Talking about Modern Egyptian Dance, looking like John Bon Jovi ;)

Dismiss the John Bon Jovi look (not my usual look), the exaggerated hand gestures (my usual body language), the wide-open-fish eye expressions (my style) – focus on the message.

Enjoy “Modern Egyptian Dance with Soul”,

a bonus video offered by Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School.

*Here´s what you´ll find in this video:

1. What is Modern Egyptian Dance?

2. Who´s the Mother of Modern Egyptian Dance & why?

3. What has improved & what has been lost in Modern Egyptian Dance?

4. What is the CORE of Egyptian Dance & how we can keep developing the Dance without losing that core?

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Bonus video offered with:

Dancing to Mohamed Abdel Wahab New Online Course

*Follow the link for more information: https://joanasaahirahworld.com/2018/11/12/new-online-course-dancing-to-mohamed-abdel-wahab-modern-egyptian-dance-with-soul/

On the Gifts of Imperfection

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On the Gifts of Imperfection
As an Egyptian Dance teacher, who knows teaching dance is also teaching selfawareness and love, I’ve witnessed signs of evolution, setbacks, moments of despair, hopelessness, boredom, strength and weakness, fear and courage, one step ahead and three steps back; trying, giving up, trying again; winning and losing and everything in between.
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In Dance, as in Life, growth doesn’t happen in a straight line – it’s made of ups and downs, falling and rising, making mistakes and miracles; meetings, face to face, with our own darkness and with our own light.
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Although we’re taught to celebrate the (false) idea of perfection – which really, and I mean really*, doesn’t exist -, the truth is we’re works in progress – always undone, thriving for a better version of ourselves, always building new houses upon an ancient house (our soul) which has long forgotten universal truths.
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When we think we understood the rules of this Dance, Life takes the carpet off our feet and BAM 💣💥💢, we’re thrown into the beginner’s classroom, once more.
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I say “Celebrate imperfection! Celebrate not knowing, the failure, the darkest meetings with ourselves and with others – there’s always a possibility of a flight after a fall.” Being human is, after all, the adventure of walking in unknown roads where we will, make no mistake, fall and bleed, hit rocks, rise and shine.
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As long as we keep living, and learning from our mishaps, we’re perfect. We may move slowly as long as we keep moving forward.
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On Sensuality (being Alive)

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A brand NEW Online CourseSensuality in Baladi (out of the box, crazy and fabulous, as usual) – is coming to Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School and with it come a set of subjects I hold dear to my heart.

Sensuality, as freedom, love, creativity, courage, inner strength, passion, and integrity are some of the subjects at the core of my work.

The first, a highly polemic and misunderstood topic, return to our school with a bang.

What is Sensuality and why is it so important in Egyptian Dance and, let´s not forget, in life?

For me, Sensuality is about BEING ALIVE and in APPRECIATION of every gift life´s offering us.

For me, Sensuality is about BEING ALIVE and in APPRECIATION of every gift life´s offering us.

Sensuality is about putting our phones, computers, and other machines aside and actually take a sip of this blessing which is being here, alive and thriving.

Most of us ignore the pleasures our bodies, and lives, provide – the feeling of drinking fresh water on a Summer day, resting after a long journey, waking up with air in our functioning lungs, touching a loved one or/and being touched, a sunset, the sun falling upon our skin, and so forth.

We ignore Nature, ourselves, other people; the simple (big) things in life.

Most of us live inside gadgets, not inside ourselves, present in our lives.

Being ALIVE means BEING in LIFE – your life. Body, mind, heart, and soul. That presence, more than anything else, is the definition of Sensuality.

Ask yourself:

HOW PRESENT AM I IN MY LIFE? Am I letting life slip away?

