The Duet

“I am an active performer, choreographer, cultural organizer and researcher with a focus on both movement and contextual analyses.

In August 2017, after coming back from a-two-year study of anthropology in Europe, reconciling my feelings about my heritage, acknowledging of the multi-culture that composes my identity, I felt a strong inner impulse to create a dance to tell my story.

A few weeks later, I was joined by my brother, Anas, who is also a multi-disciplinary performer and choreographer. With intense and eager interest, he encouraged me to discover our unique dance language – and its power to repeat.”

This is the birth of Wojoud wa Hodoud”.

– Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh (Director)

“The word Wojoud means Existence and the word Hodoud means Borders in Arabic. Together they draw personal stories of land, nation, division and struggle into the body and voice of two brothers.”

- Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh (Director)

“The word Wojoud means Existence and the word Hodoud means Borders in Arabic. Together they draw personal stories of land, nation, division and struggle into the body and voice of two brothers.”

- Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh (Director)

Cast:

  • Concept, director: Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
  • Choreographer, performer: Anas Nahleh, Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
  • Sound design: Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
  • Sound assistant: Mohamad Asem AL Khoja, Xiaoman Ren

Development

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

In its 50 months’ development, a team of more than 50 artists (dancers, choreographers, designers and composers, production personals ensure the construction, support and facilitation of aspects of the work, administration personals manage and coordinate the day-to-day operation, etc.) have been working together and through in-progress presentations, participating in festivals from home and abroad, Wujoud wa Hodoud reached more than 1500 audiences.

Group Version

Wojoud wa Hodoud was a process developing a method of dance making inspired by the exploration of the objective and subjective state of perceiving oneself as who I am and as relating to being a member of different groups which may be relying on a common culture, a traditional lineage, the common land in history, shared experiences, and defined by the existence of borders. 

What  started as a duet of the story of  my brother and I, after 12 months of development, evolved into an investigation of the embodied past of eight Arab performing artists of Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian heritage living in Amman, observing the acquired habits from the childhood to adulthood, from past to present.

The dance creation reflects the stories of eight artists, their constant struggle of assimilating into different cultures, finding a balance between them and balancing their identities within.”

– Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh (Director)

“On the night of the debut, the blood moon was fast approaching as people excitedly filed into the theater.

Having lasted an impressive hour and a half, Wojoud wa Hodoud constructed its own world,its inhabitants tapping rhythms into the ground and forming human trains that spiraled and stomped and ultimately separated.”

- Jad Dahshan (Author at artmejo)

Read the full article, click on the button below.

artmejo-Icon-01

“On the night of the debut, the blood moon was fast approaching as people excitedly filed into the theater.

Having lasted an impressive hour and a half, Wojoud wa Hodoud constructed its own world,its inhabitants tapping rhythms into the ground and forming human trains that spiraled and stomped and ultimately separated.”

- Jad Dahshan (Author at artmejo)

Read the full article, click on the button below.

The Process

For this production, director Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh teamed up with visual artist Ren.

The indeterminate or “chance” aspect of the work is explored as the performers dance through “shapes” and “lines” created by an extensive fiber-optic installation.

What has resulted in the space is intentional, and at the same time, spontaneous, connecting the dance piece with day-to-day randomness of life and the dynamics of conscious and unconscious creative adaptation of life defined by borders.

Additionally, the dance making is independent from music. As a result, in performance, with experimental sounds and audio noises produced live with the dance movements, music is neither followed or rejected by the movements.

“In the design process of the installation, techniques including thread and rope modelling, cardboard modelling, 3D modelling.

After performers experience evaluation, further experimentation with material and technology were conducted, allowing more engagement and the possibility of designing choreographic sequences of light and shadow.”

- Xiaoman Ren (Visual Artist)

Cast:

  • Concept, director: Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
  • Choreographer: Anas Nahleh, Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
  • Dance: Anas Nahleh, Emran Alamareen, Mohammad Qattan, Amer Ibrahim Dhman, Daniel issa, Omar Murra, Jalal Abu Khadejeh, Mahmoud Ahmad, Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh, Odai Talal, Jamal Suliman, Asem Al Khaja, Omar Hasanain
  • Original score: Zaid Sajdi
  • Light designer: Jiří Šmirk
  • Visuals and installation: Xiaoman Ren
  • Associate designer and technical support: Asem Al Khaja
  • Coordination and communication: Ahmed Ziad, Waseem Abd Rabu
  • Photographer: Mohammad Nabeel Alsarafndi, Ghassan Sela, Emily Nevis, Nuria Osama , Mohammad Emad, Ren, Orestis Alexiadis
  • Video-grapher: Mohammad Ali, Amr Abu Eitah, Xiaoman Ren
  • Video-editor: Xiaoman Ren

“here is nothing pretentious of this piece. It is very honest. You can see dancers are giving everything they to the performance.”

— Audience

We created a blog to document the journey. To know more about this project, click on the big B button below.

“here is nothing pretentious of this piece. It is very honest. You can see dancers are giving everything they to the performance.”

— Audience

We created a blog to document the journey. To know more about this project, click on the big B button below.

Videos Journey

Creating videos of this 4-year-journey of making visions of dance come alive is fun. The video are the tickets to unbeatable nostalgia.

In the 50 months’ process, visual artist Xiaoman Ren made many videos to capture the movements, patterns, shapes, dynamics, the colors, textures, design elements of this dance creation, and the various emotions we had taking on the journey: excitement, anxiety, curiosity, frustration and AMAZEMENT.

Featured in the Project