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

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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!

 

What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror?

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Focus is everything.

You become what you focus on.
In other words: tell me where is your focus and I´ll tell you who you are.

When I look around, I see beauty – I rejoice in the fact that I´m beautiful.
When I look around, I see light – therefore, I know I´m light.
When I look inside, I see the world I´d love to live in – my world, a land of colour, possibilities, child like purity; infinite wonder. It´s a gorgeous sight, this country I see on the mirror – the country I carry within.

In my world, every mirror is an opportunity for knowledge; every friend is an opportunity for joy; every dance is an opportunity to fly. I focus on the journey, not on the arrival; on the experience, not on the exhibition of my skills.

Oriental Dance is not a circus act, meant to impress the audiences with props and tricks; Oriental Dance is the Language of the Soul, one I see in my sister´s eyes every time our eyes meet, when we fix our make-up on the mirror.

What I see when I look in the mirror is a Gipsy who´s not afraid to wander – lost & found -, on her way home. There´s a Caravan of Gipsies, trotting along proud, Arabic horses, in the near distance.
I wave back at them – they´re coming to meet me.

Photo: Joana Saahirah & Ksenija Plesna Delavnica Zahir, backstage, before the show in Maribor, Slovenia, captured by the lens of Breda Jurečko.

The Gipsy (in Slovenia)

lower 2.jpgThey called her princess but she knew better, smiling at them, nodding to make them feel appreciated.

They thought they knew her but nobody knew her, not even her.
How can you know the Unknown?

She was the wind – a Gipsy, her mum said since the day she was born, ripping her tiny bits of hair off and screaming to the top of her lungs -, an unpredictable wave that hits you when, and where, you least expect it.

-You always leave. – Said her lovers, unaware she left because she had to; she left because there was no reason to stay.

She was not defined by labels, appearances, expectations.
Only her heart, and its dangerous whispers, directed her actions. Only her heart knew her. (Perhaps not even her heart for the heart is an open door and open doors lead nowhere and everywhere).

The Gipsy dances beyond the veil.

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Text by Joana Saahirah
Photos of Joana Saahirah taken by Breda Jurečko taken backstage before show in Maribor, Slovenia.

Glimpses of The Magic lived in Slovenia

Working with a professional, talented, generous orchestra is MY thing. I got used to performing with the best Egyptian musicians I´ve ever known during my years of life, and career, in Cairo. And, let´s admit, I got spoilt and never, until today, got used to working with recorded music.

When Ksenija, the organizer of my last work trip to Slovenia and my dear friend, told me she was bringing an orchestra for the event, I was thrilled and I knew we could do something great. I´d nagged, and nagged, her about it; I´d requested a live orchestra, on several occasions, and here they were; finally!

No time to rehearse or prepare workshops or/and show. And still the Magic happened. What you see in the following videos is a bit of what we experienced in our “Baladi Awadi with live orchestra” workshop & “Classical + Modern Egyptian Dance” workshop. I hope you can taste the love…

Follow the links to enjoy other videos from my latest workshops in Slovenia:

 Joana Saahirah and Mazzikatea orchestra Baladi Improvisation in Slovenia (Workshop): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Tsb2Zhft4

❤ Baladi improvisation by Joana Saahirah for Morocco (Aunt Rocky): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqaY2geZPHw&t=1s

❤ Joana Saahirah Around the World Choreography in Slovenia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4HTbIjfSOg&t=3s

Joana Saahirah in Slovenia September

Baladi from Slovenia, with love, to Morocco (Aunt Rocky)

Baladi Awadi, which was supposed to be just a “taksim”, by Joana Saahirah created on the spot, with Mazzikatea orchestra, dedicated to Morocco (Aunt Rocky). Fully improvised, music and orchestra, just as it should be.

Video shot in Slovenia, during a fabulous event organized by Ksenija Plesna Delavnica Zahir.

Pure honey from the Slovenian mountains

12074839_10153629322544886_5413785426305574690_nThe more you see – experience and reflect – of the world the less you´re able to judge; somehow, seeing the Big Picture erases every sense of superiority, even if just intellectual (I know better than them kind of attitude).

