The Power of Challenges by Joana Saahirah

This was the first, and only, video I´ve shot since I moved to Bali. As everything I do, it reflects Life as I experience it.

Living and sharing what I learn from living has been one core pillars of my career and one of my biggest pleasures. I hope this video inspires you towards a more interesting dance and, more importantly, life ❤

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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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NEW VIDEO “Do you believe in Magic?” by Joana Saahirah

Enjoy this video “Do You Believe in Magic?”, a part of the original bonus material offered with Joana Saahirah´s Online Course “Enta Omri, a Journey of Soulful Egyptian Dance & Self-Love” available, fully recorded, at Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School.

This is the course I wish someone had created when I first started to learn Egyptian Dance!
Much more than an Egyptian Dance course – an opportunity for personal, dance, & life TRANSFORMATION.

***Follow the link for more information: https://joanasaahirahworld.com/2018/05/03/enta-omri-a-journey-of-soulful-egyptian-dance-self-love/

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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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What is The Invisible Dance?

products-energy-webinar.jpgIt all started before I moved to Egypt to start my career.

I was a very young, curious, dancer who traveled to the Land of the Pyramids, first with Shokry Mohamed, my first Egyptian Dance teacher, and then by myself, to rediscover the Sacred Art of “Raks Sharki”.

As I´ve researched, took classes, attended shows – from the cheapest to the 5 star nightclubs -, participated in family celebrations, and observed, I realized Egyptian Dance was more about what WE CANNOT SEE, BUT FEEL, THAN THE MATERIAL, PALPABLE, VISIBLE MOVEMENT.

At first, the prominence of the soul over the physical stroke me as odd. I´d been educated, as a Classical Dancer, to believe Dance was essentially a physical activity and, therefore, to be oriented by its visual aspect.

The focus was on what the eyes could see – how each movement is executed, the beauty of the lines, the drawing of patterns, the physical tricks, and the technical details.

My first trips to Egypt showed me there is another side of Dance, the Invisible Realm, where The Magic resides.

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I was reintroduced to an whole other concept of Dance and Life.

Instead of asking:

How does it look? (Focus on the external/skills´exhibition)

I started asking:

How does it feel? (Focus on the internal/feeling)

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Yes, the visual side of the dance is important; yes, physical fitness, the correct execution of movements, what I call “clarity of speech”, are important and my students will confirm how demanding I am on that level. But what I call “The Invisible Dance” – a term I introduced in my book “The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond” – is the most important side of Egyptian Dance.

More often than not, the best Oriental Dancers aren´t the ones who have the best technique, the sharper movements, or the most intricate choreographies. The best Oriental Dancers are the ones who are emotionally moved and are able to move the audience. They know about feeling, energy, aura, the “Duende” Flamenco dancers know so well; that which can only be perceived with the heart, beyond rational understanding. Those dancers move from their soul and, therefore, reach the soul of their audience.

They are Sacred Mirrors, Bridges, the offspring of Hermes Trismegistus,  the Messenger who runs between the sky and the earth, delivering messages from humans to the Gods and vice-versa.

We live in a material world, ruled by competition, appearances, power, and money. In this world, the Invisible is a joke, a myth, something only crazy people believe in.

What authentic Egyptian Dance brings is the opposite of what we witness, nowadays. It´s Ancient Wisdom – eternal and more urgent than ever.

Soon, I´ll share a NEW VIDEO about The Invisible Dance at Joana Saahirah´s Youtube Channel. For now, I challenge you to stop for a minute and think about the following questions:

What is ENERGY?

What is LOVE?

How does THE INVISIBLE manifest itself in your dance and in your life?

Are you aware of your SOUL?

Do you dance from you SOUL?

What is more important: do you LIVE from your SOUL?

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The Fear of Ridiculous & The Happy Monkey by Joana Saahirah

 

The Fear of Ridiculous & The Happy Monkey Exercise by Joana Saahirah.

Video dedicated to my students at Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School; part of the bonus material offered with “Tabla Solo Discovery Journey – Level 1” Online, Recorded, Training available at Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School.
Follow the link for more information: https://joanasaahirahworld.com/2018/02/08/new-tabla-solo-creative-discovery-series-joana-saahirahs-online-dance-school/

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Believe you deserve to be happy

Art by Anna Kapustenko.jpg“The more I observe myself, and others, the more I find universal patterns, wounds and dreams. We are unique in many ways – we´re also astonishingly similar.

One of our common wounds is the sense of UNWORTHINESS. We believe we´re not worthy of happiness.

We don´t actually say it: I DO NOT DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. Nope. That would be easy to identify – we would notice the nonsense, the suicidal impulse and our ego would lose the battle.

We don´t say out loud – we just believe in it, and act accordingly, which is more than enough to screw us up.

Have you caught yourself feeling guilty when you´re happy? I have.

“Too happy for my own good”, I´ll whisper, fearful of what will come.

We set a Happiness Limit, seasoned with needless obstacles and drama, and we´re terrified of going beyond it. It´s a ceiling we build for ourselves – one we refuse to surpass. As if by doing it we would be defying the Gods and they would punish us as a consequence.zeus.gif

-I´m feeling too happy. Should I be worried?

Worried about what, exactly? That´s the golden question.

In grew up with amazing, yet pessimistic, parents who believe life is hard. If you ask me how I define life, in one word, I´ll answer “Adventure” without blinking. If you ask my parents, they won´t blink – we have than in common-, but they´ll start describing my concept of hell. Are you ready? Take a deep breath and dive.

Life is:

A burden;

Obligations;

Sacrifice and pain;

Hard work;

Routine;

A series of unfortunate events nobody can, or will want to, avoid.

Their parents carried it too – the pessimistic, unworthiness, self-sabotaging bug. It gets into your genes  – it´s heritage passed on from generation to generation like blue eyes, high cholesterol or crooked noses.

Believing we don´t deserve to be happy – not beyond a comfortable, usually mediocre,  level we have set for ourselves – is an invisible trap most of us fall into. We´d rather be unhappy – remain on familiar ground, even if that ground is a mud pond infested with alligators and foul smelling frogs – than risking punishment for being happy beyond our measure. Our measure – take that in.

In theory, we want it. We may say we deserve it, write in notebooks, sing and preach. But, when we check under the carpet, we find the (ugly) truth: we fear our own greatness; we avoid annoying the gods with our arrogance, our ambition, our childish belief that the garden of heaven can exist here, right now, on the palm of our hands.

I´ve learned it the hard way: we cannot be happy if we keep feeding the belief we´re unworthy of it.  We have to grow up, literally, by paying a visit to the monster under the bed. It may be an imaginary monster but we act as it is real.

Imaginary monsters rule our lives.

Dare to go into the dark room, the one your father warned you against, and look under the bed. Don´t think too much. Just do it. Get on your knees, look.

The only thing you´ll find down there is dust. Dust, my friend. Bloody, fucking, ridiculous dust. Grab it and put it where it belongs (you know where).

You – we – deserve to be happy. It´s not a crime to experience life at its fullest.

If we´re able to receive unconceivable amounts of pain, and disappointment, we´re also able to receive unlimited happiness and pleasant surprises.

We were born to reJOYce, not to be punished.”

Excerpt from chapter of a book I´m currently writing.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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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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