Thanks for the compliment but…


I´ve received the notice of this kind post on my email.
One of my performance videos was chosen to exemplify uniqueness or the “expression of the self”. All is well until here and I do appreciate the respect and support for my work. But there´s a “but”. Or some explanation to be added. 

A part of the comment on the video goes like this:”I won’t pretend to know what’s inside of today’s dancer’s head, but here’s what I see when I look at today’s video…someone letting herself push against the expectations of the style because it feels like dancing her own truth.”

More than pushing against “expectations, I push against the limitations that are inside the audience´s head as well as in the head of the dancers, amateur and professional, in this field. Why would someone set their standards as high as the audiences´expectations on this dance is something I cannot understand. Mainstream audiences don´t expect much more than a cute girl with a shining, revealing dress and some exotic, seductive movements – is that the standard you´re willing to accept for you and your dance?

Also: dancing “my own truth” is not an innovation or something that contradicts what Egyptian Dance actually is. I don´t have to give up on genuine Egyptian Dance in order to dance my own truth – I dig into genuine Egyptian Dance when, and only when, I dance my own truth. That, ladies and gentlemen, I learnt on the field, working with and for Egyptians for 8 years of a successful, fantastic career nobody, except me, knew was possible.

The problem is very few dancers understand the nature of this dance and even fewer have the guts to move from their soul – a pre-requisite of Egyptian Dance. So, when someone does it, it may look like an outsider or an innovator´s job. It isn´t. It´s older than the Pyramids!

What goes inside my head, as it´s mentioned in the website where my video was shared, is not a mystery but what should probably go inside every dancer´s head: connection, feeling, life, the freedom to reinvent technique and explore what my body and soul wish to create, being the bridge that unites us all through art and humanity. Also not new. I cannot take credit for inventing Egyptian identity.

Here´s the publication with another piece of text and the video:
56c13034-eba7-4ff9-b996-a9b57847d505.jpgBE ORIGINAL.. BE DARING… BE YOURSELF

How much of yourself are you willing to bring to the stage?

We all want to be original and have a unique dance style. However, if you brand yourself as a certain style of dancer your audience will have some expectations. I don’t mean just bellydance in general, but more specific sub-styles with a history like vintage, modern Egyptian or Turkish. You may feel you have some style constraints to represent it “authentically”. Now there’s a loaded word for you!

2 thoughts on “Thanks for the compliment but…

  1. Thanks for this post, Joana! I did see your performance video first in Bellydance Quickies, and I was glad Mahin shared your video, because it was very, very inspiring to watch. And I saw your blog entry today, and you are inspiring me again!! I love your fearless attitude.
    In the past, I was obsessed with “meeting expectations” of the audience.
    Now – I’m inspired to dance/be/share my own truth!


    • Dear Mao,
      Thanks for your feed-back and appreciation.

      Having in consideration how ignorant mainstream audiences are in relation to Egyptian Dance, I find it surprising when dancers, amateur and professional, speak about “meeting the audiences´expectations”. Most people don´t expect more than watching a cute girl with a a shining, revealing costume and some exotic movements. For me, it´s logical that´s not a standard to follow.

      The barometer shouldn´t be the people who know less about the dance but the ones who know more. In this case, the dancers in question.
      Plus: as I mention in this post, there´s no authentic Egyptian Dance without speaking/dancing your truth. Egyptians – my musicians and audiences in Egypt – taught me that. There´s an urgente awakening in this art form. The time is slowly but surely arriving.

      Hugs, love & courage,


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