PASSION are my middle names.
Promoting "The Secrets of Egypt" book; on the finish line of my other* book; travelling, singing, reaching higher and DREAMING beyond everything that seems possible to the common un-believer.
Don´t Forget it: Life is what you make of it.

Discovering my own Voice - literally speaking. Knowing that I had secret treasures no one had ever explored (yet) - not even me. Jumping & flying. Life is NOW.

Updates on "The Secrets of Egypt - Dance, Life & Beyond" via:

Working and living from my heart - no other way to do IT*

Hey, Jude...(imagine the rest)

"The Secrets of Egypt" BOOK ad in Shelf Unbound magazine

The baby keeps growing, expanding towards the sky and many readers´hearts that have already been touched and awakened.
In the midst of a REALLY busy time (literally no time to breathe), I find the space to give THANKS and keep CREATING from the depth of my soul, inspired and supported by all of you.
The book launching in Portugal, United States and England is lining up pretty good aside from my Work Travels, NEW (still secret) projects and NEW BOOK to be published this year.
They told me I couldn´t do it; let them watch and learn.:)

Blessed, excited and grateful*********************

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The way they look at me*

I am a NOW lover - always. No matter how great past experiences have been, I am permanently sure the best is HERE, NOW and not in the past. I am also aware that every chapter of our lives has a certain time to happen and it´s essential to close the old doors in order to open new ones (always more expansive and joyful than the last).
From 7 years of life and career in Egypt, there´s only three elements I absolutely miss:
1. My dear teacher and friend Mahmoud Reda (for too many reasons);
2. Egyptian audiences - the ones who built my name, hand in hand with me and God, when no one in the "dance" business believed I would EVER make it without turning into the classical high level prostitute (oh, don´t want to start speaking about it now...);
3. My musicians and THE WAY THEY ALWAYS LOOKED AT ME. When I entered a room or the stage, their eyes literally lightened up and showered me with a kind of love, veneration and protection I´ve never experienced in my life. I had my own high chair (like a throne) in our rehearsal room and all of them rose up from their sits when I arrived. They listened to my (often crazy) comments and corrections with absolute respect and felt so inspired by me as I felt by them.
Then again: the way they LOOKED AT ME. I will never forget it.
In these photos (taken last year in Ukraine), you can see some of the musicians who worked with me in Egypt and a glimpse of the look I am talking about.
Priceless. Impossible not to be missed.
Love my men. Eternally.



Catch me, if you can*

Always growing - personally and professionally/artistically. The way I create - dance, teach, choreogragh, write, sing - keeps expanding as I love, live and learn.
"Catch me, if you can" totally applies over here. No shadow, shelf, copy or ...
criticism can catch the tail of my breathe. Once you presume you have figured me out, I´m already way ahead doing something else, something higher, something fresher in the direction of the BEST VERSION of MYSELF.
I do. Do you?

Russia, here I come (Astrakan & Moscow on the way now)

Back to Russia (April, May) with Astrakan and Moscow on my agenda.
Two MAJOR FESTIVALS in Russia (where I know I will find the highest level of Oriental Dance - despite all the criticism and specific flaws we ALL have) where I will teach, perform and judge. Private lessons already booked on the side (the best dancers are always the ones who wish to learn more - that´s the natural cycle) and meetings with people I love.
Preparing the GOODIES (new choreographies and performances to present on both festivals - my dance studio will see a LOT of me these next week) and striving to always do better and better. No work of ART can be accomplished without this Passion.
Yallah: shinning!

