Director's Words

Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

Dance has long been at the forefront of the performing arts that raised awareness and nourished dreams of change and reintroduced concepts such as freedom, human dignity and justice.

But for dance artists in Jordan, it takes every ounce of strength in their body and soul, to prove resilience, and carve out fulfilling and self-sustaining careers.

Currently, a coherent and consistent dance education is not available in Jordan. A recent outline of the status of performing arts education within the public-school education system reveals that although there is an existing national music curriculum, dance curriculum does not exist, and less than 10% of public schools opt for performing arts lessons and the majority does not conform to the curriculum. At the university level, dance education is not available. Very few students enroll into music and drama education and many may not reach a proficient level on completion.

Through an informal survey, I found that the number of dance artists who had participated in art-related opportunities (both paid and based on voluntary unpaid contribution) is very small. The alarmingly low participation in arts-based subjects of Jordanian dancers and choreographers is worrying. 

Most of artists are given the answer of none. For the very few “lucky” ones, the duration of their participation was mostly short, lasting from less than an hour to a few hours, and very often with no results. The average waiting period for a Jordanian dance maker to come by a creating opportunity to make dance theatre works are 6 years.

In another survey, I discovered the number of people who had attended live dance performances is very low.  Many were given the answer of Not Possible. When it comes to the explanation of such low attendance, survey participants commented that they felt that participating in cultural and artistic life is a luxury for them. Some have said that they have never had live experience of the diverse manifestations of performing arts – from dance, music, theatre to object manipulation, in their entire life. Most people give the reason that they believe theatre or concert tickets are too expensive to afford, and they could not find any performance in their area even they would like to purchase a ticket.

I believe using our bodies, voices or in-animating objects to express is an essential part of the human experience. It is very sad that people are being cut off from dance, and live arts. In a summery, it is not an exaggeration to say that not only are capable people in the Jordan’s dance community unable to improve on and showcase the creative talents with the great lack of learning and working possibilities, but the creative and collective nature of dance has become to be seen as invalid, useless, and unbeneficial to people.

I believe expressing through our bodies, creating dance, and experiencing live arts can enrich our everyday lives in countless ways.

It can connect people, stories and cultures.

It can bring entire communities together and inspire every individual.

People should have access to dance, and to the benefits that access brings.

It is NOT a luxury.

It is human right.

Hence I co-founded this project of creating and sustaining an independent dance space in Jordan — Studio 8.

The independent dance space is here to contribute to Jordan’s performing art ecosystem: nurturing experimentation, creating and producing original art works, fostering the development of emerging artists, sparking dialogue and working closely with local communities.

Meet the team

Director's Words

Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

Dance has long been at the forefront of the performing arts that raised awareness and nourished dreams of change and reintroduced concepts such as freedom, human dignity and justice.

But for dance artists in Jordan, it takes every ounce of strength in their body and soul, to prove resilience, and carve out fulfilling and self-sustaining careers.

Currently, a coherent and consistent dance education is not available in Jordan. A recent outline of the status of performing arts education within the public-school education system reveals that although there is an existing national music curriculum, dance curriculum does not exist, and less than 10% of public schools opt for performing arts lessons and the majority does not conform to the curriculum. At the university level, dance education is not available. Very few students enroll into music and drama education and many may not reach a proficient level on completion.

Through an informal survey, I found that the number of dance artists who had participated in art-related opportunities (both paid and based on voluntary unpaid contribution) is very small. The alarmingly low participation in arts-based subjects of Jordanian dancers and choreographers is worrying. 

Most of artists are given the answer of none. For the very few “lucky” ones, the duration of their participation was mostly short, lasting from less than an hour to a few hours, and very often with no results. The average waiting period for a Jordanian dance maker to come by a creating opportunity to make dance theatre works are 6 years.

In another survey, I discovered the number of people who had attended live dance performances is very low.  Many were given the answer of Not Possible. When it comes to the explanation of such low attendance, survey participants commented that they felt that participating in cultural and artistic life is a luxury for them. Some have said that they have never had live experience of the diverse manifestations of performing arts – from dance, music, theatre to object manipulation, in their entire life. Most people give the reason that they believe theatre or concert tickets are too expensive to afford, and they could not find any performance in their area even they would like to purchase a ticket.

I believe using our bodies, voices or in-animating objects to express is an essential part of the human experience. It is very sad that people are being cut off from dance, and live arts. In a summery, it is not an exaggeration to say that not only are capable people in the Jordan’s dance community unable to improve on and showcase the creative talents with the great lack of learning and working possibilities, but the creative and collective nature of dance has become to be seen as invalid, useless, and unbeneficial to people.

I believe expressing through our bodies, creating dance, and experiencing live arts can enrich our everyday lives in countless ways.

It can connect people, stories and cultures.

It can bring entire communities together and inspire every individual.

People should have access to dance, and to the benefits that access brings.

It is NOT a luxury.

It is human right.

Hence I co-founded this project of creating and sustaining an independent dance space in Jordan — Studio 8.

The independent dance space is here to contribute to Jordan’s performing art ecosystem: nurturing experimentation, creating and producing original art works, fostering the development of emerging artists, sparking dialogue and working closely with local communities.

Meet the Team