Palestine dances to an international beat

The 10th Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival drew criticism for failing to connect with Palestinian daily realities.

| | Arts & Culture, Middle East, Occupied West Bank, Palestine

Dabke, the traditional Arabic dance form, has long been viewed as a king of cultural resistance in Palestine, through its reaffirmation of identity and its ability to tell stories of Palestinian life and struggle. Lesser known in Palestine is the art of contemporary dance, and for the past decade, the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival has been working to address this.

Organised annually by Sareyyet Ramallah, the festival attracts a range of international dance companies. This year's event, which ran during the latter half of April, featured a variety of performances and workshops in Ramallah and Jerusalem.

Despite a roster of renowned international performers, audience numbers were lower than anticipated, and at most events a relatively high percentage of those in attendance were non-Palestinians. One visiting European performer described the festival to Al Jazeera as "a bit like a festival for 'internationals' in Palestine".

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