There´s never a good excuse to make less than our best. I understand conditions – circumstances – limit or expand our abilities and the level of work we can deliver but BEING and DOING our best is always on our hands. If you want to know if someone´s REALLY professional, check the excuses (lame, usually) they come up with to justify an half ass job. And I don´t appreciate half ass jobs. Half ass anything, actually. If you are ALIVE, be FULL ASS in whatever you put yourself into. Now: enough of ass talk.
I´ve just returned from Tales of Sahara Festival, in Brno, Czech Republic (sponsored by Tereza Klementová) and I´m happy. Happy for yet another opportunity to live one of my biggest dreams – to share all the knowledge I rescued in 8 years of life and career in Egypt with the whole world – and happy to learn. There´s always space for learning. Space for doing our best, no doubt, and space for learning.
As I judged – in the festival competition -, I observed how much potential and how much fear there were inside those dancers. Being a judge in competitions is always an opportunity to enjoy dance in a detached manner so I can see myself on those dancers and eventually find what they (I) need to improve, what works and what doesn´t. From every point I could observe, the obsession with PERFECTION was the one who stroke me as the most obvious and most limiting.
Here´s one of the reasons why I defend you cannot educate the dancer without educating the person in that dancer: monkeys in the head, vanity, self-hatred, ambition (the rotten kind) above love, that old devil called PERFECTION CHASE. Those – and other – demons can destroy a performance and stop a talented dancer from blooming and/or shining. Cleaning your internal house – the matter of which your dance is made of – is an essential task for dancers or dancers to be. For everyone, really.
Awakening creative people – dancers included – to be TOTALLY PRESENT and BE THEIR BEST, according to who they are and what they know NOW, without succumbing to the pressure of fitting a PERFECTION MOLD (and there is no universal perfection mode which makes the chase even more absurd) is ESSENTIAL. Teachers who fail to develop that strength in their students are missing 50% of the point, at least.
Talent excites me; dancing out of love too. Putting yourself down because you believe you have to be a cute, neat, well behaved clone of somebody else does NOT excite me. I know I´m mostly swimming against the tide but it´s the right thing to do so here I am singing, again!, to the Winds: BE YOURSELF. Embrace all that you are, even – or especially – the stuff you label as flaws. Human beings want to CONNECT with other human beings – that´s what brings direction and meaning to our lives. But you cannot connect with other people – in dance as in life – if you´re not willing to open your heart and share who you REALLY are. Yes, you´ll be putting yourself into a vulnerable position but, fresh news!, there´s no other way to make it work. Individuals cannot connect through closed, safe doors – only OPENNESS, which takes guts, will do the trick.
Having those guts doesn´t mean you think you´re the best and screw the rest; yes, I know it rhymes. It means you OWN your uniqueness. Like everybody else could – and probably should – do.
Egyptian Dance is about dancing your TRUTH and truth is above perfection, any idea of PERFECTION and, as I mentioned, there are many ideas of perfection;
Egyptian Dance is LIFE and LIFE is above perfection – it´s not only light or darkness. It´s both. It´s not only beauty but also ugliness eventually turned into Beauty.
Egyptian Dance is about COURAGE, the courage to communicate with your audience and share the life you carry inside.
Egyptian Dance is about bringing out the BEST version of you, not the cutest, the safest or the one you presume people are expecting to see. BE REAL! Some will like it; others will hate it or love it. It doesn´t matter. Do your thing, own your truth. Haters can leave the room – I bet you didn´t push them into a theatre to watch you dance.
Tales of Sahara Festival was amazing, a genuine effort to make something positive for Oriental Dance and for the Czech Republic community.
My workshops – Saiidi Madness & Introduction to the Secrets of Egyptian Dance -, my conference based on my book “The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond” (1st edition SOLD OUT; 2nd edition on the way) and my performances at the Gala Show reminded me why I fell in love with this dance in the first place.
Thankful to the sponsor, Tereza, and to everybody who took part in the event (students, audience, dance colleagues, strangers who supported it). The accomplishment of my dreams wouldn´t be possible without you.It takes a (global) village to build this Castle.