As we are currently getting ready for the second run of our summer intensive for choreographers in Paris, we are taking a second to look back on what our past trainees are up to now. Today we caught up with Leena Diab from Nazareth.
Photo: Emmanuelle Staüble
Leena Diab was born and raised in Arlington, Texas, USA. She began her dance training at the age of 3 at the Arlington YMCA. By age 6 she started dancing with Metropolitan Classical Ballet Company for 10 years and performed in many shows such as « The Nutcracker », « Creation of the World », « Firebird » and many others. She taught Pre ballet and Jazz at the company for two years as well. In 2008 she moved to Nazareth, Palestine and started working at Alamal Dance Organization while studying for her BA in dance at The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. During these years she took many dance, movement, physical theatre and choreography workshops overseas and continues to look for new ways to gain more knowledge and inspire others through her love of dance.
Do you have any exciting news to share with us?
In October of 2018, I recently started a choreography project: « BETWEEN TWO WORLDS ». It is a student contemporary dance project/performance, based on intensive workshops which focuses on the process more than the product. The performance features 11 females dancers from Alamal Dance Organization in Nazareth, that were chosen during the audition in August 2018. The piece is choreographed and directed by the two artists /dancers Leena Diab, Nazereth and Ayman Safiah, Kufr Yassif, who both currently teach at the school. The performance is produced and sponsored by Alamal Organization. Our work touches on certain social issues women are facing these days and how they can find the courage to become more confident, stronger and freethinkers in this society or reality that they are living in. Women empowerment acts as a powerful tool against exploitation and harassment. This builds the confidence in their ability to take control of their own lives, develop their own identity and have their own voice in order to realize their full potential and in turn bring about social change. Also we focus on introducing new dance elements and techniques, which help the dancers explore, research and express with no limitation, in expressing anger, fear, confidence, love, acceptance of their own body and others differences. Our approach concentrates on giving the dancers the chance to think outside the box, to listen to their inner self and to use their bodies freely as an instrument to express the human psyche and condition without any limitations. We encourage the dancers to think about the topic assigned and how they can relate to it while thinking about the quality of movement in relation to the idea being expressed. We always approach the students by giving them tasks to allow them to participate in the creation of the project. As we focus on the process more than the product, meaning focusing on the varying techniques while allowing the dancers to explore and articulate what they want to say through movement, we are contributing to their natural growth and understanding of these young dancers in relation to defining their own identity. We believe that experimentation with different ideas within the confines of dance techniques, will better lead students to define and redefine new forms and ways of thinking, feeling and moving.
You followed the intensive program of La Fabrique de la Danse last year, can you tell us more about this experience?
In July of 2018, I was a part of the La Fabrique de la Danse business and choreography lab program. It was a very interesting and fascinating experience for me. Not only did I meet other amazing choreographers, it gave me so many tools to think about. I learned so much about how to run a business and how to have a successful career as a choreographer. One of my biggest challenges in this program was learning to let go and not be afraid to have simplicity in my movement as a choreographer. I also was faced with my fear of public speaking and having to present my work as an artist through words and not just through movement. I believe that this program gave confidence to go back home and start creating new projects. I really feel that I am now ready to take on any challenge that comes my way.
What are your next projects, your next challenge?
New projects? I am really focused right now on my recent project and seeing how I can develop it more and more and maybe after that I will think about creating new projects for the future. You can keep in touch and discover Leena work on Instagram or on Facebook