Ordinary (magical moments) or my definition of Joy*

Every person has her/his own definition of Joy, Success and Quality so what I´m about the tell you next is a personal approach to life (and the things I VALUE).
Some amazing things have happened to me in these 12 years of career in the Oriental Dance world; from Portugal to Egypt and from Egypt to the World! What a ride and what an array of characters, events, surprises I´ve been living.
God is in the details (and so is the devil) and I take pleasure on watching, understanding, listening and knowing way more than others give me credit for. Being taken by a dumb blond as served me well more than a thousand times - it even saved my life, literally.
Since 2014 started, I haven´t stopped travelling to teach and perform and that´s fabulous - just the natural growth of my career and an expanding tendency that makes all sense to me. In the midst of these last travels (Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Israel, Portugal, France, back to Russia...), there were a few moments that, for some reason, stuck to my soul´s memories. Here they are (shortly):
1. A beautiful lady in Ukraine hugged me after my performances at the show and whispered in my ears: "I hope the huge angel wings you have stuck to your back will keep taking you wherever you dream of".
No comments required.
2. A little girl - also in Ukraine - danced by my side the entire time I taught an advanced level choreography. It didn´t matter how much of it she could actually do (she must have been around 3 years old!) but her willingness to try and do it, despite all difficulties, reminded me of the STAMINA, HUMBLENESS and PERSEVERANCE we have to nourish on a daily basis in order to get anything GREAT done.
3. A lady in Russia who travelled 24 hours in a train to study with me; she offered me a ring (for luck and protection, she said) that I´ve been wearing ever since.
4. I arrived to Eilat (Israel) falling asleep as I walked - that´s how exhausted I was. I had arrived (after a long and heavy trip and endless security scrutiny) and started to teach that same afternoon so I died in my sleep that night.
I programmed my alarm to wake me up for my morning workshop as well as asking the hotel´s reception to also wake me up at the same time (double alarm). I didn´t listen my alarm and the hotel reception didn´t ring me at all so I woke up by myself way after the proper time and waited until the alarms rang.
 Orit - the organizer of EILAT FESTIVAL - called me to ask me: "where the hell are you?!" to which I answered, as cool as an ice cube: "in my room, relaxing...".  
Relaxing?! My workshop had started more than 30 minutes ago and I was in my room "relaxing" and waiting for the alarms to ring. Poor Orit, I thought to myself as I jumped out of bed and put the first cloth I found on.
When I arrived to the ballroom (full of people!), Orit was on the stage offering a warm up to the students, starting my class as a real (and rare) PROfessional would do. She didn´t lose time speaking or complaining (as she had the right to do) - she just went on and did what needed to be done in a beautiful, constructive way. How mortified I was and how I respected her!
5. In Spain (Malaga), a beautiful teacher who was also in the festival´s program explained to the students: you should make love with the music. She then stressed this point: Not fucking the music - making love with the music. There´s a difference, you see?!
In spanish, the original language used for this hilarious and spot on message:
"hay que hacer el amor con la musica pero no follarse la - es que son dos cosas distintas."
6. We were in Slovenia, Maribor, and there was an unexpected snow storm hitting town. Everybody was advised to remain safely at home in the same night we have our show. The organizer of the event could have cancelled the show - I put her at ease to do so as I understand no great show can be presented without an audience - but she didn´t. She accepted we would not have a fully packed theatre - maybe no one would come as rádio and television were advising people to stay in - and decided to do it anyway.
Hats off to courage and determination - I said (p.s.: the theatre was not fully packed but many people actually came, despite the snow storm, and we had a FABULOUS time).
7. The many, MANY times dancers, students, audience members came to personally greet me and tell me - often in my ears - what my dance means to them. These are not public appreciation notes - they´re personal and intimate. Yet they mean the WORLD to me*********************
Thank you, God*, for these and other blessings (I am counting them).

Finding my own VOICE*- literally

We´re so many people in one - so many. Not limiting myself makes a LOT of people mad (go figure!) but - you know what?! - I am learning not to give a damn about what other people´s ghosts think or say.
Oh (!)the FREEDOM that comes with minding my own business without worrying the least about other people´s opinions. Try it and you´ll see.
Right now: FINDING MY OWN VOICE (for the first time in life) and worlds within me that I never thought existed.
Proud, excited & scared - meaning that I am ALIVE (and that´s the coolest thing). 

Someone once called me a "belly dancer". No offense taken in these words (just a little pity for small minds and mainstream gnorance): BELLY (such a wonderful thing to have in our bodies) and DANCER (that I am). Yet...
Let me tell you one thing: there´s more LIFE than the surface you insist on laying upon me. As I´ve said millions of time: I will never fit your shelf; I will never gladly sit inside the prison you wish to see me in.

Just wait and see* - they never saw it coming!

It´s DA B....!

