March 29th, 2020
Today, I landed in Egypt...
Nothing can top dancing to live music in Egypt...It was also a joy to meet Farida Fahmy and to visit Mohammed Ali street. But just being in Egypt with Sahra, who is a wealth of knowledge and experience and generosity, made the trip an experience I'll never forget. I couldn't begin to plan a trip like this on my own and hope to learn as much as I did.
JtE 3 & 4 are educational explorations of Cairo & Luxor/Aswan respectively. During our time in Egypt we explore the history and culture of the places we visit in the context of Egyptian dance and what they represent & have represented through the years. In keeping with JtE 1 & 2, levels 3 & 4 are highly educational and show a lot of the things learned in levels 1 & 2 in context.
As such it is a requirement that all participants attending JtE 3 & 4 have completed levels 1 & 2 by the time the tour begins. Exceptions are only made for friends & family that are attending with you.
This is the trip of a lifetime and the one you've been dreaming about since you first became interested in this art form. Drawing on Sahra's 30 years of research in the field, you will directly meet, and interview some of her own contacts in Egypt and benefit from her myriad of connections and insights.
Seeing Egypt through Sahra's eyes will give you a deeper understanding of the dance. The same one that you got a glimpse of in JtE 1 & 2.
The lived experience, knowledge, movements, and unique approach of JTE have made me a better and more discerning dance performer, student, researcher, and teacher. I'm doing a better job at serving the various communities this dance is a part of, and that means the world to me. I'm doing a better job honoring the dances, people, and cultures, this dance is a part of and, inshallah, because of that, dancing more beauty into the world.
You can stop after JtE-3, head back home and digest all that you've seen and learned on your journey. Or, you could stick around for 11 more days, make the most of that plane ticket, and learn more than you could've ever dreamed.
Most of our attendees choose to take both levels back to back, but if you're returning home after JtE-3 you'll leave us on the 5th of April. Those continuing on will take a sleeper train that night to Luxor, where the next journey begins.
If you are only attending JtE-4, you should time your flight to arrive in Luxor on the 5th. We will have someone pick you up at the airport.
April 6th - April 16th, 2020
JtE-4 takes us to Upper Egypt, away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo and to the shores of the Nile.
After the business of Cairo, our hotel in Luxor, Geizeira Gardens, will provide some peace and quiet. This is Sahra's favorite place to stay while doing her research, soothing the mind and soul and providing a recharge as we ramp up into the next phase of the journey.
With an amazing open space, and connections to many of the local musicians, it's a place to rest, to learn, and to dance!
In Luxor, we have the good fortune of learning from practitioners from many of the different tables. The last performing Mazin sister, Khyriya will teach us the steps traditional to her family of Ghawazee. A member of the local governate group will teach us the art of the Assaya, and a local professional will teach us the traditional Sa'idi Khafafa dance.
It wouldn't be a trip to Luxor without visiting some of the most famous tombs and temples to be found in Egypt. Here we will visit the infamous Valley of the Kings & the Temple of Hatshepsut (pictured below). We will also explore for the hieroglyphs depicting the tahtib and dancing, showing the true age of aspects of our dance.
We will also spend our time in Luxor dancing away at a local live music events. Featuring local professionals, some of which you may recognize from our dance lessons, you'll feel what it's like to party Egyptian style.
We'll also visit the Nubian House Luxor, a local establishment that helps support women by creating and selling traditional Nubian goods. If you've been following Sahra for a while, it's where our much loved Nubian scarves come from!
The Moulid of abu hagag
Your time in Luxor is timed to coincide with the Moulid of Abu Hagag. During this event you'll be able to see Tahtib performed first hand, watch the Dora (the final parade of the Abu Hagag Moulid) and much more. All other events in Luxor are arranged around these festivities to give everyone the best chance of experiencing this amazing cultural event!
Once we've had all the fun we can in Luxor, it's time to head to Aswan. We'll be traveling by bus, but don't worry! The journey is broken up by two stops at famous temples along the way with our favorite tour guide!
Exploring the Nile
While we are near the Nile in Luxor, in Aswan we use it to travel. Our boatman Karim will take us down the Nile to various events, in moments that you will never forget. Watch the sand dunes give way to the lush grasses of the Nile, visit the Botanical Gardens during one of your free periods, and feel the wind whip through your hair as you travel down one of the world's most famous rivers.
You'll spot the Nubian village straightaway, indicated by its uniquely shaped buildings rising amidst the green that lines the Nile.
Visit Philae Temple, one of the temples moved due to the flooding that would occur when the Aswan High Dam was completed. Now an island in the middle of the reservoir it is beautiful and has quite the interesting story.
