Arab Arts Focus: Dance Double Bill
- Donald Hutera
- 6 August 2017
Compromised due to visa restrictions, this unplanned offering still has much to share
Clearly for Egypt-based choreographer Shaymaa Shoukry, the show must go on. Presented under the auspices of the Arab Arts Focus, this bill was meant to pair a solo Shoukry created for Sudanese dancer Nagham Saleh, and another by the Palestine-born choreographer Yazan Iwidat. But visa restrictions imposed by the Home Office upon both Saleh and Iwidat's dancer, Hamza Damra, meant the entire performance had to be quickly reconfigured. What I saw instead was a single live solo, never intended to be a part of this bill, and two short films (an extract from Shoukry's 'Mayhkomsh' plus Iwidat's 'Running Away' in its 17-minute entirety).
It's the live solo that counts most. Shoukry originally created 'The resilience of the body' for herself. In Edinburgh it's danced by Mahmoud el Hadad, a long, lean man whose unassuming yet quietly authoritative manner snuck up on me. He spends about 15 minutes running in circles at a steadfast pace, accompanying himself with utterances that tend to commence 'I will keep on running until...' and end with phrases like '…you all stop wondering what I do next' or '…my skin colour is no longer a problem.' This challenging, vicarious act of physical endurance and protest might seem hard to take, but it expands in the mind as it carries on.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), 1.35pm, £8.