Egyptian Dance Magical Gates (according to an alien called Joana Saahirah)*

Edouard Boubat - Rémi écoutant la mer, 1955It´s funny: the distance that separates the way others see you from the way you see yourself. I´ve been called all sorts of things – nice and no so nice – and they never fail to fascinate me. It´s glorious and often hilarious: from goddess to bitch; from saint to prostitute; from simple, sweet and humble to an arrogant mother f……r, you name it. People project a varied and often amusing array of (supra)human characteristics on you, independently of who you actually are.

On the other hand, who I really am often surprises the ones I allow in my inner circle (shortened and protected in these last years for security reasons). From all the wonder*ful things people project on me the one I prefer is Mysterious.

-You´re mysterious. – They tell me, eyes shinning with a hint of fascination.

-Really?! I never thought of myself like that. Well…when you think about it…errr…wait…maybe. No: nope: zero: I don´t see myself as mysterious but I know Mystery is everywhere – I see it, listen to it, feel it, smell it, talk to it – and I embrace it. Come on, it´s a fact! You don´t need to be “mysterious” in order to acknowledge every life´s event, ordinary and extraordinary (according how we decide to classify them) is filled with Mystery from beginning till end.

There you go: the old dialogue (at best) and the separate monologues (at worst): me and the Others: how I am, how they perceive me and how much I can do with it.

Mystery, you say? I say Life. Simply. What brings me to my Teaching method. I never realize how “weird” I can be until people have the guts to tell me so (thankful to those brave souls). Some things are so natural and obvious to me and yet so hermetic and apparently unreachable for others.

Here´s the part when the Others start looking at me strangely (as if I was an alien… which I probably am): I insist on certain Gates* and keep my  fingers crossed: maybe some of the things I teach stick to these dancers´heads, hearts and consciousness. Maybe. I can only do my job and allow people the freedom to understand and accept (or not) what I teach – that´s an essential part of the whole deal: recognizing, respecting and cherishing my students´minds and free will. I give it to you – take it or leave it: it´s YOUR choice.

There are 3 Gates in Egyptian Oriental Dance... – I start explaining, unaware of the “mysterious” side of the equation: – Ears, Heart and External movement. Notice external movement – which we usually classify as dance – is the last* gate, not the first. The Magic (oh, man…here we go…they´ll keep calling me  “mysterious” or “mystical” or whatever fairy name they can find) starts in the EARS: the ability to LISTEN to the music – there´s always music, even in silence – as well as to the Silence within. If I´m feeling wild and able to take yet another label on my shoulders, I go even deeper/further:

– There is an inner music – aside from the silence – and an external music the same way there´s internal and external movement. A dancer – any person who claims to be alive – should be able to LISTEN and surrender to these two dimensions: internal and external. For that she/he needs to trust the Mystery we are made of.

Of course this applies to Dance as well as Life. I´ve said it, taught it, written it a thousand times.

I´m done: fried with a side of bacon and potatoes. I know how strange many of the things I teach sound to most people but I can´t stop from teaching them: the truth I´ve found with my own steps on the Roads: my truth. Eventually, the world catches up and drops labels. Until then, I embrace the outsider´s role as much as I embrace my “alien teaching method”. Been in that tole for too long, so long that I would probably miss it if it wasn´t there. Who am I to understand it?! Mystery is everywhere – indeed.

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