Al-Bahira presents contemporary, theatrical, and traditional folkloric dances rooted in cultures of the Middle East and surrounding regions.
Al-Bahira Dance Theater is dedicated to high-quality presentation, preservation, and education about the dances and music of the Middle East and surrounding regions, and celebrating these ever-evolving art forms, as relevant today in the U.S. as in their historical lands of origin. Employing creative storytelling and theatrical dance elements, Al-Bahira’s unique approach is contemporary yet deeply respectful of the rich traditions and cultural context of the original forms.
Contributions to Al-Bahira Dance Theater help fund annual productions (including major artistic theatrical shows and community showcases) and educational opportunities (including the TC Raks! Dance Festival, other workshops and community education), plus artist/cultural collaborations, community outreach, and research.
Artistic director Mirah Ammal’s fascination with the central role dance, music, and oral tradition occupy in the culture and day-to-day lives of the Middle Eastern peoples guides the group toward creative theatrical works with an organic, story-based tone. The stories, humor, drama and beautiful dances are enjoyed by fans of all ages.
Al-Bahira Dance Theater’s work infuses authentic, traditional Middle Eastern dance with contemporary, cross-cultural and theatrical elements to create exciting dance works that are well-researched and respectful of the traditional forms. The organization’s mission is to:
Al-Bahira’s performance troupe includes approximately 15 company members, corps members, and apprentices. In addition to performing for cultural events, the troupe produces theatrical shows, an annual autumn variety show, a dance festival, and quarterly “haflas” for student, avocational and professional dancers and musicians. Al-Bahira also offers weekly classes and special workshops in belly dance, Middle Eastern folkloric dance, and percussion through the Aalim School of Dance,
2012-2013 Season Update: “Ifrita Helwa,” TC Raks! Dance Festival and beyond
In June 2012, Al-Bahira Dance Theater presented "Ifrita Helwa", an original dance-play based in traditional Egyptian and American stories and inspired by the 1949 Egyptian film, “Afrita Hanem” at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. The production featured contemporary and theatrical dances derived from traditional dance and classical music of Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iran (Persia), and involved collaboration between Al-Bahira artists, choreographer Mirah Ammal, guest artists Derek Phillips and John Munger, and guest choreographer Laurel Victoria Gray.
Ifrita Helwa is made possible in part by a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and through the support of individuals like you! Donations to Al-Bahira through our fiscal sponsor, Springboard for the Arts are tax deductible.
November 30-December 2, 2012 at Old Arizona, Al-Bahira presents the TC Raks! Dance Festival: An annual weekend of workshops and shows to educate, highlight and celebrate traditional, contemporary and fusion forms of the dance and music of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North Africa and Central Asia. The 2012 festival features guest artists Michelle Joyce and Lady Fredrique, and is presented in partnership with Afsana.
Looking forward into 2013 and beyond, Al-Bahira will continue quarterly community showcases (haflas and shows), prepare a summer production, and begin work on the 2013 TC Raks! Dance Festival. The company will also begin working toward other artist and cultural collaborations and a new major theatrical production planned for the 2014 season.
To learn more about Al-Bahira Dance Theater and our educational entity, Aalim School of Dance, please visit http://www.albahira.org