A trapeze artist trying to balance herself on a line, under the spotlight of a flashy, neon polluted, crowded circus; a tired boxer fighting, taking and giving blow after blow without a moment to retreat, take a breath, clean the blood from his face and heal his wounds.
The crossing of this bridge is proving way more challenging and illuminating than I thought: Egypt was my world for 8 years in a row (living, performing, making a career and fighting against all kinds of tides) – I thought the world outside of that “La La Land” dimension was much easier, beautiful, a little bit healthier and prone to justice. It kind of is(n´t).
Sure: Egypt has a mentality, predominant religion, misery and legal system that is WAY worse than anything else I´ve found around the world. Still…people are people, no matter where they come from, their religion or even mentality. There´s something ABOVE all those contexts that pervails: a common ground for all Humanity, independently of geography or any other kind of frontier.
I wrote that I had to walk in the mud without touching it in my book “The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond“. Should I be surprised to see I´m still doing it?
Images of my regular Cairo stage return to my lap, as if they were roses falling on my hands to be acknowledged: as the creative head and star* of all my shows, I had to present myself on stage like a Goddess: light, inspired, outpouring love, excitemente, purity and faith; as the manager and only responsible for a team of 13 Egyptian men (with their own games, problems, mentality issues, pressures and flaws), I had to be Rambo in a skirt mixed with Sigmund Freud dealing with the most complicated minds on earth. I felt constantly divided, schizophrenic and not knowing where to turn or whom I was at the end of the day. Was I Joana The Artist, the one people loved and came back to see, or Joana The Tough Boss who kept the machine going without major disasters. Was I the angel they saw on stage or the so called bitch who had to guess other people´s games before they even started? Oh, man! That was tricky.
I´d been solving problems related with drugs, sexual harassment from rich guys or diva attacks from one of my musicians in the backstage room and, two minutes later, throw myself on stage like a shinning star with no hint of stress or worries over my head.
I´m not far away from Egypt now – never been and never will. It chases me wherever I go through my work, obviously, but also through the realities I find along the way. Dancing (living) between Darkness and Light seems to be the destiny of anyone who dares to shine, no matter where he/she is.
Mud is everywhere – you can run but you can´t hide. Now, that´s a genius (?) conclusion, isn´t it? 😉
The Question remains: how to keep myself OPEN, POSITIVE, VULNERABLE, SENSITIVE and INTERESTED in the world (condition sine qua non for every creative person who lives off his/her creativity) without being screwed, for the lack of a better word, ALL THE TIME? How do I balance the bitchy, business, tough, mother f…..r side you NEED in order not to be eaten away and stepped on like a cheap matress with the OPEN, LIGHT heart I need to keep practicing my Art?
Finding that balance may well be the next step on my personal ladder (will I be able to pull it out?).