Maher Shawamreh: Through dance we communicate with all cultures of the world

by Antonietta Chiodo, ProMosaik. English Translation by John Catalinotto. Let’s talk about Palestine, giving the podium
to an artist who lives in occupied Palestine. He’s Maher Shawamreh, a dance
teacher and director of the school of art in Ramallah. In the interview with us
he explains how dance communicates peace by extending the soul, and in this way
reaching beyond the walls built by intolerance and war.
He speaks of his love for the arts he
teaches daily with the support of his colleagues the Orient & Dance
Theatre. His students are children and teenagers. Communication takes place
through the vibrations of the body and music. Maher, a man who grew up in a
state of siege, managed to create in this modern era the ability to dissolve
words and bring peace to life on the stage with the ability to unite different
cultures and languages.

As a teacher and highly developed artist he
has been allowed in recent years to get a foothold in the West through his
shows, and can boast of collaborations with artists from various countries. His
ability to draw comparisons and to make use of the arts has enabled him to
continually outdo himself regarding technique, using bodily communication to
convey freedom to the audiences.

did you start your engagement with dance and what made you realize that was
your life’s path?

As a young man I studied electrical
engineering. My career in contemporary dance officially started in 1996. In
1999 I started to do some shows in various regions of Palestine and other
countries. I supported myself by working in the workshops. A few years later I
started doing more ambitious interpretations, supported by works by works of
artists at the high level of Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani. Then I
became definitely aware that I could no longer escape or be distracted from
dance. It had taken hold of my life and filled my thoughts. To make it clearer,
let me explain that dancing is not life itself, but it is my journey in search
of my identity. Through dance I became part of the universe and came into
contact with God (Allah). Nowadays I realized that dance is a cure, a miracle
Why in
human history have artists proven the most valuable ambassadors of peace?

Humans communicate with each other in
different languages, in French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish … it is our job to
understand each other to the end and apply outselves to the search for
different semantic content. Art is a universal language and does not need a
specific grammar to be understood. Dance is body language. Awakening sensations
and vibrations, dance merges nature and soul. In this way it establishes a
communication with the spirit, moved by Allah. At that point you realize that
God loves you and through that message you find your inner peace. At the moment
in which a body dances, Allah puts the universe in motion. Creating transforms
itself into a movement, giving life to a permanent dance. The dance and music
give rise to immortality for those who interpret it as well as for those who observe

would you imagine a dance show with Western artists and Palestinians? What
music would you choose?

As I mentioned before, dance is the extension
of the word of Allah through the body and produces our sensations. We can share
this in all the languages
​​of the
world. By listening passively, we can touch our souls. We can reflect on
ourselves dancing without feeling any fear. Also, dance allows us to
simultaneously share different cultures and languages. That’s what I try to
convey through my art. I love to dance with live music, moving not only my body
but also my soul. The audience that watches my dance convinces me that dance
has no boundaries. In fact, it includes the land, the olive trees, the eagle,
the rocks, the sea … an elderly woman. It would be necessary to express ourselves
freely in the central square of a market to overcome our own personal inner deficiencies
through artistic expression. That’s my art expressed in words.
With what
secret did you help your students overcome their fear of failing?

My students should be content with
themselves and erase everything from their concious thoughts when they dance.
Only in this way will they eliminate tensions. I learned to separate from my stress,
fleeing far away. When I enter the room and see the first student, all my
feelings become positive. And I exist only in that single moment. Through dance,
the rage that is intrisic to human beings tends to lose itself in the
movements, finally managing to completely dissolve. Dance is capable of
creating tolerance. Dancing is like escape for the soul from life and from the
world around us.

you ever been afraid that one of your students could be taken away by Israeli

No, we are not afraid, we were born under