Egypt's modern dance scene: 'We've Got More'

Published September 10th, 2012 - 06:16 GMT
Previous Performance by Ezzat Ezzat Dance Studio (EEDS).
Previous Performance by Ezzat Ezzat Dance Studio (EEDS).

For its second consecutive year, EE Dance Studio will showcase its Contemporary Dance Night, entitled 'We've Got More', starting on Thursday 6 September and continuing over six nights.

"We are determined to bring more to the contemporary dance scene in Egypt, with our six-night-performances," Ezzat Ezzat, the event organiser and head of EE Dance Studio told Ahram Online.

EE Dance Studio (EEDS) is an independent artistic organisation for performing arts, particularly contemporary dance, established by Ezzat in early 2012 following the first Contemporary Dance Night in October 2011.

Contemporary dance as an art remains new to the majority of the Egyptian public; and according to Ezzat, despite last year's success, a lot of people are unfamiliar with contemporary dancing. "Many do not understand the art," Ezzat believes. "Therefore, these six nights will provide a clear understanding of contemporary dancing."

"We started out as individuals who wanted to develop dance and we put on some shows with minimal financial support, but we have managed to attract several cultural institutions and organisations to support and fund us this year," Ezzat states.

The first Contemporary Dance Night was in October 2011, but the event was criticised by some saying that "the public did not understand the art," Ezzat admits.

"No words can express contemporary dance," he says. "It is about body language and physical movements that speak for each and every performer and it is the show that explains what the art is really about."

But to clarify the concept as clearly as possible, "this year we bring about eight diversified live shows in addition to four video-recorded shows," Ezzat tells Ahram Online.

Unlike last year, EE Dance Studio along with the choreographers of 'We've Got More' has been preparing for this year's show for over nine months, including four months of rehearsals, "reaching out to more people and trying to enlarge the contemporary dance audience as much as possible," Ezzat says.

According to the organiser, 'We've Got More' features eight live shows from some of Egypt's leading choreographers, including Mirette Michael, Ahmed El-Gendy, Mounir Saeed, Ibrahim Abdo, Shaimaa Shoukry, Sherine Hegazy, Ahmed Ezz, Monadel Anter, Hazem and Matthieu, and the organiser himself.

Each choreographer has created one of the eight shows according to his understanding and talent, and in addition the eight choreographers along with the dancers have worked together "to make sure that everyone's own performance fits the general idea of 'We've Got More'," Ezzat says.

"We all speak and present the same topic in this year's show, but each in their own way to help the public understand the idea of the show in 5-to-15-minute performances," he says, emphasising the subjectivity of contemporary dancing.

Each dancer presents his own vision and moves accordingly, but has to remain within the framework of the general topic of the show "not to lose the audience."

Following the six-night performance, 'We've Got More' invites audience and contemporary art enthusiasts to a three-day workshop and seminar "to communicate face-to-face with the dancers and choreographers and learn more about the art," Ezzat announces.

Contemporary dancing is open to everyone at any age. "It does not require any background knowledge of dancing," Ezzat tells Ahram Online. Of course it is an asset if participants had some background information, but according to the event organiser, "those who don't will benefit more," he continues.

According to Ezzat's understanding of contemporary dance, "in this dance form you don't abide by rules and methods like in classic dancing and ballet," he says. "You learn about your own body, muscles, and the movements you can physically do and from then on you develop your own style, trend, and method that suits you as an individual and as a dancer."

After their performance in Cairo next week, 'We've Got More' participants and dancers will take their dancing shows and head to Alexandria in November. "We will perform for two nights only," Ezzat announces. 'We've Got More' in Alexandria will feature the same shows to be presented in Cairo but "with minor additions," Ezzat states.

'We've Got More' aims to enriching the artistic scene in Egypt with contemporary dance.  The shows are scheduled from 6-11 September in Cairo and 20-21 November in Alexandria (venue to be announced soon).

Programme in Cairo:

The event is divided into two groups performing over two consecutive nights, repeated three times.

Group A  performing on 6- 8 -10 September: 

    'Deeper Than It Looks On The Surface' by Monadel Anter

    'Two Dance Burgers, Please?' by Hazem & Matthieu

    'Seen' (Video Dance) by Shaymaa Shoukry

    'Voodoo Doll' (Video Dance) by Ibrahim Abdo

    'Don't Make Me Throw My Anger At You' by Mounir Saeed

    'Waiting...!'  by Ahmed Ezz

Group B performing on 7- 9 - 11 September:

   'Disorder' by Sherin Hegazy

   'π' by Shaymaa Shoukry

    'A Step Back' (Video Dance) by Ezzat Ezzat

    'Voodoo Doll' (Video Dance) by Ibrahim Abdo

    '1' by Ahmed El Gendy

    'Not for Everyone' by Mirette Mechail

Each performance night ends with a public discussion with the choreographer and dancers of each show. 

Falaki Theatre, AUC Campus, Downtown Cairo, 6-11 September, 8pm


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