My January (exciting) NEWS!

A brand NEW book and a brand NEW Joana Saahirah Online Dance School are opening 2019 and you´re invited to join the party!

This new year has found me with both feet firmly on the ground and a growing pair of wings that´ll allow me to take off.

Once more, I redefine my concept of Happiness and the Priorities I must focus on, in case I wish to continue growing (I do).

Turning dreams into reality isn´t always cool, pleasant, or beautiful – sometimes, work is hard; we have to dive deep into boring, challenging tasks; we gotta bump with our head against the wall in order to see the fruits of the seeds we´ve planted. More often than not, the tip of the iceberg is just a tiny sample of the enormous amount of work that preceded it, work which the public never gets to see.

Here are some of the (exciting) NEWS I´m sharing with YOU, this month, both a product of the work that remains hiding beneath the water:

  1. My NEW book“Behind the Curtain” -, a collaboration with a talented Slovenian photographer – Breda Jurecko – is coming out.
  2. A NEW, renewed, Joana Saahirah Online Dance School, is arriving with brand new, pioneering, online courses. The same Vision and Purpose – to share authentic Egyptian Dance, Self-Discovery & Empowerment with the whole world – with an upgraded platform that will serve our community better.

Opening 2019 with the climbing of NEW mountains

Joana Saahirah Ilhas Dornes

Opening 2019 with open arms and heart

Flying into 2019 with the Passion and the Love I´ve always carried in my heart, a renewed sense of purpose and hope.

Here´s what they rarely tell us: evolution takes work; growth can be painful; letting go of limiting beliefs, wounds, old ghosts can be a never-ending battle but, YES, we can do it. If we genuinely want to.

I´ve never sat in my comfort zone – whenever I reach the top of one mountain, I start looking for a new mountain to climb. It´s the climbing, not the arrival, that builds our character.

From Portugal, my homeland where I was safe and comfortable, to Egypt where I spent 8 years building my career and myself in the midst of unimaginable challenges and blessings; from Egypt to the whole World where I´ve been traveling as an invited artist to perform, teach, and lecture on Egyptian Dance, Music, and Culture; from the World to wherever I dream.

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Along the way, I´ve written an endless amount of articles for highly respected maganizes and newspapers; I´ve written and published my first book – The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond” (follow link to get your own copy: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/joana-saahirah/the-secrets-of-egypt-dance-life-beyond-2nd-edition/paperback/product-23143198.html?fbclid=IwAR2Jfl0G_J0QIVEQzejQdSkQ8PzO7v0GkKDNpIOy0-V7VjOmA36OzSVmFlA ); I´ve created a pioneering school – Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School -, I´m about to publish my second book – Behind the Curtain – and I´m already working on my third book.  A brand new, upgraded, platform for Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School will soon be released. Stay tuned at this blog or ask to join our dance community via email (send email to dancemagica@gmail.com)

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is is just a little sample of how much I´ve lived, dreamed and materialized and how much I´m doing in the present. I hope it inspires you to turn your Wish List* into a Dreams Accomplished List.

wink-happy-16Hint: I have no intention to stop growing and making IT happen.

In 2019, more than in any other year, I thrive for new mountains – the most unexplored, frightening, amazing mountains; the ones that will ultimately bring me closer to my truest self. I hope YOU´re brave enough to do the same.

Happy climbing, my friends!

 

In this video: Joana Saahirah BOMBASTIC Majance Performance in Quebec, Canada. Quebec was one of the cities included in Joana Saahirah´s USA & CANADA SOULful Tour.

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May Wisdom, Light, Love, and Beauty rule our new year.

NEW Book “Behind the Curtain” by Joana Saahirah is arriving!

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Photo: Joana Saahirah performing with Mazzikatea orchestra in Slovenia, captured by the lens of Breda Jurecko.
Event organized by Ksenija Visket

*

Ah…the anticipation…<3

I can´t wait to have my new book – “Behind the Curtain” -, a collaboration with the Slovenian Photographer Breda Jurecko, out there in the world.

This was an unexpected baby, one I´m deeply proud of. As usual, it comes out of my soul – no compromises, no shutting down, no faking. 

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Stay tuned for the NEWS on the upcoming BOOK LAUNCHING!

 

NEW Free Ebook “Introduction to Egyptian Dance Wonderland” by Joana Saahirah

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A fabulous NEW free ebookIntroduction to Egyptian Dance Wonderland by Joana Saahirah – is fresh out of the oven and ready to guide you into your dance, and self-discovery, path.