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❤ Follow the link for more information on our NEW Online Course

“Sensuality in Baladi – Posture, Technique, & Choreography”:

https://joanasaahirahworld.com/2018/07/21/17443/

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The loss of Soul in Egyptian Dance by Joana Saahirah

Here´s a video related with the recent article I´ve written recently wrote in my blog: The Invisible Dance – what makes Egyptian Dance a truly MAGICAL art form.

The loss of Soul in Egyptian Dance, a tabu subject, which is also (not surprisingly) the loss of soul in our lives.

Feel welcome to WATCH, SHARE, & LEAVE your COMMENT.

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“I can get no satisfaction!”

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“In 1943, De Mille was hired to choreograph the musical Oklahoma!, which became an overnight sensation and ran for a record-setting 2,212 performances. Feeling that critics and the public had long ignored work into which she had poured her heart and soul, De Mille found herself dispirited by the sense that something she considered “only fairly good” was suddenly hailed as a “flamboyant success.” Shortly after the premiere, she met Graham “in a Schrafft’s restaurant over a soda” for a conversation that put into perspective her gnawing grievance and offered what De Mille considered the greatest thing ever said to her. She recounts the exchange:

I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be.

Martha said to me, very quietly: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. As for you, Agnes, you have so far used about one-third of your talent.”

“But,” I said, “when I see my work I take for granted what other people value in it. I see only its ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied.”

“No artist is pleased.”

“But then there is no satisfaction?”

“No satisfaction whatever at any time,” she cried out passionately. “There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

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Cohabiting with dissatisfaction is an integral part of the creative life.

No area of artistic expression escapes the grip of the Eternal Search, a state of happy unrest that keep us humble, with both feet on the ground, and eager for more. More discovery, more awakenings, more growth.

We are never done with our creative work and, as far as I can see, that is a good thing. Not quite reaching what we feel we can reach is precisely what keeps us interested, learning, thriving, walking towards our dreams.

Having ideas is easy – it´s the materialization of those ideas that separates the mosquitos from the eagles (NOT a fancy comparison, I know, but you get my point).

We can only do our best, right now, with talent and flaws, light and dark spots; keeping, as Martha Graham says, “the channel open.”

Being dissatisfied with the results of our creative work does not, should not, mean we dislike what we do. It means we´re aware there is road ahead.

I often ask my students to film themselves while dancing. It may not be a good idea to become a slave to the mirror or  the video camera but it is a good idea to combine inner exploration, with no need for external/visual proof, with an external, perhaps colder, perspective of our work. Learning how to watch yourself dancing is important – evaluating the points where you´ve grown – victories conquered – and the points you need to improve – victories in the making.

Enjoy the journey, deliver your best work possible, using the tools, experience and awareness you possess now, and let dissatisfaction pull you forward.

We do not dance, or live, to be perfect. We dance, and life, to be whole.”

Excerpt from Egyptian Dance Booklet by Joana Saahirah, soon to be published.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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The world owes you nothing

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Working on one of my books. One word on a never ending loop: coffee – coffee – coffee.

Here´s something the Crazy Brigade – artists, writers, freelancers, dreamers who turn ideas into deeds – is fully aware of: nothing is guaranteed; nobody will pat you on the back – not forever, anyway -; circumstances change – today you´re the king and tomorrow you´re the beggar; there´s no 1+1=2 in life. Infallible equations, logic, and predictable outcomes work in math, not in life.

Instead of getting furious at life – you know what happens when you throw rocks at a wall, don´t you? – , claiming the world is evil and it doesn´t SEE YOU, I propose you roll with it while changing it, lovingly, with your actions.

Dance The Dance using your own steps.

Roll with the punches using your own fists.

Be, and do, your best with less expectations. Use your resources. Give it all you´ve got for the fun of it. Be on fire. BE FIRE. If a rock is everything you have at your disposal, turn it into a diamond. Alchemists have been doing it for centuries.

Show up for what you wish, do your part, be present. But never, ever, presume something is owed to you.

