Watadour: A Visual Experience of “Liquid Modernity”

Nélida Nassar  03.30.2014

Watadour is a performance attempting to decipher physically and virtually the complex world we live in. It merges different taxonomic categorizations of various art forms: dance, music, theater and drawing. The question of what is dance, what is music, what is theater or drawing? What are their different boundaries is what Watadour tries to answer throughout a mélange and hybridization of these disciplines. This is the sign of our times defined by Zygmunt Bauman as “liquid modernity.”

The reality created on stage is everything but reassuring. Two dancers with their bodies strapped like mountain climbers perform on a circular stage that is gradually moving
from a horizontal to a vertical position. The two dancers struggle adapting their body movement and position while attempting to reach the summit or deal with their daily challenges to find themselves propelled down without ever giving up, over and
over again. A circular stage has no direction, no top or bottom except for the node
that of reality, disturbed, repositioned, shifted like a mirror, like a rotating clock or
mother earth.

Using a man-made art box that is attached to an electronic device, Mazen Kerbage moves with dexterity drips of black ink creating and projecting imagery reminiscent of the Surrealist’s écriture automatique, Jackson Pollock’s drip painting or yet the Ebru of the Ottomans’ marble paper making. The images are reflected and refracted on the circular stage merging, pulsing and punctuating the dance with brio. They enhance it and overpower it at times while being enthralling. Kerbage’s marks are the most beguiling and innovative part of the performance.

The accompanying music performed by Sherif Sehnaoui is an eclectic mix of custom tailored sound with new compositions and electro acoustic scores, a captivating pas de deux of improvised language in response to Kerbage’s gesture.

Is the dancer/the human being irretrievably condemned to the same movement or fate?
Or can he ever breaks from his shackles thus freeing himself? A compelling visual experience with a nihilist feeling permeates the entire piece that alas seems at times a tad too dislocated.

Concept/Choreography: Omar Rajeh
Original Idea / Scenography: Nasser Soumi
Dance/Creation: Mia Habis, Bassam Bou Diab
Composition/Live Music: Sharif Sehnaoui
Visual Creation (Live Setting): Mazen Kerbaj
Costumes: Mia Habis
Light Design: Jonathan Samuels
Production: Zaher Kais, Christel Salem
Set Construction: Abou Ajram Group Ajran
Produced by: Maqamat Dance Theatre
Funded by: The Norwegian Embassy in Beirut
Supported by: British Council
With the Support of: Abou Ajram Group S.A.R.L., Omar Qassem Al Issa’i Group

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