Movement Composition

Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

Title: Wojoud wa Hodoud

by Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

25 March 2018 

AUC Falaki Theater & Gallery , Cairo, Egypt

Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF)

Case study of “Wujoud wa Hodoud” 

Part 1 – My source of inspiration

A good project starts with a vision. The process and the result of project would be telling the story of that vision.

To start a project, I usually start with writing an artistic statement which serves a guideline of the project.


Part 2 – The challenges and solutions 

Jordan has weak performing arts industry. I have been challenged with very limited options or accessibility of all production and performance resources, the lack of local industry standard, weak performing arts education and professional certification. 


Part 3 – My movement experiments 

As the director and choreographer of this piece, I went through a series of movement experimentation session in deep research of embodied movements with the performers.

I believe the shape or shapes emanated from the movement experimentations would be identified, analyzed and selected to represent the concept and be used as the basis for the motif this performance.


Choreography example

Here I would love to share a few examples of dance performance and invented rituals, or ceremony which inspired me when I was creating “Wojoud wa Hodoud”.

1. “The Rite of Spring” by Pina Bausch

Photograph courtesy of Tristram Kenton

On a stage covered in dirt, dancers honored the advent of spring and engaged in rituals of celebration and competition. A young woman was chosen as the sacrificial victim who must dance herself to death.

Raw, stark, and deeply theatrical, the choreography is atavistic in its deep.

The video is a brief excerpt from the 2011 documentary entitled “Pina” by Wim Wenders.

Title: Pina (documentary)

Title: The Rite of Spring

by Pina Bausch


2. “The Rite of Spring” of Ballets Russes

The Rite of Spring (French: Le Sacre du printemps) is a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company.

When first performed on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation. Many have called the first-night reaction a “riot” or “near-riot”

Photograph courtesy of V. Khomyakov

The video bellow featruing the performance on 29th of May  2013, at the same theatre and exactly 100 years after its infamous premiere in which a riot erupted.

Also, the costumes and backdrops are precise recreations of the original ones.

Title: The Rite of Spring

29 May 2013

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, France

More examples of “The Rite of Spring”

“The Rite of Spring” of Joffrey Ballet (1987) – here

Art talk of “The Rite of Spring” hosted by Edward Goldman (2013) – here

Costume drawing

by Nicholas Roerich


Collection of State Central Theater Museum, Moscow


Nicholas Roerich

Guga Chauhan at the Kullu Valley


Collection of State Oriental Art Museum, Moscow

Costume drawing

by Nicholas Roerich


Collection of State Central Theater Museum, Moscow

3. “Psalm” by Limon Dance Company

This is a dance originally choreographed by José Limón in 1967. 

Limón (1908-1972) was praised by The New York Times as the “finest male dancer of his time.” He created Psalm as a tribute to the Jews who died in World War II.

The video below is the behind the scenes of dancer Francisco Ruvalcaba shares his thoughts on Jose Limon’s 1967 “Psalm” as the Limon Dance Company prepares their season at The Joyce Theater.

In this video, you will see ombining rehearsal footage with interviews, audiences are offered an uncommon entry point to the behind the scenes of movement creation. They are able to see dancers and choreographers, intimately, as people they can relate to – not only abstract figures onstage.

To see an excerpt of the performance of “Psalm” – here

Title: Limon Dance “Psalm” Documentary

by Dance Up Close



4. “Spring, Spring, Spring” by Mark Morris Dance Group

This is a rendition of The Rite of Spring, based on an arrangement of Stravinsky’s classic score by acclaimed jazz trio The Bad Plus, who performs live.

Photograph courtesy of Ken Friedman

The dancers, divided into a quartet of male dancers, a quintet of women and three male-female couples.

Women dance their rounds as rounds. The music trills and the men take turns twirling, happily or drunkenly dazed. The Sage’s heavy steps are material for the three couples, the men weighed down by the women. Partnering is fluid. The real rite here is the spring, spring, spring in every step, and the understanding that this is music of changes. The beat never stays the same, and neither does the dance.

To know more – here

Title: Spring, Spring, Spring

by Mark Morris Dance Group

12 June 2013

5. “L’Allegro, Il Penseroso Ed Il Moderato” by Mark Morris Dance Group

Winner of numerous awards, this piece was Mark Morris’s premiere work as Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium on November 23, 1988, and in the intervening years, has been performed to critical and audience acclaim all over the world.

Photograph courtesy of Elaine Mayson

“It is Mr. Morris’s great achievement to have further intensified the composer’s eloquence by expressing his lyric energy in powerfully expressive bodily movement, and, moreover, to have done so with such naturalness that the music sounds as though the composer had intended it to be danced from the beginning,” observed The Wall Street Journal.

Title: L’Allegro, Il Penseroso Ed Il Moderato

by Mark Morris Dance Group

23 November 1988

Part 4 – Production – Step 1- Movement composition


Movement analysis system example

A movement analysis system is a method and language for describing, visualizing, interpreting and documenting all varieties of human movement.

1. Anca Giurshescu, Eva Kröschlová – Theory and method of dance form analysis

2. Adrienne L. Kaeppler – Method and theory in analyzing dance structure with an analysis of Tongan

3. Rudolf Laban – Laban movement analysis system


Theory and method of dance form analysis

Anca Giurshescu, Eva Kröschlová


An analysis of Tonga dance structure

Adrienne L. Kaeppler


Laban movement analysis system

Rudolf Laban

Systems of human movement analysis often use a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating contributions from anatomy, kinesiology, psychology, and many other fields.

They are very beneficial for not only dancers, but also actors, musicians, athletes, physical and occupational therapists, psychotherapy, peace studies, anthropology, business consulting, leadership development, health & wellness, etc. 

Part 4 – Production – Step 2 & Step 3 

Space formation and my choices of music. 


Further Development

Initiated in 2017, “Wujoud wa Hodoud” went from a duet for non-theatre space to full-length theatre piece of 8 performers.

To know more, click here.

“It is perfect. The transition is especially good. It is all about details. It is done well. I don’t like something predictably. Each choreography looks like it is promptly cut.”

— Audience

This session starts at 12:40 pm (Saturday), 12th, September, 2020.

Who is the speaker?

Who is the speaker?