Look out over Lake Nassar as you stand on the damn that buried the farmland of the Nubians. Heartbreaking it may be, but the resilience of the Nubian people is amazing.
I never felt so alive; enjoying cardamon coffee and Nubian dancing on the hilltop overlooking the Nile in Aswan.. sweating and dancing w/ Khariya Mazin and getting to savor her sweet smile and tea.... those rare moments when you just follow your passion and live fully. You could never regret making that plunge.
While we are in Aswan we immerse ourselves in all things Nubian. We will visit Nubian villages & famillies, attend celebrations with local professionals, and learn a dance choreographed just for us by one of the members of the local governate group.
The Nubian people love to dance, and the events we attend are always a blast. Rarely will you find anyone sitting out the festivities!
We will also visit a museum dedicated to the Nubian people, their crafts, and their story.
If you wish to have a Nubian dress made for our graduation dance, we will have time to order it during JtE-3 in Cairo.
Our time in Egypt comes to an end with one of the most joyful experiences. We've spent the past several days immersed in Nubian culture and learning our graduation dance. For our graduation we perform our dance against the backdrop of the Nile. Stomping and clapping and joyfully reliving each moment of our journey.
JtE-4 spans 11 days in Luxor and Aswan where there is so much to learn about the Sa'idi and Nubian peoples. Completely different than JtE-3, Upper Egypt has a charm all its own that's sure to have you wishing you could stay longer.
As we celebrate the end of this journey, many of us find that it's only the beginning. Having experienced Egypt in this way many students are inspired to begin researching topics that came to mind while in Egypt.
JtE-4 is officially over and we return to Cairo via sleeper train, arriving on the morning/afternoon of the 16th. We will check into the Novotel near the airport for our final goodbyes. You may have all been strangers 3 weeks ago, but now you'll be sad to see your travel companions go.
You'll make lifelong friends and contacts with dancers all over the world. We've had attendees from the USA, Canada, Samoa, Germany, The Czech Republic, Russia, and many more.
Expand your knowledge, your understanding, and your cultural appreciation and join us in 2020 for the journey of a lifetime.
It is the gold standard if you are interested in the dance and culture of Egypt. I would say that if you take only one workshop or course of study in your dance career, make it this one. You will learn incomparable things about Egyptian dance and people, past and present.
JTE-3 – March 29th – April 5th
JTE-4 – April 6th – April 16th
You may choose to attend one or both of the events.
Departure JtE-3: If you take only JtE-3 you may book your return flight anytime on from the afternoon of the 5th. At the end of JtE-3 we can either take you to the airport, to the Novotel Cairo Airport (not included in tour pricing) for your last night in Egypt if your flight is leaving early the morning of the 6th, or if you'll be spending more time in Cairo after the end of the tour we're happy to drop you off wherever you'll be staying for the rest of your trip.
If you are continuing on to JtE-4, you'll simply stay with the group as we pack and get to the sleeper train that will take us to Luxor. No additional planning is required, it is all covered under the tour.
*Arrival JtE-4 : If you only attend JtE-4, you will be expected to arrive in Luxor by April 5th in order to meet everyone in Luxor in time for classes. The cost of the night of the 5th is included in your price if you arrive a day early.
Departure JtE-4: JtE-4 finishes the morning of April 16th when we arrive into Cairo on the sleeper train. We will be going to the Novotel Cairo Airport to await our flights. If your flight is leaving on April 17th and you wish to book the night at the hotel, you must do so personally before arriving in Cairo. If you will be staying in Egypt longer we are happy to drop you off at your accommodations for the rest of your stay upon our return to Cairo, but you MUST return to Cairo with us.
For all options listed below the following items are included:
- All lodging from 03/29 – 04/5 (JtE-3) and 04/06 - 04/16 (JtE-4). All nights before or after are the attendee’s responsibility.
- The rooms are double occupancy, but single, private rooms, are available at an extra cost. You will have an opportunity to select your roomate prior to the tour. If you would like to inquire about the extra costs for a single room, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2 meals per day
- All JtE Dance Classes, events, and tours. Events are listed above, but you can also scroll to the bottom of this page to see all the events included listed more simply.
- All transportation to and from any JtE Events upon arrival in Egypt.
Items not included:
- Airfare & Visa costs
- Any snacks & water
- Additional hotel nights
- A Nubian dress if you choose to purchase one for the Graduation Ceremony (about $100.00 USD custom made during JtE-3)
- Any free time activities & transportation to/from, though we’re happy to arrange transportation for you.
