- Published on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 10:41
The seventh Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, which opened last week in the West Bank city of Ramallah, has drawn thousands of people from the occupied Palestinian territory.
The festival brings international and local performers to a number of venues in various Palestinian West Bank cities and Jerusalem to give local audiences a chance to interact with the international arts and cultures, its organizers say. The festival also features studio showings, presentations of local choreographers’ work and dance workshops.
"Every year around 14 to 17 international dance troupes visit Palestine and perform different styles of dancing. We hold dance and photography workshops. It is important to the Palestinian cause. We do not need to tell them about the Palestinian cause, they come here and see the reality for themselves. They are our ambassadors and voice in their countries,” organizer Zuzu Habash said in Ramallah.
This year the festival hosts 15 local and international dance companies, including the award-winning British dance company “BalletBoyz,” known for their energetic and dramatic style, who opened the festival in Ramallah on Thursday, April 21.
Festival-goers said they enjoyed the show and praised the cultural initiative.
“The performance was very nice and new. We were introduced to a new dance which we enjoyed. It was a new idea and I hope we can always enjoy this kind of performance in Palestine,” said Joyce Tanous, a member of the audience.
The “BalletBoyz” performance moved on to Jerusalem on Saturday, April 21, as the festival kicked off in the holy city’s Palestinian National Theater.
“It was beautiful. I hope we will get to enjoy other performances in the future because people like it,” said Waleed Attallah, an enthusiastic festival-goer.
The head of the Yabous cultural center in Jerusalem and organizer of the Jerusalem part of the festival, Rania Elias, said she hoped the festival would boost cultural exchange between Palestinians in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, divided by Israel’s separation barrier.
“(Jerusalem’s) Yabous cultural center cooperates with Sirriyet (cultural center in) Ramallah to break Jerusalem’s isolation and bring about a cultural exchange. (We also aim) to introduce different international contemporary dance groups to Jerusalem audiences,” she said.
The festival which closes on Thursday, May 3, is sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, the Ramallah Municipality, the Swiss Organization for Cooperation and Development and the Goethe Institute.