Magazine article Dance Magazine

Pressing On: Palestinian Company El-Funoun Continues to Dance despite Israeli Occupation

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Pressing On: Palestinian Company El-Funoun Continues to Dance despite Israeli Occupation

Article excerpt

Against all odds, one dance company has survived and thrived in the occupied Palestinian Territories for 35 years. Despite being located in the Ramallah district in the West Bank, El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe recently celebrated the anniversary by inviting 25 alumni to join its 30 dancers and 45 youth group members for a performance. This month the company premieres a new production for their youth troupe at the Ramallah Cultural Palace.

El-Funoun's years of success have not come without incessant struggle. The company performs in Palestine and neighboring Arab countries, nurturing dance groups that have sprouted up in villages, refugee camps and youth clubs. Under the Israeli occupation, however, mobility is increasingly limited. Checkpoints and bypass roads make what should be a 30-minute drive to Bethlehem take at least three hours. Access to water and electricity is also unpredictable. "Life under occupation is difficult," admits Noora Baker, a former El-Funoun dancer who now heads the troupe's training and production. "Yet with that difficulty comes challenge and resistance for us. El-Funoun is a collective, believing in humanity and justice, striving to set a good role model in its society."

Many of the dancers have traumatic stories of living under occupation. As a child, Baker witnessed her parents and sister being arrested, dragged out of the theater and kicked by soldiers. They were there during a peaceful demonstration performance--according to Baker, protest against the occupation is forbidden. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.