Do you love yourself? Do you believe you carry an unique potential within? Are you willing to explore the gifts only YOU can bring to the world?
Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School is more than a virtual place where you receive the best training in Egyptian Oriental & Folkloric Dance. Our school is a place for self-love, discovery & empowerment.
With that PURPOSE in mind, I´ve created aMANTRAthat I´m now sharing with you. I hope you repeat it as frequentely as you can – say it out loud before a dance class; whisper it to yourself as you prepare to sleep; sing it in the shower.
Dancing to Express Versus Dancing to Impress by Joana Saahirah
Notes inspired by questions of students, the ones I teach on my Online Private, and Group, Courses as well as students I meet in festivals/events around the world.
Days are flying fast – faster than ever -, at least that´s how I feel. No Summer for this girl – only work. No complaints, though. When we do what we love, when we feel we ought to, everything is in harmony. Nothing tastes better than knowing you´re fulfilling your Path
My apologies to my blog´s readers – no time to write over here, lately. Between my NEW School (Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School: http://www.powhow.com/classes/joana-saahirahs-dance-studio), my private online classes, working on my new book and preparing material to perform, teach and lecture on my upcoming world trips (Brazil, Slovenia, Czech Republic, 4th USA TOUR (Delaware, Atlanta, Portland) & Canada, Ireland and more), I can hardly breathe.
When I manage to relax, it´s only for a couple of hours; one afternoon, if I´m lucky and I schedule it. Yes, you read it well: my relaxing/rest time must be scheduled. If not, it doesn´t happen. These days, I have to schedule everything – a shower; even my sleeping time. And yet I´m thriving, growing on every level, shining.
Wishing everybody a fabulous August! Speak to you soon ❤
I never thought Sexuality was such a big tabu in our (Western) society!
Once I launched my NEW Online Workshop – Sexuality in Egyptian Dance -, I started receiving an incredible amount of sexual proposals from strange men. I realized, in total disbelief, their vision of sexuality is still primary, childish and incredibly twisted.
Now, more than ever, the TABU – or Elephant in the Room – must be addressed. With intelligence, naturality & vision.
In Egyptian Dance as in Life.
Follow the link for more information on our rEVOLUTIONARY
I´m a lover by nature. That means I love everything I do and everything I do comes from love. If (when) I don´t love it, I don´t do it. It´s great & terrible. As most things in life, it´s probably both.
I often hear dancers, and friends, complaining about the lack of “ideal circumstances” or “conditions” that would, theoretically, allow them to move forward with things, relationships, dreams. In most cases, that´s plain, old, oh so damned frustrating procrastination strategy. There´s no such thing as “ideal circunstances” or, even, “conditions for (fill in the blank). Life´s messy, often hard, pre-destined and random, filled with nonsense, miracles, destruction and beauty. There are obstacles, unexpected turns, sudden change of plans and falls. You gotta roll with the punches and ride the waves as they come.
If you keep waiting for the “perfect circumstances” to move forward with what you know you need to do, you´ll die waiting. As I mention in this video, if all you´ve got is a bunch of lemons, make a mean lemonade. Use your resources – energy, time, focus, creativity, even fear which can be turned into pro-active adrenaline – right NOW. Let me repeat: NOW. Stop waiting for the conditions that will never arrive. Use what you have and who you are right now.
Easier said than done. But, believe me, it´s true: if, instead of focusing on what you don´t have, you start focusing on what you have and use it, you´ll move forward and get things done. YOUR things, the ones that make you feel alive.
When I think about the beginning of my career in Egypt, the first thing that comes to my mind, and the one I miss the most, is not the external success, the daily appreciation of Egyptian audiences or the pride in the glory achieved through my sweat, tears and love.
I think, before anything else, about my musicians. After them, only Om Kolthoum comes to mind.
For me, success is what remains invisible to the public – the moments, crossroads, decisions and character affirming turning points that made me who I am today. The times I said NO to money, mainstream stardom and comfort in exchange for my body or, what´s probably worse, my soul. The occasions when I was alone with my musicians, in rehearsal, listening, taking notes, appreciating the world each instrument, and artist, brought to my life. The afternoons I ´ve spent, sitting still, drinking tea and listening to the radio with strange men in coffee shops – places where I, as a woman, wasn´t supposed to be.
Nothing would make them respect me as the common love for Om Kolthoum. They´d ask my name, where I was from, what was I doing in Egypt – the whole diplomatic protocol. I´d half-answer, leaving my profession, one they´d associate with prostitution, out of the equation. But I´d make sure I´d hit the wound, the strategical point, the door to their soul: Om Kolthoum.
The instant I mentioned I loved her, I became Egyptian. Not in my passport – who cares about passports, anyway? – but in my heart.
Om Kolthoum is deeply ingrained in Egyptian identity. From where I stand, I cannot separate her music from Egypt. For me, as for the men with whom I gathered in street coffee shops, her music and their life is one and the same.
In a country – I´d say world – where people aren´t allowed to feel, dream and follow their heart, Om Kolthoum is an oasis abundant in water, palmtree shadows, fresh, sweet dates ready to be devoured and hope. Hope in love; hope in beauty; hope in humanity.
She represents The Dream, The Heart that is often silenced, The Soul of Egypt.
Once the ice was broken – “Do you really love Om Kolthoum, miss?” -, I became one of them. And, by God, I felt the sweet taste of success.
One of the inner struggles foreign Oriental Dancers deal with, especially the ones who choose to become professionals, is making justice to the culture they´re representing, incorporating, at least in their dance, Egyptian Identity. This is not a question of rejecting one´s culture and trying to copy the gestures, and expressions, of people from another culture. That´s nonsense. It´s a question of getting into the Core of the culture which gave birth to the dance we´re representing and honouring it. Understanding the craft so we can serve the craft. For that, as for so much more, there was no better Master than Om Kolthoum.
I´d sit with the men, lost in eternity, sipping tea, our eyes closed, united in one single ecstatic experience. For a while, they were me and I was them, linked through the unifying – religious – voice of Om Kolthoum and the life stories her repertoire explores.
She got us, man! She really did. She knew how it felt to fall in love, have our heart broken, go through hope, despair, jealousy, kindness, empathy, rage and light. She was The Mother – Om Dunya – who embraced us, the listeners, in her endless, cozy lap.
Her singing remains, in my head, dangerously close to the call for the prayer a good Muezzin will pour out of a mosque´s minaret; the Coranic training of her childhood and her peasant – earthy – origins come through in every note.
The truth contained in each word reminds me of the truth each of my movements must contain; the freedom contained in each silence reminds me of the freedom each of my dance step must contain; the open sensuality, the soul and the humanity in her voice reminds me of what I have to aim for: becoming human. Fully human.
When dancers ask me about Om Kolthoum, why they should study her life and music and dance to it, I´m always shy. Speechless. A little bit embarassed. I wonder how they don´t know the answer to those questions. How can they not want to study with the biggest Egyptian Dance Master?
Studying Om Kolthoum is studying Tarab, Interpretation, Musicality, Classical & Modern Music, Technique, Egyptian Culture, Identity, Hopes & Dreams, conscious & unconscious mind; studying Om Kolthoum is studying ourselves, our lives and how those two can meet in Art, elevating the dance where it´s supposed to be: at the altar, next to the Goddesses and that old, forbidden fruit called Love.