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Motion, light, sound, perspective, and dimension weave into one mind-bending performance!

The title for “Crossing” came from choreographer Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh’s reflection of art and life, in the time of pandemic.

To Abunahleh, the post COVID-19 world visualized itself as an exciting yet confusing labyrinth, of paths appearing and disappearing, vanishing completely, and new passageways opening up.

The Process

The process of making this piece can be understood as a laboratory phase, built on the research Abunahleh undertook over the past several years working with both trained and untrained dancers, as an anti-hierarchical, anti-authoritarian choreographic movement designed for the general public and requires no dance training.

Photography: Ghassan Sela

A Collaboration

As the production process progressed, the dance artists, choreographer, and director started to build sequences of basic movements into “phrases”, which are individual units of movement sequenced in a particular way to form a cohesive and unified whole.

By repeating phrases to reinforce the core ideas of the work, transitioning from one to another, developing motifs as an adaptive element, a framework is constructed aiming to convey meaning through movement rather than movement itself.

While visual artists had also responded to the framework with their “artistic language”, sound artists embarked their journey in creating an original score that provides an accompaniment to the choreography.

For this production, Abunahleh teamed up with Miramar Muh’d who is an Iraqi self-taught visual artist based in Amman.

Having been born into an artistic family, Miramar Muh’d was surrounded by art since childhood, she has participated in multiple personal and collective exhibitions and painted several murals locally and internationally. This is the first time she worked with a choreographer on an-on-stage art installation for a dance performance. 

Photography: Hussam Shareef

The Premiere

The premiere of “Crossing” took place at Al Shams Theater, at 7 pm, on 23 Sept 2021, as the opening of IDEA festival, that is a bi-annual international multi-disciplinary dance festival, organized and curated by Studio 8.

According to the confirmed guest list both monitored by IDEA festival volunteers and the staff of the theater, 266 audiences were present in the premiere.

Mohammad Qattan, a dancer from Jordan, said he “learned a lot” in his participation in making and performing “Crossing”, though he was initially brought as a back-up dancer for a female performer who was not able to continue rehearsals, at a later stage of the production. “Firstly, it brings the opportunity to learn,” Qattan said, “Second, to work with a group on something new; Third, to perform; and fourth, to start building a dancing career.”

On 28th of Sepetember, “Crossing” was once again brought to audiences by using non-conventional sites, such as an experimental space at the 3rd floor of a gallery, allowing an intimate 360°viewing.

Photography: Katie Billheimer

Extra Eye

Choreographer Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh described this project that has been coming out of the pandemic, as “an opportunity” to connect’ and “restart”.

During his dance making, Abuhahleh invited theater directors, musicians, film makers, art educators, drama specialists, visual artists, and performance enthusiasts to see the rehearsals. Many invited guests said that they enjoyed experiences, especially the indispensable exchange and dialogue they have all been missing so much.

An animator, goes by the name Kat, among the invited guests, has spent great many hours in the rehearsals. And she created delightful dance illustrations with her fluid, natural drawing style, which is a bonus to this project.



  • Concept, director: Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
  • Choreographer: Anas Abunahleh, Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
  • Dance: Emran Alamareen, Daniel issa, Saleh Belagon, Mohammad Qattan, Ahmad Wawi, Sara Yaghmourian
  • Original score: Zaid Sajdi, Oday Shwagfeh
  • Light designer: Pietro Marullo
  • Visuals and installation: Miramar Muh’d
  • Extra eye: Husam Abed, Ryuji Yamaguchi, Edwina Issa
  • Photography: Ghassan Sela, Hiba Judeh, Katie Billheimer, Mohammad Emad, Hussam Shareef
  • Videography: Amr Abu Aitah, Mohammadali Awad, Mohammad Bitar, Hiba Judeh
  • Produced by Studio 8

supported by Cultural Foundation, with special thanks to Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC, DROSOS FOUNDATION, Prince Claus Fund.

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