Monday April 29, 2019 By: WoE
Dancer, choreographer and dance educator, Karima MANSOUR, Founder of MAAT Contemporary Dance Company, has been selected by the Executive Council of the International Theater Institute ITI to write the message for the International Dance Day. This global event is celebrated worldwide since its creation in 1982, on April 29, the anniversary of the birth of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727–1810), the creator of modern ballet.
Every year,the International Theater Institute ITI – the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO – in partnership with the ITI dance committee and the World Dance Alliance, select an outstanding dance personality to write a message for the International Dance Day.
Here is Karima MANSOUR’S message:
At the beginning there was movement… and since the dawn of time, dance has been a strong means of expression and celebration. Found on the murals of Egyptian Pharaohs and inspiring dance makers to date.
Dance was used to evoke the many gods and goddesses of dance with all what they represent in meaning and concepts like balance from which justice is connected, musicality, tone, individual and cosmic consciousness and more.
I read once that: “Dance in the times of the Pharaohs was thought to elevate the spirit of the dancer and of the audience of spectators or participants. Music and dance called upon the highest impulses of the human condition while also consoling people on the disappointments and losses in a life.”
Movement is a language spoken by us all. Movement is a universal language that belongs to everybody If only we open our senses and listen. Listening is what is required, listening without interference, listening without judgment, listening in silence and allowing the movement to pass through the body in the moment, because everything inside us and around us is in motion, constant motion. This is when the body doesn’t lie because it is listening to its truth and manifesting it.
By listening to our heartbeat, we can then dance the dance of life, which requires movement, agility and adaptability, a constant shifting choreography.
In this day and age where connection & connectivity have taken on new meanings and where we are at our lowest point in our ability to connect… Dance remains to be the most sought-after action to help us re-establish that lost connection.
Dance brings us back to our roots, in the cultural sense but also in the most immediate sensory, personal, individual, down to the core and heart way, whilst still enabling us to be social animals.
For it is when we connect with ourselves when we listen to our inner rhythm, that we are really able to establish a connection with others and communicate. Dance is where culture is shared and borders fall into the space of inclusion and unity, through the unspoken language of universality.
The body is an instrument of expression, a vessel for our voice, our thoughts, our feelings, our history, our being and existence, our yearning to express and connect that manifests through movement.
Dance is a space that allows oneself to connect with their truth, for that, a quiet space is required. Dance allows us to connect and feel whole and it is only in that feeling that we find peace and with peace comes silence and it is through silence that we can hear, listen, speak and through stillness that we learn to dance our truths and this is when dance becomes pertinent.
Movement and dance is where we can move from the vertical to the horizontal, from up to down and vice versa. Movement and dance is where chaos can be created and re-organized, or not.
Where we are able to create our own realities and fleeting, ephemeral moments one after the other. Moments that can touch us and remain in our memories, to inspire and change us and others for life. That is the power of true expression and thus the power of dance.
Dance is a healer. Dance is where humanity can meet. I invite people to go beyond borders, beyond identity crisis, beyond nationalism and beyond frames. May we free ourselves of those limitations and find the movement and momentum in that universal language. I invite everybody to dance to their heartbeat, to their inner truth because it is from these internal movements that lead to internal revolutions where real change happens.
Karima MANSOUR graduated with both a B.A. and a Masters degree in Contemporary Dance from the London Contemporary Dance School, London, England, after having completed her B.A. in Film from the High Institute of Cinema, Academy of Arts in Cairo, Egypt. Upon her return to Egypt, she founded her company MAAT for Contemporary Dance in 1999, the first independent dance company to be established in the country.
She has been a teacher for the Cairo Opera Dance Theatre Company in 1998, an Assistant Professor at the Ballet Institute, Academy of Arts 1999 to 2000, Adjunct Professor of Dance, as part of the Performance and Visual Arts Department at The American University in Cairo (fall 2010). MANSOUR is current founder & artistic director of the Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (CCDC), operating under the umbrella of MAAT for Contemporary Art.
MANSOUR continues to works as a free-lance choreographer, performer and teacher nationally and internationally while creating, performing and developing her own choreographic work and language as an artist.
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