Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival 2011
From 14 April to 5 May, the sixth Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival (RCDF) will take place in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem. Twenty performances will be organised by Sareyyet Ramallah - First Ramallah Group in association with 15 spectacular Arab and international troupes.
RCDF promotes cultural exchange between Palestinians and internationals, exposing local performers to a diverse range of contemporary dance to develop their capacities. The festival targets the whole Palestinian public but especially youth.
Among the most outstanding troupes is the highly sought after Akram Khan Company from Britain. The Algerian Hervé Koubi will perform the opening ceremony, and William Forsythe, a prominent German troupe named after the famed choreographer, will also be appearing. Other notable participants are Suzanne Miller and Allan Paivio Productions from Canada, Tok’Art from Portugal, Chunky Move from Australia, Linga from Switzerland, Pockemon from France, Panta Rei from Norway, Nats Nus Dansa from Spain, Anania from Morocco, and Chatha from Tunisia.
Palestine will be represented by three troupes, with new works including “6 Seconds in Ramallah” from El-Funoun Dance Troupe, together with the Japanese Choreographer Yoshiko Chuma. The Hard Knocks School and Allaz Theater from Acre will perform “Here and Now,” and the Sareyyet Ramallah Troupe will present “Sandwishet Labaneh.”
The great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish will have a special presence through two performances. “Coffee” from the Tunisian Chatha Troupe and “Here and Now” from Allaz Theater both use his poetry as a framework.
The festival will host nine contemporary dance workshops for local dancers and troupes, including “Dance on Camera” techniques. The workshops will run for a month, supervised by the French choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker Ludovic Jolivet, the Chilean director Francisco Campos-Lopez, and Paul Emerson, director of the American CityDance Ensemble. The workshops will produce documentaries on the festival, to be shown at the French-German Cultural Center in Ramallah on 10 May.
As usual, the festival will celebrate International Dance Day on 29 April, featuring popular dance troupes as well as fashion shows, food, handicrafts, and popular children’s games. This day aims to disseminate Palestinian popular heritage, celebrate Palestinian cultural heritage, and introduce Palestinian popular dance to the international troupes.
Among the most important events is the Dance Conference (28 April to 1 May) entitled “Dance and Social Change,” featuring Palestinian, Arab, and foreign speakers.
The RCDF was launched in 2006. In 2007, Masahat Contemporary Dance Network was established with the membership of Sareyyet Ramallah (Palestine), Maqamat Dance Theater (Lebanon), Tanween Dance Theater (Syria), and the National Center for Culture and Performing Arts (Jordan). Since then, contemporary dance festivals are coordinated annually in all four countries.
In 2008, RCDF won the A.M. Qattan Award for Distinguished Cultural Works, reflecting its continued excellence and improvement. Today the festival has global renown and prestige with which to attract international troupes. It now works throughout the year with a growing list of partners. The most recent joint production was “Naji Al-Ali” with Sareyyet Ramallah Dance Troupe and the Italian Botega Dance Company which was performed at the Italian Bolzano Festival in July 2010. In its first workshop abroad, two dancers from Sareyyet Ramallah assisted an event at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
The RCDF sixth round is funded by the EU, the Ramallah Municipality, the A.M. Qattan Foundation, the Swiss Cultural Foundation - Pro Helvitia, the French Consulate General in Jerusalem, the Goethe Institute, the British Council, the Spanish Cooperation, the Portuguese Representative Office, and the Australian Representative Office.