Palestinian dance group boldly steps out to tell story of persecution

“We dance for life and freedom”. This is the message that the Palestinian company Diyar Theater transmits to the public through its performances. Her work combines Palestinian folklore with contemporary dance in a way that not only conveys a passion for dance but a commitment to revitalizing her national heritage.

The Diyar Theater program at Cultúrlann included folk dance (debkeh), performed by twelve talented and committed Palestinian dancers, eager to showcase their cultural and folk dance heritage to the world.

They also performed “Taken”, a play choreographed by Royston Maldoom and centered on the testimonies of Palestinian children who had been – and continue to be – detained, usually without charge, in Israeli prisons.

The inspiration for Taken came from a television report, seen by Maldoom. It showed a young Palestinian woman named Tamimi who, in an astonishing act of bravery, slapped an Israeli soldier who was trying to encroach on her family’s property.

The article also draws on personal accounts of hunger strikes, solitary confinement and their devastating effects on families. His final scene of defiance and strength characterizes the people Maldoom says he had the privilege of meeting during his visits to the Palestinian-occupied West Bank and Gaza.