Since the beginning of 2022, Dance Base has been working on PRECIPITATE, our project with Yaraqa in Lebanon.
PRECIPITATE is a bespoke creation Lab that connects dance artists from Scotland and Lebanon in a series of online and in-person encounters, which facilitate the opportunity to create, collaborate and exchange. Taking place between July and October 2022, the Lab culminates in an in-person portion to take place at Dance Base.
Supported through the British Council International Collaboration Fund, PRECIPITATE is the second round of initiative following the micro-forum*, as part of CATAPULT.body – a partnership pilot program between Yaraqa and British Council Lebanon for professionals in the field of dance and movement looking to identify and access opportunities for support, growth and development.
A two-week residency at Dance Base from Monday 3 to Friday 14 October will be the culmination of the exchange as the participating artists join together in the studio to share their practice and explore ideas.
Meet The Artists
We selected the following artists as part of an open call and through a process of discussion and provocations we put the artists into three pairs, who are working as couples on a collaborative project.
Bassam & Kathryn | Sarah & Liz | Natasha & Jian
Bassam Abou Diab - Lebanon
Bassam Abou Diab is a Lebanese actor, dancer and choreographer focusing on contemporary dance and folklore. He has been dancing with Maqamat Dance Company for several years where he has worked in four creations “Mushrooms and Fig Leaves”, “Hibr”, “That Part of Heaven” and “Watadour”. Bassam has also performed in many theater plays with different directors in Lebanon like Nidal al Ashkar, Jawad al Asadi, Ossama Halal, Rouaida al Ghali, Badih Abou Chakra and Malek Andary. In addition, he created, choreographed and danced in 5 performances: “not connected”, “under the flesh” and “Of What I remember” “Eternal” and “Pina My Love”. And he co-created a performance titled “Incontro” with Jacopo Jenna in which they dance together. And another co-creation project “Who cares” with four young Mediterranean choreographers. He also directed and choreographed “The Siege/L’Assedio” with Monica Ciarcelluti also directed and choreographed for Green/Dance entropy company part of “home” presented in New York both performances based on ‘Rituals and movements’ workshop that he gave. And “Phalastinian karma” with the national Academy of Rome.
Kathryn Spence - Scotland
I am a dance artist and choreographer based in the Shetland Islands. My choreography work is often inspired in the environment, and my community based work is inspired by people. I studied Postgraduate Diploma Community Dance at Laban, London. My work has toured internationally, with a highlight being on Sadler’s Wells main stage. I recently made a dance film with collaborators which was commissioned by The BBC and is currently available on iPlayer as part of their Dance Anthology. I teach Shetland Youth Dance Company and Dance for Dementia classes. I was a Regional Artist for Dance North. I have also programmed and produced dance work, including being Co-Director of DanceLive Festival 2019.
Sarah Fadel - Lebanon
Sarah Fadel received her MFA in Choreography (with Merit) from the University of Roehampton – London, UK (2017). During her studies she choreographed and collaborated with other artists on many pieces including “…Not Really.” (In a collaboration with the writer Lloyd Slinger), and “THAWRATH” in collaboration with composer Sophya Polevaya (Royal Academy of Music). Her thesis “Zekra” was based on her practice that uses translation processes as a tool for movement generation. Her interest in translation, and linguistics stems from her BA in translation which she received from USEK, Lebanon (2011). In addition to the two degrees she holds, she took courses at the University of Paris VIII in dance studies. She also holds a Dancer Prima Diploma and a Teaching Certificate from Al Sarab Alternative Dance School where she has been teaching for the past 15 years. She has been part of the Al Sarab Dance Company since 2007 and had choreographed and performed in several company productions. Since her return to Lebanon in 2017, Sarah has also been an assistant professor of Dance at the Lebanese American University, the Co-Artistic Director of Al Sarab Dance Company, and a committee member of the International Dance Day Festival in Lebanon. Sarah has collaborated with many artists, musicians, writers, and composers from many nationalities resulting in performances in London, Paris, and Lebanon as well as working alongside Al Sarab Dance Company to create two dance films that were selected and screened in a total of 13 international film festivals around the world.
