Beirut dance festival celebrates the collision of bodies and words

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Beirut dance festival celebrates the collision of bodies and words

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The Beirut International Platform of Dance, one of the most important dance festivals in the Middle East, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with 10 shows by internationally acclaimed companies.

Among them is ‘Hibr’, which means ‘ink’ in Arabic, by Lebanese contemporary dance company Maqamat, a show about the energy released by the collision of bodies and words.

Omar Rajeh, the festival’s director and the founder and choreographer of Maqamat, said: “It’s not about dance itself, but it’s about our life, it’s about how we see our bodies also, how we deal with our bodies.

“It’s about this kind of perception of the body on stage but also the body in life itself. How do we treat this body, what is this body basically,” he added.

The Russell Maliphant company, named after its founder and award-winning British choreographer, performed its show ‘Still Current’ on the opening night.

For some of the dancers in the company, this is a first visit to the Middle East, and they wanted to make sure the show would not offend audiences.

“In the work, it’s a lot of male and female close contact, we had a lot of kind of discussions about how that would develop and how it would be accepted by the audience,” said dancer Carys Staton.

One of the highlights of this year’s programme is ‘Happy as Larry’, a playful and poignant new show by Australian choreographer Shaun Parker, which investigates the elusive nature of human happiness.

This powerful production combines a mix of ballet, break-dance, roller-skating and highly physical contemporary dance.

In addition to the performances, this year’s BIPOD also includes dance workshops and meetings with the artists.

The Beirut International Platform of Dance runs until April 27.

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