Joana Saahirah & Zaghareet Magazine

Zaghareet last issue 5.JPGChoosing the people I want to co-create with has been a conscious choice for a while.

I´ve come to a point when I can afford to say no or yes to invitations – personal and professional – according to what my soul asks me for.

My collaboration with Zaghareet Magazine was a no brainer from the start: the team I worked with, for more than a year, was professional, respectful, kind and everything a good human who loves her/his job could ask for.

The theme of the article I wrote for the last issue of the magazine was “The Past, Present & Future of Egyptian Dance”. No better, or more urgent, subject to address.

Here´s an excerpt included in the article,  to open your appetite (taken from my book “The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond”):

Joana Saahirah on Zaghareet Magazine

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Me, on the cover of  this month´s issue of  “Zaghareet” magazine.

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This has been a collaboration made of shared love, passion and respect. It´s such a pleasure to work with high quality people and professionals! Thanks to Sharina (the magazine´s director), particularly, for her spotless professionalism, generosity and beauty.

“-Is it true you worked with Souhair Zaki, ya ustaz (mister) Mohamed? – I asked my accordionist, the best I´ve ever met, a man who could make you cry, laugh and cry again, within 3 seconds of striking a note.

Any note.

It didn´t matter which note – it was the finger that stroke the note, not the note, that made the difference. The intention, the passion, the honesty, the talent and the life experience contained in that finger defined the quality of the sound it produced. It was fancier, yet simpler, than any note produced by one of the so called “music specialists” or “technical experts”, the musicians who refused to work with dancers – whom they considered bellow their level -, resuming their work to the recording studios and live concerts with singers.

That finger, alone, proved – without words – that content, not appearances, rules Egyptian music and dance.”

Excerpt of article by Joana Saahirah published at this month´s “Zaghareet” magazine.
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The Masters of Egyptian Dance

23780_374540704885_6074320_n“What I´ve learnt from my Egyptian musicians – lessons received from the best dance judges in the world.”
 
-Is it true you worked with Souhair Zaki, ya ustaz (mister) Mohamed? – I asked my accordionist, the best I´ve ever met, a man who could make you cry, laugh and cry again, within 3 seconds of striking a note. Any note.
 
It didn´t matter which note – it was the finger that stroke the note, not the note, that made the difference. The intention, the passion, the honesty, the talent and the life experience contained in that finger defined the quality of the sound it produced. It was fancier, yet simpler, than any note produced by one of the so called “music specialists” or “technical experts”, the musicians who refused to work with dancers – whom they considered bellow them -, resuming their work to the recording studios and live concerts with singers.
 
That finger, alone, proved – without words – that content, not appearances, rules Egyptian music and dance.
 
He came from a family of illiterate accordionists who worked at street weddings and learnt from each other – observing, listening, swallowing the mood of each unrepeatable moment. They were, still are, treated like the scum of Egyptian society. For the ones who know better, they are wizards, the makers of Beauty and the sustainers of dreams in a society where dreaming can be lethal.
They chain smoked – a cheap “Cleopatra” cigar hanging from the lips or squeezed between the middle and the ring finger -, got drunk on the dust from the improvised stages they stepped on, ate humbleness for breakfast and gave birth, time after time, to the Soul of Egypt.
 
24800_379957259885_2010544_n-Give me that note, ya Hamido! – He would ask the violinist, during rehearsal, with the tone he´d use to ask for a napkin at the dinner table: casual, natural, unpretentious -, that is if he sat at the dinner table. Musicians usually don´t, except during Ramadan and other festivities that bind them to domestic routines. Tables are for Government employees, husbands who wear ties and wouldn´t admit cheating on their wives. Yes, wives – you read it well.
 