Liz Strange - Scotland
Liz Strange is an Edinburgh based actor who specialises in visually driven theatre that is devised, interactive and subversive. She has worked extensively in physical theatre with companies such as Company Of Wolves, Mischief La-Bas, Al Seed Productions, Tatraum Projekte Schmidt, Hearts & Minds, Plutôt la Vie and Surge.
Liz trained as an actor at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and The Desmond Jones School of Mime and Physical Theatre both in London, and the City Varsity Film and TV School in Cape Town. She has continued to train further in ensemble practice, clown and bouffon. Liz also has a degree in Community Education from the University of Edinburgh and is currently undertaking the Professional Development Award in British Sign Language and Deaf Studies.
She is a company member with Theatre Of the Oppressed company Active Inquiry, where she facilitates theatre projects with a wide range of community groups and organisations. She also often works with writers workshopping scripts in development and performing rehearsed readings.
She is currently collaborating with Judith Milligan, Estlin Love and Fiona Oliver-Larkin on The Furies.
Natasha Karam - Lebanon
Natasha Karam is a multidisciplinary creative based in Lebanon.
I float (with wonder and conviction) between movement, images, words and sounds, through which I question myself and my environment.
My artistic practice is moving and growing; it is taken by the coming and going of things and their quiet existence – as loud as they may be through life.
I take interest in capturing a perceived beauty existing in daily life, the intersections between the human and the natural worlds, the unexpected nestled inside the banal, and silent, hidden moments. Our interactions with space and time and how we alter them with our existence, is my current fascination.
In essence, my work is my point of view of what it means to be, and the time and place that is now.
Jian Yi - Scotland
Jian Yi is a multidisciplinary performance artist working across live art, experimental theatre and contemporary dance. Jian Yi’s work has been performed and exhibited in major institutions such as Dance Base Edinburgh, Tramway and CCA Glasgow.
My practice is rooted in an ongoing enquiry into the ambiguities of emotional experience. I often investigate non-linear performance methodologies, expanding the practice of dance into the realm of the experiential-unconscious. I am interested in bridging the gap between our mind and our animal selves, the connection between the inside and the outside; exploring what happens when this border between public and private, exterior and interior, opens up. In my interrogation of these issues, the figure of the ‘social outsider’ takes centre stage, estranging everyday realities through intensified mental and emotional states. Through my multidisciplinary work, I seek to explore the experiential trauma of marginalised persons within our society, such as neurodiverse and queer people of colour, and how we reflect on the broader human condition. Working with psychic space to build a sense of physical embodiment, I am interested to process the complexities of personal suffering.
In this residency, I would like to look at my ongoing thematic explorations around issues of queer mental health. I am interested in creating and interpreting movement that expresses interior dream states. I seek to generate a unique movement vocabulary that would allow us to communicate inner visions and feeling-states through sensory experience. Tapping into the notion of the collective unconscious, I would like to explore the various levels on which we can reach understanding beyond the verbal-linguistic. I am interested in the enquiry into dream states and what they can offer to our understanding of reality, the self or society through engaging with territories of psychic otherness as shamanic journey.
The dance and movement sectors in Lebanon and Scotland have their differences and similarities: Lebanon faces an unprecedented economic collapse and shifts in the political landscape while Scotland faces socio-economic impacts resulting from Brexit and growing pressures on sustainable careers in the arts.
These changes – uncertain and unpredictable – directly affect artists and their work by creating precarity around self-producing models and short term opportunities. In this specific context, both Yaraqa and Dance Base share a sense of duty to address sustainability in direct conversation with artists, by providing the time, space and people to strengthen their ecosystems to favour, reinforce & focus on long term creative processes and their outcomes now and in times of uncertainty.