Joana Saahirah with Mazzikatea Europe orchestra photographed by Breda Jurečko during a performance in Slovenia, organized by Ksenija Visket.
No, I won´t apologize.
I won’t apologize for this body – strong, thriving, on fire.
I won’t apologize for this brain – open, curious, ever expanding.
I won’t apologize for this heart – deep, thirsty, fearful & brave.
I won’t apologize for this soul – present, noble, sensual & divine, materialized in everything I do.
No, I won’t apologize.
I won’t apologize for my existence, for taking space or having a voice.
No, I won’t apologize.
I won’t apologize for my freedom, my breath, and my right to lust.
No, I won’t apologize.
I won’t apologize for being alive, and in love, with myself, life, the dark mirrors you reflect upon me.
I won’t apologize for your involution, neither for my evolution.
You say I’m too much. Too provocative. Too intelligent. Too strong. Too sensual. Too creative. Too demanding. Too big.
Too much. Too much. Too much.
I say you’re too little. It’s you who has to grow up – don’t you dare asking the moon to shrink, don’t you dare asking the sun to stop shining.
No, I won’t apologize.”
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This text was written in the old Medina of Marrakech, Morocco, after a walk in the “souk”. Catcalling and that old familiar feeling of trespassing were present the whole time.
Freshly out of the oven, for you & me: Full of Yourself, another polemic video
by Joana Saahirah.
A reminder for dance and for life.
You really are and there is no shame about it.
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.
New goodie included in our Video Notes Collection inspired in dancers from all over the world. A polemic, hot, uncomfortable subject. Something to think about and, hopefully, apply to your dance. And life.
Enjoy the complete video collection by following the link: https://joanasaahirahworld.com/notes-for-dancers-by-joana-saahirah/
“I don’t like to discuss my marriage, but I will tell you something which may sound corny but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?”
~ Paul Newman
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
Although comparing his woman to a steak is not a good idea – not for me, at least -, the truth hidden behind these words is spotless and it can only make me respect Paul Newman, more than I already did.
He was not just a great, charismatic actor and the most gorgeous man ever lived on earth but he also happened to be a MAN. Not a kid old enough to be a man but an actual man. A rare diamond!
Me, in Bint il Balad character, photographed in Cairo, Egypt
Strong women, who manage to live with a rare combination of power, vulnerability, fierceness and honesty, have always inspired me. It´s easy to be fierce and mean; easy to be vulnerable and weak; too easy to become a quitter. What´s truly amazing is the combination of contrasts and the ability to resist life´s punches, never allowing them to make us less than human.
Baladi women, like the ones I´m taking in my luggage to Ireland, belong to that group: the golden ones, the rare mix of sweet & sour.
I wish my dance, and my life, will always honour them.
More details on Joana Saahirah Baladi Extravaganza Workshops in Ireland over here: https://www.facebook.com/events/242486282857558/
I´m often labeled by people who don´t know me, which is just another way of limiting me or trying to. I don´t accept labels – they just won´t stick, no matter how hard you try to glue them to my face. I´m free, impossile to fit in a shelf; complex; in permanent expansion.
One of the labels people love to identify with me is Feminism. Although I don´t have a problem with this word, on the contrary, I also don´t see myself as such. Unless a feminist is someone, woman or man, who has a functioning brain and is not afraid to use it. If a feminist is someone, woman or man, who thinks – using logic instead of “how things have always been” and individual perspective instead of sheep following -, then I´m a feminist.
But, then again, the name is limiting. Every name is.
I love people, men and women. I believe we´re all different and all the same in value, duties and rights. That applies to different races, religions, colours of skin.
I´m just human; I treat others with respect and I demand to be treated the same way. My life is mine to live and nobody, independently of how much I may love him, can possess me. Ever. I´m not merchandise to be possessed.
I refuse to attack my sisters – every woman on planet earth – as much as I refuse to be controlled or disrespected by men.
Again: I´m just human. If that makes me a feminist, so be it. But keep the labels for yourself while I keep using my brain and the right to be a person.
Thank you very much ❤
I was never taught to love myself – that´s not something most latin, catholic, conservative mums teach their daughters. With their best intentions in mind, they “educate” us to fit in, to follow the rules (be a good girl), to join the crowds of women, who came before them, and grab the endless cross they´ve been carrying around for centuries.
-Why don´t you join us, sister? We need you to help us bear the burden. You´re a woman so be one of us.
I nod and wish them good luck. They envy me, love me, hate me for that.
Life taught me to love myself. I´ve been living and paying attention while at it. That´s all it takes to learn: doing it and paying attention to the causes and the consequences.
Although the exterior world still lifts its eyebrow every time a woman declares “I LOVE MYSELF”, I´ve learnt to shrug my shoulders, let the ignorance go and laugh above it all. Never, ever, apologizing for the beauty of (all) that I am.
I hope our daughters, and the daughters of their daughters, drop the cross. It´s about time.
Photos taken at home by my sister Ana Samuel ❤
I also had a charming Spanish man telling me, in the middle of a candle lit dinner, he couldn´t understand why people still read books instead of buying a kindle and getting over with it (getting over with it?!). Then he dismissed my book smell addiction as “just a reaction to chemicals and microbes”.
A potentially beautiful love story ended right there. He was gorgeous – ah, those Spanish “matador” eyes! – , apparently intelligent, funny and well travelled. Until he blew it.
A man who doesn´t know how to hold a book, and feel it, doesn´t know how to hold a woman. A man who cannot appreciate the smell, and touch, of a book is clueless where sensuality and depth are concerned. A man who believes a machine, like kindle, can replace an iconic object, such as the book, has no concept of love.
I rest my case.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Here´s something I could never understand: the incoherence between people´s thoughts and feelings and their words and actions. They think A but talk Z. They feel 4 but do 1. It must be exhausting to keep up with the egos, the hidden agendas, the untold (real) stories, the truth. I thought only Egypt, and other Middle Eastern countries, suffered from this malady.
I was mistaken.
I´m like kids and crazy folks: I say what I think and I do what I feel. That has got me into a lot trouble. If you´re honest and refuse to play games, in a society which plays dirty, you´re gooing to get punished. Bruised, at least.
But I wouldn´t want it any other way. It´s a question of freedom and that priceless – little, tiny, invisible – thing called peace of mind. I wouldn´t trade them for all the games, and illusory victories, in the world.
Here´s one of the reasons I don´t play, not in my work, not in my personal life: although I refuse to enter competitions, I´m highly competitive. Once I´m in the game, I´m there to win and, honestly, you don´t want to see that side of me.
As someone (funny and spot on) once said: I go from lady to ghetto in one second.
Oh, I do.