Joana Saahirah in Portland, OR

I proud and excited to bring Joana Saahirah back to Portland this November.  She is, simply put, the whole package.  Raqs sharki technique?  Check.  Cultural understanding?  Check.  Arabic language fluency?  Experience performing in Cairo?  Egyptian Folkloric Technique learned from Mahmoud Reda himself?  Check, check, and check!

When I first came across Joana’s videos online, however, I didn’t know any of this.  Her dancing had all of the soul satisfying elements of the Egyptian greats, with interesting twists and interpretations that showed her artistry.  I simply could not stop watching.  As I began reading about her background it all made sense.  She had spent 8 years in Cairo working almost every day of the week, performing with an Egyptian orchestra.  Coupled with her lifelong background in dance and a tenacious dedication to Egyptian dance, these years laid the groundwork for the book she would publish upon returning to her home country of Portugal: The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond.

I began taking private online lessons with Joana in 2015 and her teaching was nothing less than revloutionary for me.  It was fulfilling and challenging to work with her as she demanded that I stay true to the essence of Egyptian dance.  What is that?  And how do we get there?  Were questions that circled through my own dance training for many years.  It was refreshing to have my teacher reaffirm what my instincts told me.  Egyptian dance is the language of the soul.  By working with her she helped me to clarify that relationship and it is something that has affected my dance and my life profoundly.

These workshops are for you if…

You have ever wondered:

  • What are the defining elements of Egyptian belly dance?
  • How do I capture the essence of Egyptian belly dance?
  • What makes Egyptian dancers so special?
  • How do I make art within the realm of Egyptian dance or belly dance in general?
  • How do I let go and dance from my soul?

Joana Saahirah will guide you to answer all of these questions and more over the course of these weekend workshops with her.

Workshop & Show Weekend Agenda:

NOV. 17 (FRI)
8:00 – 10:00 p.m.
The Secrets of Egypt show
at Cup and Bar

NOV. 18 (SAT) – Datura Studio
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Classic Oriental Dance Workshop

2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Abdel Halim Hafez Master Class

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Oriental Dance Q&A with Joana Saahirah

NOV. 19 (SUN) – Datura Studio
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Modern Oriental Dance Workshop

2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Tabla Solo Madness

Workshop & Show Details

The Secrets of Egypt Show!
8:00 – 10:00 p.m.
at Cup & Bar Cafe
$15 in advance / $20 at the door
*admission for one is included in the Full Weekend package*
featuring Joana Saahirah & special NW guests:
Emilie Lauren
Shaunti Fera


Classical Oriental Dance – Golden Age Trip
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Back to the Golden Age of Oriental Dance, where it all started.
Knowing Classical Oriental Dance is not only about knowing the past but, mostly, knowing the essence so we can move forward, and innovate, with quality, knowledge and respect for this art form. The more we’re rooted, the higher we can fly.
Welcome to an unforgettable trip to the Classical Language of Raks Sharki taken directly from one of Samia Gamal´s movies – technique, cultural context and choreography with veil.
P.S: Bring your own veil or similar to the class.

Abdel Halim Hafez Master Class
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Abdel Halim Hafez was a revolutionary singer who marked, as much as Mohamed Abdel Wahab, the beginning of Modern Egyptian Music & Dance.  Getting to know and dancing his music is a training in itself, one that will develop your Classical and Modern Oriental Technique, Musicality, Tarab and Interpretation skills.  A pioneer workshop inspired in a pioneer artist for pioneer dancers. Dare to expand yourself!  Technique, cultural context and choreography included.

Oriental Dance Q&A with Joana
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Join us for tea and conversation in a casual question and answer session with Joana Saahirah.  Complementary for those registered for a full weekend or single day pass. $5 for others to drop in.


Modern Oriental Dance
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
How to innovate, be creative and expand your vocabulary without losing the essence of Egyptian Dance. The shift/turning point between Classical and Modern Egyptian Dance (Badia Masabni, Om Kolthoum and Mohamed Abdel Wahab).
How to create a dance piece that is hip & soulful, fun & emotional, innovative yet connected to the roots.
Modern Oriental technique, cultural context and choreography.

Tabla Madness
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Body awareness, isolations, creative awakening in the way we use our physical tool, emotional ride through percussion, technique & full choreography – a different way to experience percussion. How to create a tabla solo which doesn’t make you feel and look like a puppet but like a human being – alive, relaxed, out of the box, sensual, imaginative & free. My inspiration, for this workshop, came from the amazing drummers who have been part of my orchestra in Cairo, Egypt, in all my years of career there. They taught me most of what I´ll teach you.  Technique & choreography.

Workshop Packages

All dance workshops and Q&A session will be held at Datura Studio.  This is a lovely boutique studio with two walls of mirrors and an a cozy lobby for tea drinking and relaxing between workshops.
Please note that workshops will be limited to 25 people this year for an optimal learning experience.

Submitting a deposit will secure your spot in the workshop package of your choice.
To retain Early Bird pricing, please pay the remainder on your package by August 31, 2017.  Prices will go up on September 1st.
Deposits are not refundable.

Please feel free to email me directly at with any questions.