In Egyptian Dance, as in Life, the main question is who are you?
It´s easy to get distracted with the noise – movements, information, pretensions, models we presume we have to follow – but the Essence of The Thing remains in the question: WHO ARE YOU?
Egyptian Oriental Dance is compose of 50% person and 50% data. By data I mean dance vocabulary, knowledge, experience, body-mind-heart-soul work. The first 50% are forgotten by the majority, even professionals. Mostly professionals.
The pressure to be, look, do things in a certain mode is high. The value attributed to masks, diva attacks, copies, boot licking, nonsense is mind blowing. I know. I´ve been at the epicenter of this dance for a while – first in Egypt and, more recently, everywhere, working with the most demanding Oriental Dance communities in the world. I see how afraid most dancers are of being themselves, exploring their own inner world, going for the goodies. I´ve seen it!
I´m on the spotlight and live from my dance. If people don´t like what I do, I don´t work and therefore I cannot sustain myself. I know the meaning of pressure and how much courage it takes to create, and swimm in, your own current. The pressure is real. But not dancing – and living – from a place of personal truth is bullshit. I´d say death but I won´t (ok, too late; I´ve said it).
Who am I?
Which treasures do I carry inside me?
What do I have – of mine – to share with the World?
(Can I act like a bitchy diva and still be able to deliver a soulful=meaningful dance? The answer is no, you can´t, darling!)
Without asking – and answering – these questions we can´t get into the Channel of Egyptian Oriental Dance. I´d also add the channel of Life but, then again, I´d be misunderstood (there – I´ve done it again. Next!).
You cannot be a negative (ugly) person – filled with anger, envy, comparison neuroses, insecurities, self-hate and arrogance – and present a positive, beautiful dance. You can deliver clichés – the idea most people has of an Oriental Dance which is by the way nothing close to greatness – but you cannot accomplish the purpose of this dance: touching people´s souls through the exposure of your (pure) soul.
I´ve taught it, written it and danced it a million times – one more time won´t hurt:
There´s no growth in Oriental Dance without growth in the person who practices it; the quality of the person defines, at a great extent, the quality of the dance she/he brings out of her/him. In other words: show me how you dance and I´ll tell you who you are. Got it?