Plans in motion to welcome Palestinian dance company to Belfast

‘We dance for life and freedom’ is the message Palestinian company Diyar Theatre carries to audiences through its performances. Their work combines Palestinian folklore with contemporary dance in a way that conveys not only a passion for dance but a commitment to revitalising its national heritage.

The twelve talented and committed dancers are keen to introduce their cultural and folk dance heritage to the world and, if – fingers crossed! – all visa applications are successful, we very much look forward to welcoming them here in Belfast this August.

During their visit, planned to coincide with the annual Féile an Phobail, the dancers will showcase folk dance (debkeh) and perform – for the first time outside Palestine – a piece choreographed by Royston Maldoom called ‘Taken’. This is centred around the testimonies of Palestinian children who had been – and continue to be – held, usually without charges, in Israeli prisons. The inspiration for Taken came from a television report, seen by Maldoom. It showed a young Palestinian girl called Tamimi, who, in an astonishing act of bravery, slapped an Israeli soldier who was trying to encroach on her family’s property. The piece also draws on personal testimonies of hunger strikes, detention in solitary confinement and their devastating effect on families. Its final scene of defiance and strength characterises the people that Maldoom says he has been privileged to meet during his visits to the Palestinian occupied West Bank and Gaza.

More details on Diyar Theatre‘s programme of events at Féile an Phobail from 4th to 14th August, including performances, social and family cultural events and of course the carnival parade, to follow.