when enjoying a dance performance last saturday, i had the experience of a great confluence.
badke by les ballets c de la b, a.m. qattan foundation and kvs (photo: DannyWillems)
on the one hand, the dance performance was about the individual and the collective. “dabke” is a name for a palestinian folk dance – a line dance for weddings and other festivities, meaning stamping on the ground with your feet in a collective way. choreographers Koen Augustijnen and Rosalba Torres Guerrero from belgian les ballets c de la b and dramaturge Hildegard De Vuyst from belgian kvs questioned the role of dabke in the context of the israeli-palestinian conflict. they put the question to palestinian dancers and artists. the outcome is baptised “badke” – something new, “the creation of something self-contained but nevertheless referring back to a shared tradition – that is close to the collective element that is close to or inherent in traditional dance but which still alienates it”, as the programme description says. “It is a dance of collective physicality, but also of self-determination; a dance of solidarity and belonging, in which everyone nevertheless stands and counts for themselves.” you can watch that transformation by the inclusion of elements of modern dance, hip-hop, capoeira and artistic dance. ”The addition of choreographic components from other fields of movement and cultural contexts tells among other things of the desire to be part of a global culture. Through deconstructing traditional dance with the simultaneous adoption of its original social function – the collective – and the introduction of global components the dance charges itself with new content and so acquires a socio-political relevance and explosiveness.”
it’s an expression of a will to live and of a lust for life – it’s a model for conviviality.
for, on the other hand, le manifeste convivialiste, déclaration d’interdependance, which i had signed two days before, das konvivialistische manifest, für eine neue kunst des zusammenlebens, is just about the same. it is about living together, in peace, and in freedom. about 40 french intellectuals, coming from different backgrounds like Edgar Morin or Chantal Mouffe, held a discussion for years and agreed to publish that manifesto. it’s a plea for a dynamic balance between individualism and collectivism, for the right of the individual to compete with others as long as it is not detrimental to the collective.
so the dance performance (which abstained from allegations or presenting cruelties) could perfectly well illustrate what “convivial social relationships” are meant to stand for.