Having lived and performed in Egypt for almost a decade meant three things:
1. The beginning of my international career in Egyptian Oriental and Folkloric Dance;
2. An in-depth knowledge and love for Egyptian Dance, Music, and Culture;
3. A deep, often dramatic, shift in the way I saw myself, the world, and life.
One of the most challenging aspects of living and working, as a foreigner, in a different culture, is the shock between the values we carry within and the values that...
Sensuality. Seduction. Odalisques and sultans. An exotic dance form both ancient and deliciously naughty; forbidden; even sinful.
This is how most of us see Egyptian Dance (erroneously called "belly dance").
In the middle of that melting pot of myths, prejudices, and distortions, it´s hard to organize the house and know, with absolute clarity, what are we talking about when we talk about Egyptian Oriental Dance.
Thankfully, there are facts. History. Reality....
Om Mohamed was a regular Egyptian woman.
Or so it seemed.
She wore the "hijab", like a good Muslim woman does, so says the crowd; obeyed her husband, accepted the existence of another woman in her conjugal life - her husband´s second wife -; worked at home and outside of her home, the worst of her sins, only forgiven because the family needed the money.
The neighbors spoke highly of her. Her husband´s second wife, a much appreciated help in the...
What kind of Egyptian Dance student are you? I mean, for real.
Also, does it matter? (spoiler alert #1: it does)
In all these years of career in Egyptian Dance - more than 20 years of non-stop performing, teaching, lecturing, judging, and learning from every front, first in Egypt and then around the World - I´ve noticed there are different kinds of students.
I´ve also noticed how those different kinds of students behave and how their attitude...
When most of us think about Egyptian Folklore, we don´t think about Personal Growth. Or a life-changing transformation.
In fact, we think of nothing. Of nonsense, frequently.
Egyptian Folklore has been the "poor sister" of "Raks el Sharki" ("Dance of the East"/Oriental Dance) since I can remember.
It seems to be less cool.
Yet, having performed, taught, and choreographed Egyptian Folklore for such a long time - first, in...
Let me ask you something:
When you think about Egyptian Dance, what are the first words that pop into your head?
For most of us, Egyptian Dance comes with baggage. Heavy Baggage.
My man was once asked, in an ushered, almost forbidden manner, if what "I did" was allowed for children.
I was often asked, at the beginning of my career, if what I did was a dance of seduction and whom, if I didn´t mind answering it, I was seducing.
When "Egyptian Dance" comes to the...
First, I studied in Egypt.
Then, I moved there to launch my career, develop myself as an Oriental Dancer, go deep into the ancient veins of Egypt, break my bones, and grow my wings. That´s when I fell in love with Ramadan, the main festivity in the Islamic calendar.
No, I´m not a Muslim.
Yes, I´m weary of organized Religions and aware of the gap between spirituality and institutions; although I respect the creed of every individual, for as long as...
I was sitting on our backyard, during my morning meditation, when a voice whispered in my ear:
- Emanate peace at all times and see what happens.
-Who the hell whispered that in my ear? - I thought, abruptly opening my eyes, looking over my shoulder, in search of a ghost, like a mad woman. - Who said that? - I talked with the air.
It took me a second to realize that the message was the interesting part of this story, not the messenger.
-Emanate peace at all times and see what happens. -...