Repeat after me: Life owes me nothing. When you say it out loud, there´s a weight immediately off your shoulders:

-Ah… – A sigh of relief rises from your gut.

Dealing with rejection, falls & failures, frustration and injustice – or what we consider an injustice – is an integral part of this human experience. And being human is hard – the toughest job I can think of.

When you accept the premise – Life owes me nothing -, everything you get is a gift, a bonus, a blessing you didn´t see coming, a reason to smile. Pleasant, or unpleasant, results are overrated – just two sides of the same coin, the condition for being an active player in this game without rules.

See it as an Adventure – you fall so you can rise higher; something is taken away from you so you can earn something better; you are rejected so a more interesting thing, or person, can come into your life.

From the moment you assume life owes you nothing, you´re a chronic winner instead of a chronic blaming finger. Nothing will have the power to pull you off your center. 

Stop asking: what does the world owe me?

The real question is WHAT DO YOU OWE THE WORLD?”

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Excerpt from one of the books I´m currently working on.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Make friends with The Father

10394782_1000936299919139_8857878506426207838_n.jpgInspiration strikes when we least expect it – we just have to pay attention and catch the falling star before it fades away.

Yesterday, Saturn dropped by while I was having coffee with a friend. We didn´t set out to speak about him but he´s not the kind of guy who waits for an invitation – he shows up when he has to. 

412ee3099bec368ddf2d58b3fc601f97--funny-valentine-vintage-valentines.jpgHe´s the policeman, or party pooper, who erupts in the middle of a gathering to warn the light minded folks they must turn the music volume down, stop drinking and go to bed:

-You got work to do tomorrow, you morons!

Party guests look at the floor. The clink of the cups, overflowing with champagne, stops. Someone mumbles “damn” – weak, resigned, with bad breath.

This is how he shows up: unannounced, unwelcome, necessary.

He´s the Father, the Master Teacher, the echo that comes back to haunt us, the invisible boomerang we rarely want to acknowledge. He´s Cronos – the Lord of Time -, Karma, Limits, Responsibility and Wisdom earned from personal experience. The fun stuff.

He´s the voice that warns you against the possibility of failure – he´s also the voice that tells you “if you put your mind to it, and work with all your might, you´ll get there.”

He´s our fears – he´s also the loving parent who doesn´t want his kids to get messed up by falling into life´s crooked corners. 

If you cannot beat them, join themBad losers, like me, choose their opponents wisely. And Saturn is not an opponent I can bring down. So I befriend him:

I listen to his warnings – I consider them and create safety nets that will allow me to succeed, or fall, with damage I can recover from. I act against him, while carrying him on my back; I question him, have intimate chats with him, invoke his help – often disguised as opposition. I allow his ambition to drag me up the mountain.

Muscles don´t get strong without struggle. You gotta push, push, push – childbirth, remember? – and sacrifice for what you want to bring to life.

He knows I´m a hard worker, a warrior, someone who has never had a single penny handed to her. I mean business and he delivers the candy as a reward.

We meet on the ring – he punches me and I punch him harder. It´s a  beautiful thing to watch: a love-hate relationship. We cannot live with each other; we cannot live without each other.

-You cannot do it. – He teases me. – I´ll break your bones.

You, bitch! I can do it. I´ve done it before. 

-Nope. Not this time. You cannot do it, I´m telling ya´.

-You´ll see.

– Get real. Who the fE”R#$%R& do you think you are?

-You´re so common. Drop the clichés, asshole.

As my friend Susana put it, my Saturn is a pissed off, badass, black woman from the Bronx. 

He, or she, is the frenemy – the jerk who pulls your wrong strings so badly – you´re a loser; you´re not talented, good, worthy enough – you have no other choice but to prove him wrong.

When the Perfectionist Whisper  – one of Saturn´s many masks – comes by, I kick it to the curb by doing the opposite he tells me I´m going to do.

Example: I was terrified by the idea of writing a text about Saturn. And here I am, doing it. Perhaps shitty, perhaps not. Who has the authority to tell? 

