IDDFL: Unleashing the art of dance

Amateur dancers were given the opportunity to meet and learn from the professionals. Eighty-nine workshops, six performances, and a series of lectures tackling diverse topics from the dance field were held over the eight-day festival.
by Sally Farhat

13 April 2019 | 10:43

Source: by Annahar

  • by Sally Farhat
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 13 April 2019 | 10:43

A troup of International Dance Day Festival performers hit that stage at LAU. (Annahar)

BEIRUT: The Department of Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University hosted the 9th edition of the International Dance Day Festival in Lebanon. This year’s festival sought dance as a means to reflect on the collective title “Rituals of Being.”

Running from April 5 to April 12, IDDFL brought together acclaimed national and international dance artists such as Rain Ross, Mathew Henley, Beau Hancock, Christy McNeil, Jessie Levey, and Victoria Hunter, for one cause: to enhance the public’s dance awareness.

Amateur dancers were given the opportunity to meet and learn from the professionals. Eighty-nine workshops, six performances, and a series of lectures tackling diverse topics from the dance field were held over the eight-day festival.

“This has been a series of eight days with a lot of work with the artists,” said Nadra Assaf, Associate Chair of the Department of Communication Arts and Organizer of IDDFL. She then continued to thank the university administration and bodies for supporting the festival throughout the years.

Open and free to the public, the various offered classes covered different dance styles such as contemporary dance, hip hop, salsa, and break dance. Thirty-three instructors and 721 participants took part in the festival. While everyone was welcomed to participate, a few dancers not only attended these workshops but also, took extra rehearsal sessions in preparation for the gala performance, which was held on April 12 at LAU Beirut.

“Why do we dance? For entertainment? Sure. But, dance is much more than fun,” Jad Melki, Chair of the Department of Communication Arts, said in his opening words. “Dance is political. Dance is resistance.”

“The Department of Communication Arts at LAU continues to be committed to reinvent dance and by that to reinvent communication,” he added.

Audiences from all ages filled the seats of Irwin Hall waiting excitingly for the performance to start. The lights shortly dimmed, and dancers took over the stage. Their swift moves transmitted to the audience a series of messages about the “Rituals of Being…” through six different dances: “Changed By the Waves,” choreographed by Rain Ross in collaboration with the dancers; “Echoes,” choregraphed by Mathew Henley; “Prelude,” choreographed by Beau Hancock; “Shoufni,” choreographed by Jessie Levey; “Compulsions,” choreographed by Christy McNeil Chand in collaboration with the dancers; and “Silent Disco: Rituals of VH,” choreographed by Nadra Assaf, Rain Ross, Beau Hancock, Mathew Henley, Christy McNeil-Chand, and Jessie Levey.

“I have been participating in IDDFL for the past seven years; it was and still remains an amazing experience,” Mia Shahwan, dancer from Al Sarab Dance School who participated in this year’s festival edition, told Annahar. “Through the program, we got to meet international artists and got exposed to new experiences, which ultimately allowed us to advance our skills.”

The vision of IDDFL is to serve the needs of dance, dancers, choreographers, and professionals in dance-related fields.

The IDDFL is part of UNESCO’s chosen International Dance Day yearly celebration, which occurs on April 29.


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