“Education is safe – you learn what others have already created, mastered, tested and approved of. If you decide to stick with what you´ve learned, and never go beyond it, you´ll become a correct, universally applauded mediocre copy machine. There is comfort, and certainty, in this choice.
But is that what you want? Can´t you see you are, and can do, so much more than that?
Self-exploration is risky, uncertain, mysterious – you´ll embark on adventures you cannot fully control; you´ll face your demons, limits and potential; you´ll test your waters and see how far you, not your teacher or an institution, can go. You will give birth to yourself without knowing how the baby will look like. What if the child is born with deformities? Or – oh my God; I cannot believe it; oh, so damn – ugly? Or just mediocre – a plain kid with no sparkle in his eyes? A regular Joe, perhaps.
Remember births can be painful and/or orgasmic. And the product of our creativity – may that be a human child or a dance piece – can disappoint our expectations.
If given the choice, most of us will prefer to receive The Answer, or Magic Pill, from the hands of our teacher than to find it ourselves. I´ve had a few students who got mad at me because I told them they would have to use what I was teaching them and discover who they are in the process.
– Copying me won´t do the trick. You have to go into the desert by yourselves. – I told them.
They wanted to twist my neck. Who wouldn´t? A teacher who sends you off, alone though with tools in your travel bag, is not to be trusted. Is she/he?
Explore, go within, try new things; use knowledge to empower you, not to limit you.
A good, professional, teacher will know how to guide you towards self-exploration. But, then again, YOU have to want to go there.
Curiosity cannot be taught – you awaken it in you or you don´t.
The courage to see what´s out there, inside of you, cannot be taught.
The perseverance, the discipline, the guts to find your own voice cannot be taught.
The willingness to face your limits and, what´s even scarier, your infinite potential, cannot be taught.
You, my beloved, have to get on the camel, pack your essentials, and leave for your cross of the desert.
I´ll meet you on the other side or, who knows?, in an oasis, because I, too, have my desert(s) to cross. We all do.
You´re alone on the road and you´re definitely not alone.”
Excerpt from The Egyptian Dance Booklet by Joana Saahirah (soon to be published)
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“Going to school gives the illusion that knowledge is what makes an artist. It´s like knowing how to write English perfectly. It has very little relation to the art of writing.”
My Life and Times by Henry Miller