An American Artist visited Bahrain from November 12 to November 16 as part of the Al Riwaq Winter Art Festival, the NEST, and presented his dance and music installation. The performance and installation was meant to be a kind of choreography for the Adliya neighborhood, as a way to address erasure and development in architecture and cultures. The circular dance floor was activated by a crew of local breakdancers from the neighborhood. Joe commented, “Their dance, twirls, freezes and rhythmic steps are traced on the floor as they scuff it. Their dancing does not come from Bahrain, it is an import, but it is also their own, they’ve made it their own, inflecting local flavors and moves into the mix, which I find is the perfect accent to what the floor is meant to represent. These steps take the performer through the motions, one step forward, a half step backwards, into a twirl and advance to the next step. Literally moving forwards and backwards, until it takes the performer into a series of steps that are impossible to perform without flying. It’s a playful way of embodying a difficult situation in culture and society; you can’t have progress without some level of sacrifice.” Joe’s favorite part of his event was watching the children interact with the dance floor, trying to emulate the break dancers, often following the floor steps as best they could, and owning the space in their own way.
The American Artist is the artist advisor for the Ashkal Alwan Home Workspace and study program in Beirut, and has exhibited internationally in museums, festivals, streets, and dancefloors. This event drew many young adults and teens and promoted cultural dialogue through dance and music.