Enjoy our NEW promo code Christmas DISCOUNT at Joana Saahirah School: 20% off any class, package, or video available at our school, including our NEW live & recorded trainings happening in January 2018 (Shimmy Wonderland – Level 2 + How to choreograph YOUR Baladi Awadi).
Welcome to Shimmy Wonderland (Drills Marathon & Mastery)happening at Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School– a series of 5 online, live & recorded, classes that will open the door to the infinite possibilities of shimmies, one of the most interesting, challenging and versatile tools in the Egyptian Dance vocabulary.
Even if you miss one, more, live class, you can always check the class recordings to which you´ll have unlimited access. Bonus material is also offered.
With love, integrity and that extra pinch of madness ❤
Here´s my motto: From Egypt to the World, bringing back the Soul of Oriental Dance.And that´s exactly what I do while traveling the world to teach, perform and lecture, on my private classes and at my NEW Online Dance School.
I love sharing the knowledge I´ve gathered in all these years of career in Egypt, the Middle East (Lebanon, Oman & Qatar) and around the globe. Teaching authentic Egyptian Dance, as I´ve rediscovered it in Egypt, and going further: empowering students to be, and dance, who they really are, making good use of their UNIQUE potential.
If you want to study high quality Egyptian Dance and unleash your personal identity/power, these live & recorded classes are for YOU. All our classes happen live, face to face with the teacher (moi!), but they´re also recorded which means you can view, and review, the classes at your own pace even if you miss the live sessions.
Everything I do comes from the soul – I hope it reaches YOUr soul.
Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance Schoolis rocking with the best of authentic Egyptian Dance, Self-Discovery & Empowerment. Check out our currently available Live & Recorded Online Trainings:
Live & recorded class packages scheduled for the upcoming weeks:
Egyptian Dance and Sexuality have always been associated and not for the best reasons.
I call it The Elephant in the Room – that aspect of the dance people deny or misuse.
On one side, the false moralists, the diplomats and the crowd pleasers who believe “cleaning” the dance from its sexual dimension will assure the respect it deserves; on the other side, the porno flick weirdos, the ones who distort and misuse the dance and its sexual dimension. There´s something in the middle, a healthy way of seeing ourselves and our dance, in all its dimensions – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – but that place, the middle, is always the hardest to get to. Most people will fall into one extreme or the other.
We´re here to target the (im)possible: to clean our heads; to say YES to our bodies and to reconnect sensual pleasure with soul. We´re here to realize that Sexuality, in Egyptian Dance as in Life, is as a natural, powerful, positive force.
The origins of the dance remind us of its essential purpose: to celebrate life with its varied colours, to move in/through/for GRATITUDE towards existence´s abundance, to awaken the creative, sensual juices that make life possible, generation after generation, in Nature as well as in Humanity. Then we have an old association to deal with: the link between Oriental Dancers and Prostitution, one my 8 year career in Egypt proved to be painfully accurate.
The Ghawazi, the Gipsy dancers who entertained women, and men, in public were famous for their sagats, hip thrusts and extra services*; the “Awalem”, although more respected than their gipsy peers, were also associated with this plague. As if being a professional Oriental Dancer meant you HAD to be a prostitute. This association still exists in Egypt and in other countries throughout North Africa and Middle East.
We´re here to smash prejudices, open bodies, minds, hearts and souls to the following realities:
If you´re an Oriental Dancer doesn´t mean, necessarily, that you´re a prostitute. There are indeed many Oriental Dancers who rise in their careers via prostitution, especially in Egypt, where the dance market perpetuates such association, but YOU´re an individual who can say yes or NO. The dance has nothing to do with the personal choices each dancer may take. So let´s separate the waters: Oriental Dance and Prostitution are different professions, starting with the fact that Oriental Dancers please themselves and prostitutes please others; Oriental Dancers are…well…D-A-N-C-E-R-S and prostitutes are SEX WORKERS.
Sexuality, in itself, is a natural dimension of our Human existence. Deny it and you´ll be denying an essential part of your life. Deny it and you´ll be turning something wonderful into something nasty. Deny it and you´ll be denying pleasure, stamina, vitality, criativity, instinctive wisdom, strenght, your VOICE and inner power from your dance. And life.
We cannot understand and practice Egyptian Dance in depth if we don´t allow ourselves to enJOY our own bodies and all the sensations, and experiences, they provide. Physical pleasure is the beginning of spiritual pleasure. Egyptian Dance shows us the link between those apparently distant universes (“As above, as below”, Hermes once said).
Sexuality is not a subject limited to intercourse but a dimension of life present everywhere: when you delight yourself with the smell of a rose; when you taste a great plate of food; when you touch, or are touched by, a loved one; when you listen to a beautiful melody; when you get into the sea in a particularly hot day; when you get your feet into a warm, cosy, pair of socks on a Winter day; when you feel, in your gut, you HAVE to accomplish a certain dream and you actually go for it; when you say I LOVE YOU to a certain person or GO on that trip you´ve been postponing forever. When you laugh out loud; when you run; when you lay down on the grass, playing with your dogs. When, when, when (it´s an infinite list).
Sexuality is present in our every day lives although most of us are disconnected from it. Just because you´re disconnected from it, it doesn´t mean it doesn´t exist. Our NEW Online Workshop – “Sexuality in Egyptian Dance – Unleashing Lilith” – will remind you of what it means to be FULLY alive. In dance as in life.
Are you in the mood to start enJOYing life without prejudices, shame and outdated ghosts?
Are you willing to take your dance, and life, into higher – oh, so, OMG, much more pleasureable – dimensions?
Do you want to know what FREEDOM tastes like?
“Sexuality in Egyptian Dance – Unleashing Lilith” Online Workshop created by Joana Saahirah exclusively for Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School, the place where your Uniqueness is celebrated.
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.
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
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.