Nadra Assaf

Nadra Majeed Assaf is the founder/artistic director of Al-Sarab Dance Foundation which houses Al-Sarab Dance School as well as Al-Sarab Dance Company. She is also a fulltime academic (Lebanese American University) and well-known researcher in dance in the Middle East.

She is best known for her work in dance in the Middle East as she has lived in Lebanon for the past 30+ years.  In 2016, she started an A-typical collaboration with American dancer, professor, and choreographer Heather Harrington. This collaboration has led to numerous performances and conferences in Sweden, Beirut, Malta, San Diego, CA, and Geneva, New York

Assaf is an advocate for the arts in Lebanon and the Region. She is also an avid researcher; among her publications: Audience/performer re-action: an investigation into audience/performer reciprocity via a touring site-specific performance in Lebanon (2020) Not Without My Body: The Struggle of Dancers and Choreographers in the Middle East (2015) and “I Matter”: An Interactive Exploration of Audience-Performer Connections (2012).

For more information: https://nadraassaf.com/

Seminar Two Digital Provocation Abstract:  Unraveling Embodied Terrains Through Virtual Reality

In this digital provocation, Assaf and Harrington address their work and highlight the manner in which they communicate and perform together while existing thousands of miles apart.

On January 14th 2016, Assaf (Lebanon) and Harrington (USA) embarked on a collaboration that led to the exchange of 35,500 written words centered around a woman’s body and how it is treated in society. They searched their bodies for memories, excavated them, and brought them to life. They were able to witness and reframe these memories into a new, shared movement language. Their collaborative movement created empathy, bonding, and understanding on a deeper level than their written correspondences. Through their use of research and virtual connection Assaf and Harrington have continued to create work that speaks against the violence that hauntingly remains embodied in female bodies across the globe.

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