Life´s full of roses, isn´t it?
Hmmm, not always.
The problem is that no matter how great your intentions and actions may be you´ll always find hard times ahead and people who disappoint you (as we´ve disappointed others, knowingly or not); no matter how amazing our challenges and victories are, no one - except the person who actually DOES the WORK - knows how hard and testing they can be.
I´m editing my "other" (bombastic) book right now and let me tell you this (diplomatic words aside): EDITING your own book (800 pages, no less!) is DA BITCH. There aren´t other words to describe the experience - there REALLY aren´t. Shakespeare and Fernando Pessoa would not have found better words for this particular experience: DA BITCH (not even "the" bitch...NO!).
After writing, editing (all by myself) and publishing my first Book "The Secrets of Egypt - Dance, Life & Beyond" it´s known that I am working (second and final editing) of a book I wrote around two years ago - the same book that took me to Egypt in the first place.
I wrote it, edited it and left it resting* for a while - thanks God! Life can also be a b... (see, now I´m being a polite sweet heart) but WISDOM  is revealed in its timing and unexpected events. I HAD to let this other* book rest for a while in order to have the clear mind to REALLY look at it and see what´s worth keeping and what´s not.
I think it was Hemmingway who said: "write drunk and edit sober" (something like this). So spot on: I indeed wrote it drunk (with love, passion, anger, rebellion, etc) and had to wait for more than one year until I was sober enough to SEE it clearly. What a drunk! It took me one year to get clean from the Neptunian fog of Egypt, to calm down after all the trials, tragedies and victories I went through and be LUCID enough to see things/event/people for what/whom they really are.
While "The Secrets of Egypt" is still hot (out of the stove), I´m working on this baby and it´s killing me. Killing me, ladies & gentlemen.
The usual challenge of juggling my Dance career, constant travelling (plus new challenges I put myself into right now) and personal life with the WRITING work is still an issue. I´m a Dancer (or part of me is), for God´s sake - it´s not natural or easy to sit for hours, day after day, staring at thousands of words that stand as motionless and silent as I do. I´m used to movement and music and this incredible (some times violent) introspection that the writing job demands can literally drive me nuts. I love it and I am terrified of it.
Insecurities also join the party, of course. It doesn´t matter that I know I can do it greatly - it doesn´t matter. It doesn´t matter that experience tells me I´m perfectly capable of climbing one more mountain top - it doesn´t matter. The damned insecurities (that can also be the friend who push you to do better and better) always find a way to sneak in and trouble my peace of mind.
Plus: you learn by DOING. After writing and editing my first book (in a language that is not my own), I surely gained a little experience on the craft and now the standard is way higher than before: I see mistakes, repetitions and empty text all over the place (mad,mad,mad); I feel the rhythm of the words and the need to create a story that catches me (also a reader) by the balls (or uterus) at every single phrase. In other words: the jig is up, so up that I´m ripping my hair off.
Yelling to the wind: EDITING is DA BITCH and that´s all there is, folks!
(release it, baby, let it out and...DO IT).
P.S. Life´s sweet, isn´t it? Isn´t it?
Repeat after me...

Monday, April 7, 2014

"The Secrets of Egypt-Dance,Life & Beyond" ad on "Shelf Unbound" magazine*

The Secrets of Egypt - Dance, Life and Beyond by Joana Saahirah´s ad is on this issue of the fabulous "Shelf Unbound" magazine.
Proud mummy I am*:)
To access the whole magazine and check the beautiful ad, go to:
My first baby is growing (so happy...)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Life is what we make of it (my inspirations of the moment)

How could I NOT* include "my man" in this List? The things that most inspire me now:
1. Spring - bringing the sun, the flowers and the colours of life present everywhere I look;
2. Love - the feeling, the idea, the dream of it*. The day I stop believing and living for it* is the day I, literally, die.
3. Great books I still manage to read between the 1000 things I am permanently doing.
4. New passions that arise from the depths of who I am.
5. Movies - my secret addiction.
6. Singing - the old passion is back (to stay).
7. Choreographing, performing & teaching.
8. Writing - another old passion that is on fire. Working on the final editing of my second book is a MAJOR responsability full of learning curves, challenges, smashed fears and excitement.
9. Promoting my first published book: "The Secrets of Egypt - Dance, Life & Beyond".
10. The Women in my Life: students, friends, fellow dancers and even strangers who never stop to inspire me, astonish me, support me and offering me extra reasons to see them as Queens.
11. Hope - yes, HOPE itself is what inspires me the most.
P.S. Jude Law - a MUST on all my GREAT things´s list. No shame on hormonal passions and teenager dreams* (celebrating it to the fullest).

Corny & cheesy but soooo cool to dance (my new warm up song)

Yeah, I know: not Prokofiev, not Om Kolthoum, not Billie Holiday, not Maria Callas ( never know...) but sooooo cool to use as a warm up (for myself and for classes,seminars,workshops).

Grooving & loving to this tune*

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Joana Saahirah of Cairo performing in Spain San Sebastian

We actually need super human eyes to see what I´m doing over here but it´s worth for the sweet memories it brings*

San Sebastian, Spain (end of 2013).


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Food for the soul*

If I had to choose only one scene (of all movie´s history) which exemplifies what the ART of Acting is all about, this would be it.
Anthony Hopkins was already my favourite actor; now that I know he used to be a musician and now that I heard this gorgeous waltz he composed, my admiration and respect have grown greatly. There are people in this world and then there are freaks of nature - like this Sir* - who make me believe, over and over again, that GOD EXISTS.

Check this other* vídeo and LIVE*: