ABU DHABI: Choreography spoke to light about “average people” in ANSAF; the opening contemporary dance show of SIMA’s world tour.
SIMA Dance Company allowed an audience that filled The Black Box Theater in New York University Abu Dhabi to travel to a night of contemplation, astonishment, and thoughtfulness.
Commissioned by The Arts Center in NYU AD, ANSAF (“Halves”) uses lighting, dancing, and theatrical drama to tell everyone: Beware of average people, a statement emphasized by SIMA's brochure cover.
The contemporary dance performance was choreographed by Alaa Krimed, the founder of SIMA, along with Wesam AlSawi as Dramaturg, and Sandhya Lalloo-Morar as Costume Designer.
All aspects of a theatrical dance show were completed in "ANSAF," and SIMA sees that any theater production should entail these different elements complementing each other.
“The choreographies, body movement, costumes, lighting, music, and scenography are fundamental in the process of delivering the message,” SIMA said.
Through this holistic masterpiece, SIMA not only uses contemporary dance to narrate a story, but to also a convey political, social, and ethical message. Simple black and white clothing dominate, while ropes, and a few other objects are used in the dance-focused show.
As for the name, SIMA said that the inspiration of “ANSAF” came after reading a book by Canadian philosopher Alain Deneault titled “Mediocracy: The Politics of the Extreme Centre.”
The book posits that those with average levels of competence rise to power and define success for every facet of contemporary society, from finance to education to the arts in terms of commercial viability, creating a culture of mediocrity with no place for the intelligent, creative, thought-provoking, or non-commercialist.
On stage, the rise of power, superiority, and humiliation by those who don’t conform to the "average,” are revealed through what seems to be a simple body movement, but behind which lies extensive training.
SIMA wanted to highlight the reality that “we are surrounded by mediocrity everywhere in life, and by people in high positions that they don’t deserve to be in.”
The lighting plays a major role in the show, just like it does in all the works of SIMA. In ANSAF, “each scene had to have a light design that is set according to what it conveys.”
A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
SIMA seems to inspire young dancers who aspire to reach similar success.
It ultimately inspired many people, such as 22-year-old member of the audience Zain Saleh, who sees how "SIMA took time to re-establish itself in a new place."
Saleh has been a professional dancer for seven years, and he told Annahar: “I love SIMA’s concepts and how they incorporate them in their dances”. The young Interior Designer who also studied fashion is specifically interested in how SIMA dancers tackle unsaid things with their moves.
“For me, as a shy person, dancing is louder than words,” Saleh said, adding that “SIMA is what he sees himself building in the future.”
DANCE BUILDING BRIDGES
SIMA Dance Company consists of choreographer and artistic director Alaa Krimed, lead dancer, choreographer's assistant Lana Fahmi, along with 25 male and female professional dancers from different cultures and dance backgrounds.
SIMA opened its own performing arts space in Alserkal Avenue (Sima Performing Arts) in Dubai, where it offers dance classes to the public. “It’s a great way to meet new dancers there,” SIMA mentioned.
However, it is distinctive to note that back in 2003, SIMA started with five dancers when it was first founded in Damascus, Syria. The number of dancers increased to 70 in 2013, before the team moved to Beirut, Lebanon.
SIMA was well-received by the Syrian community and claims that it “had the privilege” to perform several productions at the Opera House and many other prestigious venues.
After that, it stayed in Beirut for three years, where it was also well-received by the Lebanese community. It also achieved big success there in 2014 by winning the title of Arab’s Got Talent in 2014.
In that same year, SIMA moved to Dubai and re-established itself. That is where it also had the opportunity to open Sima Performing Arts; a contemporary arts space and open platform for artists to share.
“Being pioneers of this Art form in the UAE, as a contemporary dance company we aim to present the art of dance from Arab artists and deliver a professional and artistic level with highly trained professionals,” SIMA told Annahar.
The exceptional team has several projects for the rest of 2019 and for 2020, also featuring ANSAF.
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