‘What is contemporary dance?’ This is the question that hovers around many contemporary dance performances in Egypt. So to get over the confusion, a number of contemporary dancers got together to figure out how to give their audience the best answer.
Taking place this Wednesday, October 12th and Thursday, October 13th, the Contemporary Dance Night at Rawabet Theatre is made up of eight short contemporary dance performances. In an attempt to show how versatile contemporary dance is, the group of dancers will showcase various approaches to this art form and different forms of physical expression.
The short performances are all between five to ten minutes long. They are not related to each other in any way except that they are various expressions of this concept of contemporary dance.
‘They are arranged in a certain order that will be cohesive and will give out a certain message,’ says Ezzat Ismail, the organizer and curator of the night. In that way, they all sort of create a larger picture – a mosaic – of what contemporary dance is.
‘We want to expand our audience, we want to reach out to other people and give them a taste of what we do,’ says Ismail.
While belly dancing is familiar in every Egyptian household, not many people know other types of dance, except for maybe ballet, and so the audience for contemporary dance is limited.
Ezzat Ismail, along with Shaymaa Shokry and Emma Benany, proposed the idea of the performance to Studio Emadeddin, which offered half its rehearsal space, and Rawabet Space, which offered the venue for free. The choreographers/ performers all have different backgrounds in dance training, and will perform separate, individual pieces reflecting their own concept of contemporary dance.
‘Contemporary dance is like a huge fruit bowl; the performance will have bananas, apples and mangos; maybe even mangos that aren’t yet ripe,’ said Ismail.
The choreographers are Hossam Abdelhamid, Emma Benany, Nadine Emile, Mohammed Fouad, Shereen Hegazy and Shaymaa Shoukry. Two other choreographers, Ahmed El Gendy and Ezzat Ismail himself, will show videos of dance performances mixing visual media with contemporary dance.
El Gendy is a graphic designer as well as a dancer; so his vision of contemporary dance would be reflective of whom he is as a person. Hegazy is another choreographer using visual media, and says that dance is her only way of expression: 'I don't sing or write,’ she says, ‘So the only way I can express myself is through dance.’
Her performance is a portrait of Hypatia the Egyptian philosopher and how she lived in a world dominated by men.
Contemporary Dance Night will show at Rawabet Space on Wednesday and Thursday the 12th and 13th of October at 8:30 pm. There are at least eight other dancers performing with the choreographers; so it will be a great chance to really see the different flavours of the Egyptian contemporary dance scene. Plus, entry is free; and you can check out their Facebook event for more details.