Beytna by Omar Rajeh and Maqamat

Omar Rajeh and Maqamat are continuing their 8-year journey of touring their creation, Beytna, with upcoming performances on the 14th and 15th of July 2023 at the Les Nuits de Fourvière festival in Lyon. They will be joined by guest choreographers Julia Moncla from Collectif A/R and Bérangère Fournier from Cie La Vouivre. Additionally, on the 27th of September 2023, they will open the season of Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona.

Beytna represents a convergence of worlds and a celebration of differences, diversity, freedom, and the presence and richness of others. The artistic process behind Beytna critically examines the notions of inclusion, belonging, openness, and diversity. The piece pushes the boundaries of these concepts, inviting the audience to truly experience the other and to share a space artistically, culturally, and socially. It addresses questions of community and professional belonging, as well as the relationship between contemporary dance and everyday social and cultural traditions and values.

Beytna photo by Ibrahim Dirani
Beytna photo by Ibrahim Dirani.

The performance features four choreographers and four musicians with diverse artistic backgrounds, hailing from different continents, cultures, and countries. They gather onstage around a banquet of food, engaging in conversation, laughter, dancing, and the preparation of food. Together, they raise their glasses in celebration of health, happiness, pleasure, love, and friendship. This simple meeting serves as a starting point for a more complex choreographic and conceptual performance structure. Beytna extends an invitation to the home of the other, to the realm of the artist’s profession and choreographic construction. It is an invitation that embraces diversity, explores past forms and situations, and seeks to discover new rhythms, patterns, and logic.

About Omar Rajeh

Omar Rajeh, a highly acclaimed choreographer and dancer, is a prominent figure in the contemporary dance scene of Lebanon and the Arab world. In 2002, he established Maqamat in Beirut, and in December 2019, he relocated to Lyon, France, where he founded his company. In recognition of his significant contributions and dedication to culture, he was honoured by the French Ministry of Culture in 2021 with the title of “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters). With over twenty choreographic creations to his name, Rajeh’s works delve into the concept of the body’s unity and singularity. Rather than viewing the body as an individual entity with a single centre, he explores the interactive relationship of “bodies” that imbues it with dynamics, presence, and meaning. His choreography seeks to establish an extraordinary physical presence intertwined with strong socio-political connections, leaving a profound impact on audiences. Beyond his artistic endeavours, Omar Rajeh is the founder of the Beirut International Platform of Dance (BIPOD), a renowned dance festival in the region. Additionally, he co-founded the Masahat Dance Network, which fosters connections among contemporary dance artists in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Jordan. Building upon this regional collaboration, Rajeh created the MOULTAQA LEYMOUN platform, providing a space for both emerging and established Arab artists to showcase and develop their work. Recently, he has also established Citerne Beirut, an eagerly anticipated performing arts space in the heart of Beirut, aiming to enhance and expand the reach of Maqamat’s projects, catering to a broader audience. Unfortunately, Citerne Beirut was dismantled in August 2019.

Location: Les Nuits de Fourvière festival, Lyon

Date: 14 and 15 July 2023

Location: Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona

Date: Opening 27th September 2023



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