Dance in Palestine has a history as complex and contentious as the land itself. Dismissed as bacchantic madness by Bible tourists in the 19th Century, revived and glorified by Zionists, Pan-Arabists and Palestinian Nationalists in the 20th Century, and rejected by Islamic Reformists in the 21st Century dance in Palestine has a rich and elusive story that remains to be told. Raising Dust traces one dancer's journey into Palestine's past and present. Through historical archives, the memories of dancers of yesteryear and into today's vibrant performing arts scene, Nicholas Rowe shares a vision of the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is often hidden by tragic news headlines. During tumultuous times dance has acted as a barometer of social change, a forum for debate and a means of expressing forbidden ideas. Far from apolitical, this most physical of art forms has often defined the political mood of the day. From the grapevines of the Old Testament to the municipal gardens of the Palestinian Authority, Rowe weaves dance and politics into a cultural narrative that is both personal and collective. Sumptuously illustrated, the resulting history stamps and twirls with the power, grace and determination of a dabkeh line.
A Cultural History of Dance in Palestine