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Zara's Zouk - An exclusive Interview with Joana of Cairo !!
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MAKE SURE YOU ARE DISPLAYING THE IMAGES THEY ARE REALLY STRIKING !!

JOANA OF CAIRO

Special Edition Newsletter


Marhaba! This month the Zara's Zouk Newsletter has an EXCLUSIVE interview with one of my favourite dancers, Joana Saahira of Cairo.  Having danced in Cairo for 8 years  Joana comes to the UK in June to share her wisdom and knowledge with two all day workshops (1st & 2nd June, Euston, London)
"Om Kolthoum Treasures" and "The Secrets of Egyptian Dance"  
She is offering our readers *YOU*  an exclusive discount, 'til Friday 9th May, book
Two Workshops (10hrs) for ONLY £100
instead of £160, That's a discount of £60!!
 

Welcome Joana and THANK YOU for doing this interview. We are all looking forward to having you come in June!
I'm very happy to be back. During my December workshops I found a very talented dance community in the UK. I feel thrilled to be back, helping to raise the Oriental Art/Dance standards further - I know everyone will be up for the challenge.

What have you been up to since your last visit? 
I've been finishing my BOOK: an account of the last 8 years of my life, as a successful dancer in Egypt. There are lots of personal stories of how I built my career and learnt the major "Dance and Life" lessons from the Great School of Mysteries of Egypt. I've also been travelling all over the world to teach, perform and deliver conferences on "Egyptian Culture".

 

MAKE SURE YOU ARE DISPLAYING THE IMAGES THEY ARE REALLY STRIKING !!
And what will you be doing in the UK?
I will be teaching two pioneer and life changing workshops on the 1st and 2nd June"Om Kolthoum Treasures" and "The Secrets of Egyptian Dance" and offering private lessons and shows for those interestedWhen planning these workshops, I have taken into consideration the major and common fragilities I've observed, on my travels, in most dancers - independently of their nationality.

These workshops are URGENT, PASSIONATE and contain GROUND BREAKING MATERIAL. They promise to addresses those fragilities and faults that keep, YOU-dancers from reaching your full potential as artists, teachers and - most of all - human beings.
 
MAKE SURE YOU ARE DISPLAYING THE IMAGES THEY ARE REALLY STRIKING !!

What would you say are the most important lessons you have learnt on your journey in mastering such an authentic Egyptian Style ?
These are the topics I will be covering in the workshops. In order to be a great artist you need to develop as a person, know yourself and others with humbleness, curiosity, compassion and love. I realized what Egyptian dance REALLY is when I found myself alone and with no guidance, in Cairo, a full hour professional show on my back, working with the best Egyptian musicians in town and performing daily for the most knowledgeable audience - the Egyptians. 
It became clear that I had to touch my audience on an emotional and spiritual level, for them to return to my shows. Nice dresses, sparkling make-up and good technique were not enough!

 

I had to push myself into a LANGUAGE that is older than the Pyramids which Egyptians carry inside their genes: soul language. I also realized I had to discover myself and put it out on stage - creating a language of my own, inside the common Oriental Dance language. You need to do that as a  dancer.

In discovering (maybe remembering!*) my own dance style I was able to touch my
 audience's hearts This was the only way I could survive in the Cairo jungle and thrive - despite and against all kinds of (very odd) odds (forgive me the pleonasm).

 

Mastering a genuine Egyptian style is a combination of education (of the dance, music, cultural context, etc), self-assurance, self-knowledge and the courage to assume your uniqueness. Having the guts to expose our raw feelings and inner world is a MUST for everyone who wishes to shine! I stress that these June workshops will work on this ..... 
 

You have talked of the styles of belly dancing you have seen on your travels. How do they differ from those in Cairo?
Travelling and teaching around world has given me opportunities to see new styles and approaches within the Middle Eastern Dances realm. I learn from all these variations, styles, perspectives and even mistakes. In general, there is great work being developed but there is  still an ignorance towards what Egyptian Dance REALLY IS.

What I miss most is the ESSENCE of Egyptian dance, the expression, the interpretation, the emotional and spiritual dimension which make Egyptian dance unique, magical and transformative.

There are still misconceptions that reduce this dance to a group of basic acrobatic/aerobic movements everyone can master and show off on a stage as "an exotic dance". There is a lack of realisation that Egyptian dance is a language of the heart/soul that speaks to other human beings.... but we are heading in the right direction - we'll get there soon! :)


MAKE SURE YOU ARE DISPLAYING THE IMAGES THEY ARE REALLY STRIKING !!
Finally, I am intrigued to know, from who and what do you draw your dance inspiration?
I draw inspiration from Life: everything: everyone. I consider myself an eternal, avid, enthusiastic and curious student, catching inspiration everywhere and through everyone. From the moment one understands Oriental Dance IS LIFE then inspiration is everywhere: we just need to open our eyes* to see* IT*.

T
he other day I looked down from my balcony here in Cairo and saw a group of men playing "sheesh beesh" (backgammon) and noticed how the pieces of the game knocked and danced between these men´s fingers. A new choreography was born from this - apparently ordinary scene.
Pablo Picasso´s paintings also offer me precious ideas for dances; the feeling of a loved one´s hug; passion; children; animals playing, the wind...the list is endless. One has to be ALIVE - truly ALIVE to see Dance where it really is - everywhere!
Those are lovely words, THANK YOU - I can't wait 'til June !! 
Thanks and many hugs, J*.  
Want to know more about Joana? She has a fantastic website and blog- both are great assets to dancers: WEBSITE: www.joanasaahirah.com Blog "Diary of Egypt": www.joanabellydance.blogspot.com 

 
Don't forget Joana has offered our readers *YOU* an exclusive discount: Book the
two workshops (10hrs) for ONLY £100
instead of £160- That's a £60 discount?!?!
I can't stress how amazing that is - I have trained with Joana in the past  & recommend her strongly. This discount MUST end on FRIDAY 9th May so book now and 
take your dance to the next level! 
Click for workshop details
 
CLICK & BOOK YOUR DISCOUNTED JOANA WORKSHOPS NOW

-- Other Announcements --

TRIBAL TREASURES


BELTS, CHOKERS, PENDANTS, NECKLACES
 
Exciting new arrivals!  Many are vintage pieces with their own character, history and story. They are becoming harder and harder to get hold of.  Others are newly made by Afghan refugees and Tribal people using traditional patterns and techniques. Fantastic prices so


CHECK THEM OUT 
and get yourself a gift for life. 
You know they go FAST!!

-- The Oxford Bonanza 25th May --

I will be teaching a Shaabi Workshop at the Oxford Bellydance Bonanza in May 

This workshop promises to give a real taste of Shaabi and help you master the audience interaction skills which are key to the style!  There are also loads of other fantastic events going on during the day so check it out and SIGN UP...
MAKE SURE YOU ARE DISPLAYING THE IMAGES THEY ARE REALLY STRIKING !!

EVENTS YOU JUST CAN'T MISS


12th MAY Bellydance Trophies, Wembley
 It is the quarter finals and I am competing so come and support me and my fellow competitors.  It is a night that never fails to entertain! 
19th May, Arabic Night, Soho 
With a new venue that promises an unmissable night, full of Arabic ambiance and great performers. Please come along if you can as i will be dancing.
LIKE THE NEWSLETTER ? We really hope so! If you do please share the newsletter and tell your friends. Love Zara & Sandra x x 
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