I returned from Slovenia – thanks to Ksenija and Tomaz for making it  happen – with a higher sense of worldliness (aka absence of judgement). For me, aside from doing a high quality and successful work, that´s the biggest gift. I can actually feel my mind expanding, like in a science fiction movie; I can see it melting, a cup of air turning into pure honey, falling right where it´s supposed to be: in my heart.

It makes sense – Oriental Dance, the Language of the Soul, taking me to places where I can live, on my skin, the Truth that rules us all. It makes sense – to keep my child curiosity protected from the cynicism of this world; to feel genuine interest for other people and the phenomenon that happen around and inside us the whole time. It makes sense – to enJOY every moment as if it was my last.

This kind of intensity isn´t easy or comfortable. It´s exhausting and it exposes you to the softest and harshest winds. Being OPEN works in every way – you get the good and the bad; you´re vulnerable to the BEAUTY of life but you can´t escape the ugliness. Which makes me wonder if it´s a question of perspective. What is beautiful? What is ugly? Who gets to decide which is which? Ah...travelling a lot can make you crazy. Beware of the danger!

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Me and my sponsor, the fabulous lady Ksenija, the creator of Hisa Zahir, in Maribor.

At the end of our workshops – at the Slovenian mountains, no less -, I had one of the students (a beautiful lady) coming to me and telling me the most amazing things about me and my dance. It´s always great to receive positive feed-back from our work but what touched me the most was:

-I love to watch you dance because you are like a child searching for joy and life…so pure…just like a child…searching.

-Yep. That´s me. You saw me. For real. – I answered, stunned by the realization that others can actually SEE who I am, instead of projecting ghosts over me.

I´m used to being taken for things I never was. People build an image of me – according to their own minds, wishes and frustrations – which I rarely recognize as my true self. This lady SAW further, beyond appearances, right into the core of my Being. And what a beautiful view! Almost as beautiful as the Slovenian mountains, those ladies dancing in our workshops or our visit to a farm – hidden in the woods – where you have a glimpse of paradise and a killer raspberry cake.

Performing is my biggest love but teaching is no less. More than throwing data and choreographies over people´s heads, I aim at AWAKENING them for realities they haven´t experienced before. The purpose is to guide them the best I can so they can find their own VOICE in this world. In dance as in life.

And how gorgeous it is to see them move, discovering their bodies & hearts, (often) fighting with their demons and (not so often) celebrating with their freedom; how gorgeous it is to see each person finger print on the movements. How gorgeous to see how GORGEOUS they are. My mum´s right: I know how to live well. And she means WELL. I wander – and wonder – a lot and I get lost with scary frequency but I always find the best landscapes. They come to me, I don´t go to them. If you gotta play this game, play it like a BOSS.

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Me and my fabulous sponsors in Slovenia, Ksenija and Tomaz.

I don´t know what´s the best part about this dream coming true – sharing all I´ve learnt and built in 8 years of career & life in Egypt with the whole world – but I suspect GROWING UP may be it. Less fingers pointed and a heart that is still afraid of getting hurt  – I´m human, after all (perhaps) – but is increasingly open, brave and ALIVE. Mostly A-LIVE.

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Dancing – with mountain boots, jeans and a Rolling Stones sweater – at a spontaneous hafla in Slovenia. I NEVER do Oriental Dance outside of my work but, then again, you should never say never.

Thank you, Slovenia; thank you, World.

P.S: Sunday mass at Pohorge, Slovenia, is the coolest. Singing – humming, to be more accurate – with the ladies at the village church was AMAZING. My intention was to assist the mass – to see how they do it there – but I was late and the main church gate was already closed. I searched for another door – any door – and found one which lead to a staircase. I went up the stairs and allowed myself to be lead to the nook where the orgue player and the chorus were working full blast. All ladies; all Slovenian; all sweet. They took me in, gave me a musical sheet and made me feel at home. In the end, we shook each other hands, kissed and smiled at each other in a language that needs no translation. I had to fight tears from coming. If this is not a religious service, I don´t know what it may be.

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