Bahrain has one of the most vibrant arts scenes in the Gulf. Each summer it puts on a summer festival in Manama, the country’s capital.
The annual Bahrain Summer Festival showcases some home grown talent as well as demonstrating a broad minded and eclectic attitude towards the arts.
Among the performers, Bahrain’s leading break-dancer, Abdullah, who explained the attraction: “Break-dancing isn’t very well known in Bahrain. It’s just us the youth, you know. We try to stay out of trouble, you know. And it is the best thing we’ve ever found. That’s why we try to keep it upgraded and developed. We try to show the younger ones to be like us.”
Also being introduced to young people in the capital is classical ballet. The young dance students from the National Centre for Culture and Arts, in Jordan, performed an adaptation of the classical ballet, Scheherazade, a story that is well-known in the Arab world
One of the Jordanian dancers, Bijan Qutub, explained why he was happy to perform in Bahrain: “It’s a great experience for me as I can share my experience and my passion for ballet in different countries and spreading the joy of dance throughout the world. And Bahrain is a really great country and I have been happy with the feedback of our performances.”
Even calligraphy gets a modern, street-wise make-over. Arabic letters embellished to resemble the international language of graffiti are the work of Bahraini artist Huvil.
“We’re a small country. It’s only an island. And there’s not lots of places to go. So I am trying to bring a new activity, a new way, a new form that people will understand and will try to practice and master.So by bringing street art here in Bahrain I feel that people will practice and will find something new,” he said.
The festival’s multi-cultural programme includes everything from Tunisian mask dancers to traditional dancers from India.
The Bahrain Summer Festival, in the city of Manama, runs until September 9.