It´s tricky – very tricky. To pass on all the Magic I´ve learnt in 8 years of life and career in Egypt while the world is turning into a circus act. The confusion between creativity, innovation and messed up salads that taste like nothing in the end has never been more visible. Tribal, shnibal, modern, poorly copied Cirque du Soleil twisted and entangled concepts that hardly disguise the ignorance of the ones who try to “do their own thing”.
Picasso said it and I´ve often repeated it: you cannot break the rules without KNOWING THE RULES. First, know your ground, the language you´re about to mess with – then DO YOUR OWN THING. The problem resides in trying – just trying – to innovate with total disregard for the dance you´re playing with (a dance charged with History, Culture, knowledge and so many different sub-styles that it makes your head spin).
I´ve been traveling to teach and perform – non stop – for these last 3 years and I confess that during this time the thought of totally leaving Oriental Dance behind has crossed my mind. Way too many times. It´s only been 12 years since I started to work in this field (less than most of my students have been in it) but the battles I´ve fought seem endless and way older than me or my career.
Blame it on exhaustion: I am tired and that´s not surprising (if you know a bit of my life story, so far, you´ll wonder how I´m still alive and going stronger). Add the question: DO I WANT TO FIGHT THIS BATTLE? I´ve fought and won so many in Egypt that I truly believe I deserve a rest, although the world has no consideration for your (or my) resting needs.
In the end, everybody´s free and we have to accept it while doing what we consider to be THE RIGHT THING. I´m just not sure if the circus-acrobatic-competitive-soulless ground I´m finding these days inspires me a bit or…at all.
There´s much to be done: a trilogy to publish (first volume on the way to readers´hands) and a show that tells it like it is. After these two jewels* are out there in the world, I consider my job in this area is done. Or not. I don´t know (do I have to know?).
Meanwhile: expanding as an artist and teacher may include the ACCEPTANCE of other people´s minds, perspectives, ignorance (we all have our own – me included). Exercizing it as we speak – teaching it as we speak.
Oh, boy! Oriental Dance is so much more than just a dance. This one is here to stay*