S:PAM Lecture #19 - Conversation with Palestinian artists Dalia Taha, Ahmed Tobasi and Ata Khattab

20-02-2018 from 14:30 to 16:00
Hoveniersberg, leszaal Jos Van Acker (Take the small street next to Sint Pietersnieuwstraat 105, 9000 Ghent)
S:PAM (Studies in Performing Arts & Media)
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S:PAM Lecture #19: Conversation with Palestinian artists Dalia Taha (playwright), Ahmed Tobasi (actor/director) and Ata Khattab (choreographer/dancer)

Chair: Prof. Dr. Christel Stalpaert (Ghent University) 


In 2004 dramaturge Hildegard De Vuyst first went into the Occupied Territories, in the wake of choreographer/director Alain Platel. Since then Palestine has had her in its grip. She knows the Palestinian stage arts as her back pocket. For 10 years she has been following a new generation of creators whom she supports by all possible means.
Hildegard joined forces with A.M. Qattan Foundation in Ramallah, KVS and Les Ballets C de la B for a program of workshops. This was followed by an exchange under the name PASS (Performing Arts Summer School), coupled with productions like 'Keffiyeh/Made in China' and 'Badke' seen last season at Vooruit.
Along with Palestinian performing artists, De Vuyst went to Rabat, Kinshasa and South Africa, searching for ways for them to strengthen their autonomy. In February 2018, this young generation shows up with own work at the heart of a Flemish-Palestinian event in Ghent (16 tot 25 February 2018).



Dalia Taha is a Palestinian poet and playwright. She was born in Berlin 1986 but grew up in Ramallah-Palestine. Her first play “Keffiyeh/Made in China” was produced by the Flemish Royal Theater and A.M. Qattan Foundation. The play was premiered in Brussels in 2012, then brought to Palestine where it toured 7 Palestinian cities across the west bank. The play was given a staged reading in July 2013 at the Mosaic Room in London. In addition to that two scenes of the play where staged in Mohamed V theatre in Rabat-Morocco. The play was published in four languages, Arabic, English, French and Flemish.

In 2013 Dalia was commissioned by Royal Court Theatre in London that created her first full length play "Fireworks". She graduated from Brown University with a new play: "There is no-one". Her work will be presented in UC in two different propositions: students from RITS (Brussels) make a multi-lingual collage of different bit & pieces directed by Ward Rooze; students from KASK will explore "Fireworks" in a first Dutch translation.

Ahmed Tobasi is an actor, director and educator with experience working in Palestinian & international theatres. Born in a refugee camp in Palestine, restricted and frustrated by the occupation, Tobasi joined a resistance group and was in prison before his 18th birthday. Upon his release 3 years later, Tobasi embraced the idea that he could become an agent of change and resistance using the medium of theatre.
After training at The Freedom Theatre, Tobasi got out of Palestine and into Norway, where he got refugee status. He undertook theatre education there, followed by a 3-year professional career abroad. He was involved in several productions which involved collaborating with artists from different backgrounds as a way to create work that could reach diverse audiences and foster understanding. In his work, Tobasi is not afraid to tackle contentious issues and controversial ideas, rather relishing the opportunity to challenge and question the status quo.  
Returning to Palestine to contribute to the local artistic movement, he is particularly interested in creating cultural exchanges within children's theatre. Whilst currently working as a Resident teacher at The Freedom Theatre, Tobasi continues to act in projects that offer alternative narratives to the Israel/Palestine conflict and share Palestinian experiences with new audiences.  
Ata Khatab is a dancer, choreographer and dance trainer. He first started dancing at the age of six, taking dabkeh classes at the Popular Art Centre’s School of Dabkeh. Later, he joined El-Funoun’s Youth Troupe. As a choreographer, he has worked with fellow dancers to choreograph some of El-Funoun’s best pieces. As a dance trainer, Ata has taught dabkeh in Nablus, Askar, Deir Istia, Beit Rima, Alfar’a, Bourin, and Belin, amongst other locations, through projects coordinated by the Popular Art Centre and El-Funoun. For the past several years, Ata has also been teaching dabkeh at the Popular Art Centre’s School of Dabkeh, the school where he himself first started to learn. In this way, he passes on his father’s legacy to a new generation of young dancers.


Extra information

On 22 February 2018 Kunstencentrum Vooruit presents a unique double-bill with two short but catchy dance performances. 'The Rooster' by Malek Andary and Ata Khatab mixes dabke and contemporary dance, history and politics, resulting in a group piece for five dancers.  Who is the ruler of the dunghill? In 'Running Away', Palestinian performer Yazan Ewidat contests the prevailing image of Palestinians as fighters, as soldiers. According to Ewidat, Palestinians can also be losers: they give up, they do not always love their country, and they want to move towards a new future. Yazan Ewidat, seen at Vooruit in 'Badke' (2014), created a highly personal solo.