The fact is I sat down and made it. I´m ahead of everyone who didn´t do it. Critics will criticize – doers will, eventually, write shitty texts. So, what?

I turned an idea into a deed, despite the limits, real or imaginary, that bind me:  self-confidence, time, talent and knowledge. Victory is here, in the done deed, as far as I´m concerned.

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We tend to wait until doubt, and fear, disappear so we can move ahead. What if they never go away? Will you keep waiting?

Joining forces with your doubts and moving forward, with your fear checked in your luggage, is probably a better strategy.

Results are overrated while doing is shamefully underrated. Maybe because it´s not a glamorous thing to watch. And I agree: it´s not.

Who wants to see a dishevelled writer struggling with a phrase – doing, and redoing, it – like a maniac, at 4 o´clock in the morning, in his pajamas?

We want the lotus flower but few of us are willing to dip our hands in the mud.

Hint: no mud, no lotus.

See it as a collaboration with our shadow. 

When I show up, for whatever I set myself to do, and face the storms with arms wide open, perseverance and an almost absurd stubbornness (I ain´t quitting, bitch!), Saturn compensates me.

It all comes down to courage. The courage to be human – less than ideal, way less than “perfect”, whatever perfect means to each one of us. The courage to see how limited, and unlimited, we are as creators. Creators of specific work; creators of our own life.

We´re afraid of facing our limits – we´re even more afraid of facing our unlimited potential. We´re terrified of our own Greatness and the responsibility attached to it.

Here´s something my (less than) friendly meetings with Saturn have taught me: once you accept to face your limits, and work against them, you start to go beyond them. You become a wall breaker. Those broken walls will take you to other walls. From wall to wall- keep breaking them -, the sculptor reveals his Masterpiece.

For the record:

Having great ideas doesn´t make you an artist; thinking about happiness doesn´t make you a happy person; knowledge is not wisdom.

One of the keys to long lasting happiness, or Happiness as a default mode, is the guts to make peace with Saturn, our Great Father, the Asshole who tells you can´t so you can get enraged and prove him wrong.

Face the bull – eye to eye.

Pay the bill.

Take responsibility for your life.

Work with, or against, walls.

Accept time, and the wisdom to work with(in/out) it, as a natural part of life.

Dare to turn dreams into reality, even if reality falls short (it often does) or turns out to be the opposite you imagined.

Learn patience, resilience, persistence, humbleness & unshakeable self-confidence.

Look at what you´ve created and be proud, even if what you created looks deformed, small, beneath the ideal you carried around for so long.

Embrace the hidden part of the iceberg – the work nobody sees but ultimately allows you to shine on the surface.

Accept the difference between the world of IDEAS and MATTER. Ideas are limitless – matter isn´t. Ideas make you feel like Einstein – matter makes you feel human. As I often say: we´re all geniuses in our heads.  It´s the DOING, turning wishes into deeds, that reveal our true potential and build our character. 

Hug the father. There´s Light on the other side of fear.

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It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 by Theodore Roosevelt

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Is Egyptian Dance Spiritual? NEW video by Joana Saahirah

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I seem to be drawn to polemic subjects but none of it is premeditated. The thing is Egyptian Dance – the one I got to know and love in many years of study and, then, career, in Egypt – is filled with highly inflammable material. If we want to go deep into it, we´ll bump into several elephants in rooms most people, outside of the craft, don´t even dream about.

Changing mentalities is a huge part of everything I do and, boy!, isn´t it exciting?

Spirituality in Egyptian Dance or the question “Is Egyptian Dance Spiritual?” will raise many eyebrows; others will feel offended by it; some won´t see the point of such question. For the ones who do see the point, I can only wish an amazing ride.

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Welcome to watch, comment and share the video & subscribe to my channel on youtube.

Follow the link to watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brGDv_an3gg

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