Video – Dancing Tragedies and Dreams

Posted: November 8, 2014 in Human Rights, Peace, Winnipeg
Tags: , ,
From the video "Dancing Tragedies and Dreams". Photo: Paul S. Graham

From the video “Dancing Tragedies and Dreams.” Photo: Paul S. Graham

Art, culture, dance and politics blended seamlessly in Winnipeg on September 21, 2014, with the performance of Dancing Tragedies and Dreams, a production of the Canadian Palestinian Association of Manitoba,  at Prairie Theatre Exchange.

Dancing Tragedies and Dreams featured dances from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt as well as an exciting performance of Poi dance from New Zealand, propelled by the music of El Funon Popular Dance Troupe of Palestine. Talk about fusion!

Eleven months in the making, Dancing Tragedies and Dreams was the brain child of Rana Abdulla and involved dozens of volunteers working evenings and weekends to bring it to fruition. In preparing this event, Rana’s dream was to bridge the divide between Western and Arabic worlds and to amplify the cry of Palestinians for peace, human rights and social justice.

Sixty-six years ago, the people of Palestine were forcibly driven from their homeland. Confined to parcels of land that are a fraction of their traditional territory and vilified by the the people who drove them out, their history shows some similarity to that of the indigenous people of this country. Unlike the government of Israel, the government of Canada does not bomb indigenous people (in this country, anyway), but for decades in Canada, indigenous people needed permission from the local Indian Agent to leave their reserves, a parallel that would be immediately familiar to any resident of Gaza or the West Bank. And hence, at Dancing Tragedies and Dreams, Said Hamad, Palestine’s representative in Canada, referred to their “solidarity with the aboriginal people in Canada.”

Like the aboriginal people of Canada, Palestinians have been “ethnically cleansed” and negatively stereotyped by their oppressors. Like Canada’s aboriginal peoples, Palestinians continue to assert their rights and make visible their humanity and their rich culture.

Dancing Tragedies and Dreams makes a stunning contribution to this effort. It’s too bad that the performance was limited to one evening. Fortunately, my friend Ken Harasym and I recorded the evening. So, get comfortable for the next 90 minutes. Enjoy, and share widely, please.

  1. Sarah says:

    A great celebration of a heritage that is occupied, very strong resistance that revives beautiful folkloric music that portrays their roots, pride in their identity and truly breaks rules that occupation and Western powers wanted to dictate on Palestinians, confiscates, appropriates indigenous Palestinian culture, heritage, tradition, history and identity, if not explicitly then through convoluted schemes and arbitrary laws and ignores their Nakba and their unjust experiences. A truly magical show, thank you.

  2. Delphine says:

    I would have loved to experience this event live, but that wasn’t to be. In watching the video I was delighted with the way in which history, culture: costume, music, dance, poetry – all of it – were presented and performed. I’m always amazed by the commitment of volunteers like Rana Abdulla who come up with such creative ideas and then bring them successfully to fruition. If you ever bring your festival to Halifax, I’ll be in the front row.

  3. The evening was a great tribute to the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the Palestinian people. The respect for the best in cultural traditions of other nations was well expressed in selections of performances throughout the program, including a superb Inuit dance. The tremendous work that went into the program was obvious throughout. Seeing the joy and commitment of the Palestinian community’s children was an important highlight of the evening. The tone struck by Said Hamad, Chief Representative of the Palestinian General Delegation in Canada was poignant and welcome. He reflected the wish of millions of Palestinians and their supporters for a just and early settlement of the occupation in accordance with international law and an immediate end to the ongoing crimes committed by the occupier and its supporters. The video deserves a wide audience as a great example of the contribution thoughtful people can make, people who truly love the progressive aspects of their culture and express their culture for pleasure rather than financial gain. The evening was a genuine expression of progressive culture that offered all nations in Canada hope for a better future.

  4. Alexis Yildir says:

    These natural and sincere young people gave a moving presentation of the life, joys and sorrows of their unknown motherland. There were some truly touching performances. The evening was a beautiful vignette of life in a lost time. Rana’s constant concern was to share the heart and soul of this culture and to actively seek connection with all other cultures. It was a truly impressive evening both because of the artistic efforts of the young performers and because of the spirit of rapprochement that they embodied.

  5. Laila Chebib says:

    The concert was wonderful. I heard many enthusiastic comments after the show and during the show. You did a herculean job in preparing and presenting the concert. Congratulations. Laila

  6. Isha Khan says:

    This looks like it was a fantastic evening and I’m sorry to have missed it. Rana have worked tirelessly and Winnipeg is richer for it.

  7. Myriam says:

    Vraiment C’était une nuit émotionnel, une soirée que lumière et donné espoir et savoir ce que cela signifie d’être humain nous avons eu la poésie. La jeune femme effectuée la perte d’êtres chers dans Nakba “sans musique” – tellement passionnés… elle a mis tout le monde dans les larmes

  8. Lynda Ait says:

    j’ai vu la performance je trouve que c’est formidable surtout la chanson de la fille avec le Bebe je te souhaite une Bonne continuation bravo a vous tous

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