- Travel insurance is required for both levels of the tour, however you are responsible for obtaining your own. Once you register we're happy to send over our recommendations.
We understand that money can be a barrier. To that effect, there is a very open payment plan policy. You can pay it all up front, all at the end, or at any time in between. The only stipulations are
- You have to pay the entire amount by February 15th, 2020.
- You have to notify us of what your payment schedule is going to be.
- You may pay the remainder of the balance by check or Paypal. If you are not located in the United States, we can provide the information for a wire transfer as well.
Plans change, we get it. If you have to cancel your participation in the tour you will receive a refund minus your deposit. Deposits are non-refundable. Deposits can be transferred to other attendees up until January 1st, 2020. After which they are non-transferable.
A NOTE ON SAFETY
You, or your loved ones, may have some reservations about visiting Egypt at this time. Sahra has been dancing, researching, and making friends in Egypt for the past 30 years. While we’re on the tour she is always calling ahead and talking to the locals. If anything is going on, She’ll know about it, and avoid any potential situations before they happen. Safety is #1 always on the tour, as it should be!
Our contacts on the ground in Egypt are locals, and very aware of what is going on at any given time because they live & work in the neighborhoods we’ll be in. They’re great people to talk to and can provide a ton of insight into the people and culture of Egypt!
Before JtE-3 & 4, I was a little worried about the security situation in Egypt. However, I trusted in the judgement of Sahra as well as of my significant other, who is Arab, and I went for it. I was soglad I did, because both times (both post-revolution), I felt perfectly safe and secure. Sahra has SO many reliable contacts in Egypt and has a good understanding of the situation "on the ground," and I knew she and her contacts would not knowingly lead any of us into a dangerous sitation.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to write in to info[at]JourneyThroughEgypt[dot]com and we’ll personally address them. We want you to feel as safe as Sahra does when traveling in Egypt, and sometimes knowing how things actually are instead of the media’s portrayal will help with that confidence. Remember, Sahra been traveling to Egypt twice a year for 30 years, and lived there for almost a decade. If it wasn’t safe, she wouldn’t keep going!
As you’ll find is the way in Egypt, a lot of things cannot be confirmed until we are on the ground. Sahra arrives in Egypt at least 1 week prior to the start of JtE 3 & 4, and until that time the schedule cannot be guaranteed.
There will be limited free time on the tour where you are more than welcome to schedule private lessons with local dancers, shop for costumes, or see sites that we will not be seeing as part of the events. However, this is an educational tour and you are expected to attend all events.
We recommend if you're looking to do a lot of any of the above to arrive in Cairo a day or two early to do so. You are responsible for any extended stay reservations. You will recieve the contact information of our hotels during booking so that you make make any extra arrangements with them directly. Airport pickups happen on March 28th - 6th. Other arrival dates will need to make special arrangements from the airport.
If you plan to arrive early, please email us at email@example.com so that we can make a note!
Below are some lists that include all the events we will be attending during each event. Dates will be solidified closer to the event, perhaps even as late as the week before when Sahra arrives in Egypt due to the nature of planning a tour of this kind in Egypt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a Visa to Travel to Egypt?
If you are a US citizen you will get your visa upon arrival in Cairo. Instructions on how to do so will be sent out before your departure date.
If you are joining us from a country other than the United States you will have to check your country's policies. This site can help to determine where to start.
I'm really interested in taking classes from ______ dancer while I'm in Egypt, when can I schedule those?
There are a couple of free periods worked into the schedule, but those times cannot be guaranteed until the tour has begun due to the way things tend to work in Egypt.
We suggest if you have your heart set on taking classes from a particular dancer, or seeing a particular show, to arrive a day or two early to Cairo to explore and fit in some extra sightseeing.
Can My Friend/Family member come with me?
We are happy to allow accompanying friends and family to attend without the pre-requites of JTE 1 & 2 as long as they are not dancers.
Bellydance friends must have completed the course to attend.
You will be responsible for keeping them up to speed on some of the finer details they may have missed from the courses if you haven't already talked their ear off about them!
They will be required to attend the pre-tour webinars to get an idea of the course basics to aid in their understanding and learning during the tour.
Are JtE 1 & 2 Required?
JtE 1 & 2 are non-negotiable requirements for attendance of JTE 3 & 4.
JtE 3 is a requirement for attendance of JtE -4.
Each level builds on the previous ones and creates a more cohesive learning experience
Not interested in April 2020? Join our waitlist to hear about our next tour!
Members of the JtE Dance Archive get first dibs on tickets, but you'll be the second to know if you sign up below!