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Ancient Modernity  #3 – A man in the street

A friend, a dancer I know, in Cairo once said that here you have to ‘be a man in the street’, describing the attitude with which she carries herself in order to move around this city. It stayed with me. First, the concept that men are more hardened, more able to aggressively assert their space and therefore tackle public transport; and second, that it was a necessary quality to live in Cairo. The sad fact is its true. Even if you are a tough woman, used to asserting her space, the attitudes of those around you permeate your awareness. I had become aware that there was a dominant masculine energy in my workshop group. This was not coming from all the men, and was not dominating all the women,

Ancient Modernity #2 - Internal versus external

​Our workshops continue in the energetic, enthusiastic and brutally honest fashion in which they began. I cannot overstate how much I am enjoying facilitating this process. I see every participant developing in their own way, and some beautiful moments are coming out of the tasks and improvisations. On day two we explored two contradictory words which came up in the initial discussion to describe Cairo: Supportive / Invasive. We worked with contact improvisation, moving into and away from touch and tried to find a place of listening and receiving without directing. In a city that requires a hard shell, this is a useful but challenging task. The duets that resulted were mostly stunning, but s

Ancient Modernity #1 - starting from the space

I have to confess to having some misgivings at this early stage about the enormity of the project I am embarking on. Someone said during session 1 of the research workshop last night that they were curious as to how I was going to distill the culture of an entire city into dance. I had to respond with a smiling “me too!” I’m no stranger to starting with an idea and letting the process form itself, but this is ambitious even for me. Not least because I am a mere guest of the city in question… However, there is something addictively exciting about coming into the studio with people whose lives are different to mine, and hearing their stories. At the same time the project needn’t be about our d

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