Yazan IWIDAT

2013

From : Ramallah, Palestine
To: Brussels, Belgium

BADKE - Les Ballets C de la B // Qattan Foundation

Theatre, Dance, Circus

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How did this grant contribute to the realization of your project in regard to artistic exchange, local cultural development and/or the promotion of cultural diversity?

This grant supported my trip to Belgium to partake in a residency leading to the piece "Badke" created by three well-known famous artists ( Koen Augustijnen , Rosalba Torres Guerero and Hildegard De Vuyst ) in collaboration with 10 Palestinian dancers from mixed backgrounds : their experience is shaped by the dabke , contemporary dance, hiphop, capoeira and / or circus. Our project couldn’t have happened without the exchange of cultures and ways of thinking. We took the Palestinian folkloric dance, the dabke, as a starting point. We questioned if it was possible to inject the dabke as a vital popular expression of collective belonging with contemporary information, to devise variations on it, to deconstruct it and put it back together again, even when the result feels a little topsy-turvy? How flexible is the tradition? And how can you question the tradition without frightening off the people? This would have been difficult without the external eye of a foreign contemporary choreographer because Palestinians usually have very strong ideas about right and wrong when it considers their folkdance. You need the eye of an outsider to value it again as a popular expression of festive collectivity.

How does exchange, networking and international contacts contribute to the development of your artistic and cultural project?

Attending workshops and residencies outside of Palestine is important; it shaped the way I am thinking now as a dancer, how to create material, how to choreograph and how to build a whole performance. Through this project I was exposed to new ways of thinking and dealing with dance, and through the amount of performances I saw during my stay I was able to build preferences and references which I couldn’t have done back home. This is why I consider that artistic exchange is one of the major elements that can lead to professional dance in Palestine, through the encounters with foreign dancers who came to Palestine to give workshops or perform.

Can you elaborate on the learning and knowledge you have gained and shared throughout this experience?

This project was very interesting, it was a new way of dealing with dance, choreography and creating the piece itself, dancers were asked to make decisions and not only follow a certain choreographic path, we were asked questions and were given images to try and build dance material, and then assembling the parts together in order to have a strong performance. The stay in Brussels itself was very productive, because it is the city of dance and performing arts, we were invited to attend performances during the KunstenfestivaldesArts in May which helped to shape my idea about performing arts.

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