Last Update 17:28
Sunday, 23 September 2018

MAAT Kicks Off: Las Bernardas contemporary dance at Cairo's Falaki Theatre

The programme also featured two performances from Karima Mansour

Soha Elsirgany , Monday 21 May 2018
MAAT
Las Barnirsdas Dance (Photo: Bassam Al Zoghby)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2526
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2526

Between 10 and 15 May, Falaki Theatre hosted MAAT Kicks Off, a programme of three contemporary dance performances featuring graduates of Cairo Contemporary Dance Company’s professional training program.

MAAT Contemporary Dance Company was founded in Cairo by artist and choreographer Karima Mansour in 1999, and is now being reintroduced in a new format that expands its scope.

The performances included group performance Credo, choreographed by Mansour; Who Said Anything about Dance?, a solo performance also by her and Las Bernardas by Libertad Pozo.

All three were very different in their subject matter, and as they were staged in pairs over the course of six days, allowed the audiences to form unique connections as one show colors their perception of another.

On Sunday 13 May, Las Bernardas and Credo were staged consecutively.

The Dutch director of Las Bernardas, Libertad Pozo took inspiration from a work by Spanish writer Frederico Garcia Lorca tilted La Casa De Bernarda Loca to create a powerful, poignant and sensitive dance piece centered on five women.

The piece explores the relationships of the subjects of Garcia’s book, especially the interrelationships between the sisters who are living together in a period of mourning that lasts several years.

In the pamphlet, the piece is described as a “dramaturgy in the form of a collage,” bringing together moments and anecdotes derived from the “daily experience of the performers and their own body language.”

The hour-long performance played out like a family saga told in both small and grand movements.

The piece features Amany Atef, Marihan Samy Mona El-Husseini, Nermin Habib and musician Balqeis Riad, who performed the soundtrack live in her station downstage.

With electric oud, synthesizer and drum machine, her music was as much a character as the other four sisters with which Balqeis shared the stage.

And she was acknowledged as such in certain parts of the performance. But her music takes a role similar to that of a narrator, witnessing from above, commenting in her own language but untouched by the drama.

Las Bernardas borrows elements from theatre, including the set and the way the women communicate. A dining table is set up mid-stage, around which much of the dance is performed, whether the performers are seated or moving around it.

The dance piece blends many means of communication to tell its story in many different spoken languages: Spanish, English, Arabic, as well as different artistic languages: movement, music and a monologue delivered by Amany Atef that breaks the fourth wall.

Part of the choreography was comprised of small gestures, like a sign language between the characters that seems familiar but foreign to us.

This was in contrast to bigger, impassioned movements performed as solos or in pairs, communicating a range of emotions from restraint and tension to emancipation.

MAAT
Credo (Photo: Bassam Al Zoghby)

Part of a bigger picture

While Las Bernardas had a storytelling element as it delved into the tensions of human relationships, Credo was more abstract and tackled existential themes as it looked at the person's role and place within a society.

Credo asks the question, "What does it mean for a person to switch off and refuse to perform a mechanical role, like an error in a machine that will produce faults all the way down the production line?"

The performance begins with the ten dancers joining the stage with their unique individual movements, each in their own space and at their own pace. Then slowly, they all blend into one unit, in which their rhythmic mechanical motion is unified.

Throughout the dance piece, they explore their relationship with this unity, or this ritual they have created together.

The performance triggers thoughts on comfort zones that become familiar with their monotonous repetition, and the disorientation that can occur when we try to transcend it.

Loosely linked to this theme of questioning identity in Credo, in the third performance within the MAAT programme, Mansour's solo Who Said Anything about Dance? reflects on the role of the artist and the artist's identity.

According to the piece's synopsis, Mansour seeks to delve into the creative process, questions the expectations that are placed upon her as the creator and ultimately questions the role of art itself.

MAAT
Who Said Anything About Dance (Bassam Al Zoghby)

For more arts and culture news and updates, follow Ahram Online Arts and Culture on Twitter at @AhramOnlineArts and on Facebook at Ahram Online: Arts & Culture

 

Search Keywords:
Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.