Discover how you can claim your free copy by emailing us at dancemagica@gmail.com

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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 4 Stages of the Egyptian Dance Path

4th stage of the Egyptian Dance Path: Spiritual

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Your dance is as spiritual as you are.

(take that in for a few seconds; read it again)

If you´re not in contact with your invisible, energetic, spiritual dimension, you´ll feel challenged at this learning stage. If you don´t believe you´re more than a physical body, I´d doubt you´ll be able to dance from your soul.

This is probably the trickiest aspect of Egyptian Dance, one that teachers are often unable to articulate.

Spirituality is easily confused with religion, New Age mambo jambo, cheesy cults. It´s considered distant, exotic, unreacheable, weird, dangerous. We tend to fear what we cannot touch.

But, as I´ve mentioned, the spirit is who you are. You may identify with the physical body but that does not define you. Your soul does.

One of the most beautiful things I´ve observed, as a teacher, is how Egyptian Dance shows students the way to their soul. It takes them by the hand, smoothly, without them realizing it. It pulls them up naturally. Inevitably.

I use specific methods – pedagogy – to open up their physical, mental and emotional bodies but, if all the other stages are properly developed, the spiritual realm takes care of itself. It flows like water running from its source towards the sea. Nobody needs to push it, or show it the way – it knows how to get to its destination. That´s exactly how I´ve witnessed the arrival to this 4th, and higher, stage of the dance path.

We start from the ground, focused on our physical body; we move upwards, and forward, integrating the mental stage which will be followed by the emotional stage.

Sooner or later, if you keep going, you´ll be lead to the spiritual stage.

I´d go as far as telling you the first 3 stages require work, focus, proper guidance, discipline – you don´t go through them without effort or a professional, awakened, teacher.

The 4th stage is effortless – it´s a flower blooming under the sun; an ascension that feels like falling; a consequence of the work you´ve done from the ground. The 4th stage is the blooming of the flower after you´ve planted its seed and watered it. If you show up to fulfill your gardening job, the flower will bloom by itself.

It´s the most beautiful show on earth. Few things give me as much pleasure as watching my students bloom into this 4th stage of development – watching them return home, finding peace and solace in their own essence.

Once they reach this stage, they can never go back to superficiality or lies about themselves and the dance. Once they´re at the top of the Pyramid, they see the Big Picture from above. Their feet may remain on the ground but their dance belongs to the Universe – they become a Bridge between Heaven and Earth.

The question is: the top of the pyramid is a lonely place. Few ever get there.

Are you willing to climb, only to discover you´re up there by yourself?”

Excerpt from “The Egyptian Dance Booklet” by Joana Saahirah

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Education Versus Personal Exploration

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“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)

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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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

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

So in love am I (Barking to the Choir)

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For me, everything is an emotional experience. If not, I´m not interest.

Books, too, have to move me: my head, my heart, my soul, my blessed limbs. No wonder I lose interest in perfectly crafted books by perfectly respected authors; no wonder I fall in love with the most unexpected authors and stories.

I´m reading several books, simultaneously, as usual:

One book about the craft of Writing.

Two children´s books.

A novel.

“Barking to the Choir”. This one has punched me in the stomach, ravished my soul (pretty dramatic, eh?) and made me gasp for air. I often have to stop reading, in the middle of a phrase; close the book, take a deep breath and cry. Yes, you read it well: I stop reading so I can cry, an uncontrollable reaction to what I´ve just read.

It´s mortifying. I´m Portuguese, raised by stoic peasant parents, for God´s sake! – we don´t cry in the street, holding books and hearts in our hands. Mind you: these are not ellaborate expressions I´m using to make the book appealing. These are real experiences I´m going through while reading the book.

They say real life is way more fascinating than fiction and they´re totally right.

“Barking to the Choir” was recommended by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the famous “Eat, Pray, Love”, on Instagram (did I mention I´m in love with Instagram?). I´m going to start following all her reading suggestions.

Go brag that book.

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What makes YOU happy? (I want to hear about it)

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One of my favourite things about the technological world we live in is how CONNECTED we can be with friends, random cool strangers, students and audiences from all over the world.

Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School is a great example of how technology can bring us closer to each other and allow for an easier transmission of knowledge.

And, now, I – the technologically challenged girl who happens to love technology –  am reaching out to YOU to know

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WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

You can answer, with a text, a photography (high resolution images, please) or both, to my email (dancemagica@gmail.com). I´ll select a few answers to include in the book I´m currently working on: The Happiness Freak, my little book of Happiness.

If you wish to be a part of my research, and book, get your happiness juices flowing and send me your answer ASAP.

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