May 14, 2016 21:00
With good friends … and good food on the board …
we may well ask, when shall we live if not now? M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating
Every weekend, on Sundays, I used to go to my grandfather’s house where the whole family gathers to have lunch, drink and dance. My grandfather was a very welcoming man and he always wanted to invite friends and visitors that are coming from different places to share the food with us. For him these moments of sharing and meeting were the most important moments of life. I never questioned this until after his death, when I lost such moments.
These few hours between 1pm and 5pm in the afternoon were his escape. It was a sacred ritual with his family, guests and friends. The table would be full of people and everyone would raise their glasses for health, happiness, pleasure, love, and friendship. Omar Rajeh
Four choreographers gather to eat together.
They come from different continents, cultures, countries: Lebanon, Togo, Japan, Belgium. They have different experiences, routes, artistic paths. What unites them is their work.
They talk, drink, laugh, dance and, eat together.
The simplicity of this meeting is a starting point to a more complexchoreographic and conceptual performance structure.
‘Beytna’ is a simple invitation to the home of the other; health, happiness, pleasure, compassion and friendship. It is an invitation to the artist’s profession and choreographic construction as much as it is to the forms and situations of the past.
“Traditional values anchor everyday life, and top among these is eating together”.
Food is essential for our being and it is the basic need for existence. However, food is more than survival, it engages our senses and addresses our social and cultural values. This primitive need is what brings people together or take them away from each other.
The food we eat, how we eat, the communal table, and sharing of food is a reflection of our traditional and cultural values as much as it is a reflection of contemporary life. It poses a strong connection between the traditions of the past and the way we live
In Beytna the table of food highlights the cultural and social background of each artist around the table, Omar Rajeh, Anani Sanouvi, Hiroaki Umeda, Koen Augustijnen, who are accompanied by Palestinian musicians of Trio Joubran. It serves to question the contemporary dance forms of today in relationship to the traditional dance structures. How much the contemporary forms of today relate to the traditional forms of each dancer/choreographer.
This gathering seems to reflect the cultural mosaic of Lebanon and other countries across the World and to highlight the richness and diversity of our artistic and cultural differences. Because the differences, and not the similarities, are what bring artists together.