DABKEISM

As we stand hands held, sweating in a circle of bodies – so begins begins a cycle of life.

Smiles, drumbeats and stomping feet add magic as we twist and turn, spreading from finger to toe, making our hips swing. We begin to sing we are one!

Breaking barriers, together we can destroy the walls that we built inside ourselves. Walls that disconnect us from true experience; ideas of nationality, background, our beliefs and dreams continue to isolate hardened painful memories. Each time we feel heavy, we run, dance and shout. Screaming all the memories hidden deep inside, we hold hands tighter as we stand next to another. Through movements we begin to manifest our memories into movement. These once lived moments let themselves creep back into our days.

During our week of improvisation and research at Radialsystem in Dec 2018 we used dance to bring about the healing of memories and released their presence in our souls. Through the combination of Dabke and contemporary dance, our physical expressions became intertwined with the emotions of each memory that our dancers used as a starting point for expression. After asking each dancer to stand in front of our group and draw upon a memory and reiterate its impact on their life, we see the subtle hand and body movements that make their way into our speech into this moment of recollection.

This performance is based on the action of taking our own past and reworking memories, adapting their effects on us as we mature, and trying to lessen the burden they have when they return to us. When they return to us now we let them out of our bodies and make room for new experiences and memories. Everyone is an artist inside, and on stage a musician can move, a dancer can speak, and a singer can hammer a key on a piano. We share, learn and exchange creativity our inner selves. This space for performance then becomes a medium for communication between the performers, having a lasting impression on the audience, where borders of expected roles are left behind these fallen walls.

The audience is invited to watch and participate in a process of healing. Dabkeism is a way of bringing together two sides of a long process of integration and healing before the public. Hand in Hand we are taking each other and breathing life into the dark places we all hide. Through the darkness, the rhythm of our heart beat brings about the beauty of feeling human again.

Medhat Aldaabal and Graeme Auchterlonie