These are creatures of the night, sleeping by day and working by the night, modern day satyrs who eat whenever and wherever they can. If they can. The need to survive – and support their family -, an innate passion for music, cigars, violent ammounts of tea and other “enthusiastic”substances keep them going. No time, or permission, for suppers with the missus and the children.
For him, as for the rest of my musicians, there was no separation between art and life. One was the extension, and reflection, of the other.
 
From the first time I set my ears on these men, there was no doubt I was in the presence of the illegitimate sons of Hathor, people who aren´t mentioned in the annals of History because they´re too busy making History. Invisible, essential, love revolution History.
 
-Yes, madame. I worked with Madame Souhair.
 
-How was it to perform with her? She must have been fantastic. Tell me all about it.”
 
By Joana Saahirah
Excerpt from my next article on “Zaghareet” magazine (November/December issue).

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*If you wish to have a taste of The Magic, follow the link:

The Magic of Stillness on Zaghareet Magazine

The NEW Zaghareet magazine issue is out – September/October edition – and so is my latest article “The Magic of Stillness – replacing busy by meaningful dance (and life) “.

Proud author mode is mandatory. As I read the article, I can find loads of corrections and improvement space but I also find integrity, knowledge all of us – including me – need to access, and keep remembering, and insights that make me nod in deep agreement.

Doing is growing – no doubt.

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“Who, amongst us, is educated to stop and listen? Who has the habit of remaining still, even if just for a moment? If we stop, the world consider us dead. Yet there´s no listening to our breath without stopping, remaining still and delving into ourselves – odd luxuries in Western society. Furthermore: there´s no creativity without that still – digestive – space. Any creative person will tell you this: we need time and space to create. Destruction doesn´t demand it – we can destroy in a wink, no need for stillness or silence -; creativity does.”

Excerpt from the article.
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Joyful reading, everyone!

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Joana Saahirah & The Secrets of Egyptian Dance in Oregon, Portland, USA, proudly associated with Zaghareet Magazine.

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NEW article for “Zaghareet” coming!

The new article for “Zaghareet” magazine has been written a few days ago but the theme keeps knocking on my door, insistently, like a calling for the prayer: Stillness. Saying it our loud brings shivers to my spine. Shivers of desire, recognition, relative stress.

I´m torn between the demands of my agenda and my need to rest, remain still, be.

-Since when did breathing become a luxury? Damn!

This is not a new struggle – my internal world always knows what it needs and it´s clear about it but the external world doesn´t always agree with it. I´m in the middle, a bridge, a diplomat without diplomatic skills, trying to harmonize these two poles, often opponents. Between the writing, the dancing, the teaching, the choreographing and the travelling, I must find space for living. Just living. It has been on my agenda for a while now. What to do between 1 and 3pm? Live. Breathe. Be still. Exist.

Outch! 

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Sneak peek at the new article on the subject of Stillness or the Art of meaningful Dance (Life):

“Stillness was not on my mind while I was living and performing in Egypt – it was something I started doing, without thinking, instinctively, as an answer to the environment and its Neptunian tempo. Every one I met was doing it – or not doing, to be more precise. That ethereal, damned and blessed, thing called nothing.

Egyptian culture knows a thing or two about stillness and its perks. I´d watch the men in their loose “gallabeyas” lounging in the coffeshops, staring at thesky, smoking their “shishas” (water pipes) or palying backgammon , aka “sheesh besh”, contemplating eternity as if they had no care in the world.

Make no mistake: they had hard lives, often tragic by any standard. But they didn´t seem to show it. They lived in the now, enjoying and feeling grateful for the moment and the pleasure – or elevation – of that exotic state we call nothingness.”

