Those moments before hitting the stage: ahhhh! No matter how many times I´ve done it, how big or challenging the stages I stepped on were, how many people I´ve had to “convince” (in Egypt and around the World), the terror and the passion persist.
There are many ways of performing: some approach it as a shelves where they show off their moves, beauty, make-up, fancy cloths, whatever. The audience seems to be there to admire, spoil, love and clap for them.
Others, like me, the nutcases who refuse short cuts and easy roads, approach it differently: the stage is the place where you expose your body, mind, heart and soul. No filters, no bad acting, no masks, no hidding behind movements, no truth refraining: we bear it all. In this case, audiences are not there to tell us how fantastic we are but to receive the LIFE we have to offer. Absolute vulnerability & generosity, hence the terror.
The show at Joy Festival, in Yorkshire, England, was not an exception. I spoke, here and there, with some dancers who were about to perform but the Grand Ball happens inside of me, unnoticed by the surroundings that always seem to think I´m untouched by nerves and insecurities. Me and Mohamed Kazafy, another invited artist, laughed backstage. I´ve known Mohamed from the time I studied and worked with Mahmoud Reda, the Father of Egyptian Folklore and my biggest supporter.He and Mahmoud have filmed one of my first performances, a “vintage” looking video shot at a theatre I rented in Cairo. Where Egyptian Folklore is concerned, me and Mohamed come from similar backgrounds, but we couldn´t be more different from each other. Despite those differences, we still connected, remembered sweet common grounds, mentioned Mahmoud Reda (of course we would) and stressed out, hand in hand.
I heard my music. No time to think or freak out. Just do it. Bye, Mohamed, see you on the other side of the river.
When you create without a safety net, you never know how things will turn out. They´re always REAL, that´s for sure. But the rest is pure enigma.You know what? It was one of my worst performances but miracles exist and people seemed to love it.
When I catch myself suffering, before going on stage, I remember the privilege of doing what I do, where I do. How much road already travelled; sacrifices endured; struggles, hard work and daily proofs of talent that never seem to be enough. How blessed I am! How grateful.
No, it doesn´t erase the primal fear of being thrown to the fire. But it makes it a little easier and more joyful. I´m here, alive, healthy, inspired and ready to shine. I´m on my way to Argentina where I´ll have a fully packed theatre waiting to see me dance and another fully packed room with students who have come from all over the country to learn with me. The pressure is on. So is the Light*