Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival
While Beirut Contemporary Dance Festival celebrates women with great achievements, and honours Mrs Georgette Jebara with a lifetime achievement award in recognition of her contributions to art of dance in Lebanon, and Amman Contemporary Dance Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary despite all obstacles, We were asked, as in every year, to share with our partners at the Beirut and Amman Festival programs and on behalf of the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival our statement for the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival.
We are unsure what to write in Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival statement; we do not know what to say.
What do we celebrate in Ramallah, especially when we commemorate a painful tragedy every year? What should we say? Should we say we are anxious for a participating Arab artist to be granted permission to enter Palestine by the Israel? Or do we emphasize the festival’s future potential and importance? Should we try to answer unanswerable inquiries by international participants about obtaining visas to Palestine, assuming that Palestine is an independent state?
Do we write about the month of April? The month of optimism, blossoming, holidays, and the festival, and how we hope this month would pass by uneventfully?
What do we say when we are unable to share this experience with Gaza, or host dancers from Gaza who wish to live this experience with us?
In spite of all this, there is still hope that keeps us alive and motivates us to continue delivering our message.
We join Beirut in celebrating these Palestinian women in her seventies, much like she joins our activities and programs in Sareyyet Ramallah. We also celebrate every child under the age of 15, who comes to Sareyyet Ramallah daily after school, chasing the dream of becoming a professional dancer in the future.
We celebrate every Palestinian who has incredible steadfastness while enduring seventy years of Nakba (catastrophe), which is still present.
We celebrate every Palestinian that supports and appreciates what we do.
We celebrate every optimistic Palestinian who still believes that tomorrow is a better day.
Sareyyet Ramallah presents the 13th edition of Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival from April 19th to 29th, 2018 in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Birzeit, Anabta and Balata Camp. This year, the festival will feature the theme "Non-Traditional Spaces," where it breaks out of the confines of indoor theatres, and allows for dance companies to present their artwork in innovative spaces, including public squares, museums, and old houses.
Palestine in itself is a non-traditional space! To enter it, you need an Israeli approval, and to perform in Jerusalem, you need a permit from the occupation authorities to cross a checkpoint from Ramallah. Traveling to Australia is more feasible than traveling to Gaza, which is just 50 kilometres away from Ramallah!
On this occupied land, we host many international dance companies, they come to Palestine to share with us their culture, and to learn about ours. Through this human and artistic exchange, Palestinians and their international friends from all around the world come together to experience shared human values.
This year, the festival’s program includes several activities, including: performances in indoor theatres, public spaces, museums, performances by dancers with disabilities, dance workshops, a conference, film screenings, and a French-Palestinian co-production between Sareyyet Ramallah and NGC25 Dance Company.
The festival will host dance companies from France, UK, Tunisia, Norway, India, Italy, Palestine, and Switzerland.
This year's edition of the festival includes 22 performances by 15 dance companies, including four Palestinian companies, one Arab company, and ten international companies The Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival 2018 is organized in partnership with the Ramallah Municipality and with sponsorship from the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, European Union, Wataniya Mobile, A.M. Qattan Foundation, the National Beverage Company, Muna and Basem Hishmeh Foundation, and the Grand Park Hotel.
It is also in collaboration with the General French Consulate, British Council, Palestinian National Theater, Mahmoud Darwish Museum, Naseeb Azeez Shaheen Auditorium – Birzeit University, Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, and with media coverage by Palestine Television, 24 FM Radio, InterTech, Zoom and Romman Magazine.
We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to all those who believe in us and what we do, and to all those who have contributed to support the festival.
We extend much love, appreciation and respect to the festival’s staff and volunteers. With your efforts and contribution, the festival keeps on going and continues to spread joy, even if it is for a limited time and in a narrow space.