By Joana Saahirah
Excerpt from my new article for “Zaghareet” Magazine.
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Joana Saahirah NEW article on “Zaghareet” magazine

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My NEW article on the fabulous “Zaghareet” Magazine (July/August issue) has been published. Got my copy in the mail this morning! Proud author/dancer mode is ON.
Thanks to Sharing and the magazine production for such a professional, beautiful collaboration ❤
“My teacher, her mother and their assistants were skinny, pale (I´d say translucid) and so fragile you´d fear they would be taken by the breeze. They wore black turtlenecks in the Summer, smoked fancy cigarrettes in a continuum of anguish I could, even as a child, identify. They hit me with a stick – bad, bad girl! – when I rolled my hips or went out of the straight line. They cursed in French and, above all, they never smiled.
But Lilith sang to me in Spanish. I had direct contact with Flamenco every time me and my family were in the extreme south of Spain (Malaga and La Línea). Right there, in the patios of Andaluzia, where my soul also resides, I was reminded there is a space for Magic beyond what the eyes can see. I knew it – there was more than those doll movements on the barre -, instinctively, but I needed the confirmation. Flamenco did the trick.”
By Joana Saahirah
Excerpt from the article published in this month´s issue.
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A sneak peek at the article. Bellow, there´s a photo of me and my dearest friend/teacher/soul dance companion Mahmoud Reda, founder of the legendary “Reda Troup” and fairly considered the father of Egyptian Folklore.

*How to purchase your issue of “Zaghareet” Magazine: http://zaghareet.freeservers.com/magazine.html

New article on Zaghareet magazine

Article June.JPGI love working with good, professional people. The team of “Zaghareet” magazine fits the mold.

I´ve been writing for the magazine for a while and every collaboration is a pleasure, an open door, a joy I add to my long bliss repertoire.

My new article – “Running away from the treasure” – published on the fabulous “Zaghareet” magazine is out there, available worldwide. June issue.

Grab yours!

“Zaghareet” magazine website: http://www.zaghareet.com/
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Zaghareet NEW issue is out!

10264302_10203914456650735_7048271827277418023_nSpring has officially started.
Many beginnings; creativity flowing in different directions; renewed purpose. So much abundance!

WorkCreativeExpansion.JPGThe new issue of “Zaghareet” magazine came in the mail and my pride for the goodies shared is stronger than ever.
The theme of my new article on this month´s issue is “What makes a great Oriental Dancer?”


More food for thought, polemic (of course! 😉 ) and constructive action.

 

 

 

Follow the link in order to get your copy of the magazine: http://www.zaghareet.com/

Flowing

 

Water Goddess Magic.JPG“Once you allow Life to impregnate you, you become pregnant with life; once you work WITH what is and not against it, you become as powerful as The Source which is guiding you. Once you embrace the container – what is NOW, not your ideal now but the real now -, you become the container.

This is the beginning of Tarab and, may I add, the beginning of personal growth. You cannot have one without the other.

Shokry Mohamed, my first teacher and a Magician of his own sort, used to close his eyes while he was dancing. He had doves in the place of his hands – black, Nubian doves that moved according to a melody beneath the music he was listening.

Shokry knew about the Flow. He didn´t dance water – he was water.

I found this Key (Ankh) in other, though not many, dancers. More in the amateurs – the lovers – than in the professionals.

Although the West tries to fit Oriental Dance into boxes that don´t belong to it – limiting it through names, cathalogs, easy & quick solutions, simplications, commercially appealing shelves -, the truth is there´s an essential part of Egyptian Dance that can only be discovered by the dancer. No teacher or external source can walk that path.”

Excerpt from an article I just wrote for  “Zaghareet” magazine (to be published soon). About the magazine: http://zaghareet.freeservers.com/magazine.html

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Joana Saahirah & Zaghareet Magazine

IMG_5433.JPGOne of those collaborations I´m truly proud of. The team of “Zaghareet” magazine is amazing – it embodies the best of the Oriental Dance World and a precious spirit of Sisterhood.

Happy to have a new article published on the January 2016 issue.
Loads of juicy informations for dancers and lovers of Oriental Dance ( The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life and Beyond by Joana Saahirah is also there).

 

 

 

Feel welcome to dig into the magic: http://zaghareet.freeservers.com/magazine.html

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