Photographer Lara Zankoul
Creative director / Stylist Wassim Fakhoury
Dancers: Beirut Contemporary Ballet / Jana G. Younes - Wafa Bouti - Anthony Nakhle - Mira Majzoub
Article by: Jens Bjerregaard
An undeniable expression of life
Dance, at its essence, is an expression of joy and life itself. It is something that all of us hopefully have experienced in our own bodies or at least have felt when seeing a child surrendering himself to movement. Dance likes to be the centre of attention – it’s rare for it to be left in the background - it demands attention. This essence is ever present in any form of dance that is shaped, defined and represented in our culture.
Dance in our culture
Dance never happens in a vacuum, it is very often a tool of story telling. When you are letting go and dancing like crazy at a party, it is because that party itself allows it. Formal and/or social dances, from what you do at weddings to ballroom dances, are all there to define social and gender norms. We all live with dance, are affected by it and communicate with it.
However, the beautiful paradox is that dance does not tolerate rigidity and excessive control; instead it demands fluidity and change to come to life. So even when dance is a part of a status quo and norms, it is also a treat to norms - dance is in its nature a revolution that at times can scare the ones in power. Dance has always been gender defined; Male dancers lead female dancers in ballroom dance, the roles in ballet for ballerinas are clearly defined topping it with the use of point shoes.
It was not until the emergence of modern dance early last century that we saw dance breaking away from the established norms with female choreographers and performers that clearly broke the established norms. Female artists – such as Martha Graham - were in of charge of defining the story telling, the discipline and training of dance. There are still enormous strides to take, but Modern dance and its baby contemporary dance are still the front-runners when it comes to address current issues and inequalities.
Dance is a place where we can provoke norms such as traditional gender roles. On stage, we can manage to do something other than the usual ballet set up where the male dancer sneaks up behind the ballerina, grabs and lifts her. We have in dance a real opportunity and I guess a mission to show age and gender roles under a new light....
Read the full article / Photoshoot on ACT Magazine - Issue Number 2 - July 2020