Who doesn´t like a good shortcut? Whom of us has the courage, patience and maturity to dive inside ourselves and search for the answers most insist on searching in others? Turning outside seems to be easier than turning inside, I do know that!
There´s a reason why religions drag millions behind them, more often than not to hell on earth; there´s also a reason why gurus – or pseudo-gurus – thrive in societies where people are disconnected from The Source of Life which has always been there, inside of themselves.
I´m an odd teacher. I work to release my students from my grip; I work to make them independent so they don´t need me (or the mirror). Turning them into clones of Joana Saahirah is an idea that terrifies me; it´s not just an incompetence question, it´s a terror question. A mediocre teacher turns you into his/her copy; a Master Teacher guides you towards yourself.
I work towards a community of individuals who listen, feel, think and act according to their own soul, not mine. I´m not them; they´re not me. I wonder why this is so hard to grasp.
There´s so much I can teach – dance technique, choreographies, cultural information, music, history and so forth – but there´s a big part of dance which cannot be delivered by a teacher. Not me, not any other teacher.
I can inspire students, arise the awareness they possess certain jewels inside them, create exercises that start the digging process, alert, provoke, AWAKEN. I can. But I cannot walk the internal – lonely – road for them. I cannot go inside them, as on a train journey to a far away country, and discover what´s there, those unique gifts only they carry and can offer to the dance.
Does someone have the ticket for another person´s body, heart, mind or soul? If not, I´ll have to repeat myself: there´s a big part of dance – Egyptian Oriental Dance, in this case – which doesn´t come from exterior sources. It cannot be taught. The maximum a Teacher can do is to awaken and guide the student towards him/herself and offer him/her the trust to know he/she´s not alone in that journey. We all need to make our solo homework – in dance as in life.
Let me remind you of the obvious: I am not you. You are not me. And Egyptian Oriental Dance is made from the identity of each dancer who practices it. No matter how much knowledge and awareness I can plant in your soil, the fruits are yours and only yours to find, water and share.
You will never listen like me; I will never listen like you. Although we both may listen to the same song, that song touches us in different ways, it impregnates us with life in a tone that resembles our internal world. All of us can get drunk with music – the beginning of Tarab – but each one will do so in her own original way. That is if we allow it – life – to happen.
You will never feel, react, act, think, dream, remember and heal like me – you are not me. What unites us? Our diversity, the uniqueness of each human being. Teachers who know their craft also know each dancer is a world in itself and it´s a shame not to allow it to flourish.
Here´s a few things, essential to the Art of Oriental Dance, a teacher can help you develop but cannot hand you on a platter:
- The ability to put yourself into the Love vibe, the only channel that works for Egyptian Dance.
- Courage to discover who you are and bring it out in your dance.
- Sensibility – your own. Each person has it: different tones, colours and purposes for each individual.
- The way YOU listen to the music and decide to use it.
- How to search for the movement, the feeling and the meaning of dance inside of you.
- Maturity. Not comparing yourself to others; appreciating other students/searchers as you appreciate yourself.
- Passion for life – that sparkle in your eyes that comes from a healthy relationship with life.
- Sense of humor; not taking yourself – or others – too seriously.
- Listening. Deeply, bravely, lovingly.
- Having the strength to be YOURSELF, disregarding of other people´s opinions.
- Curiosity about yourself, the world around and inside you.
- Purpose. Why do you dance?
- Your taste; the spices (sensations, feelings, memories, thoughts, life experiences) only YOU can put in your movements.
- Your finger print. Each dancer has hers/his. Only YOU can discover it and share it. If you have the guts for it. And I believe you do.