DOTE Q Poster Centred Logo (1)
DOTE Q Poster Centred Logo (1)

Festival 2019

How can we shift perspectives

…as a festival, as an artist, as a spectator?

Where do we meet?

13 – 24 NOVEMBER 2019 –  For 12 years, Dancing on the Edge has been presenting the best of performing arts from the Middle East, North Africa and the diaspora in The Netherlands. Every festival artists, curators, thinkers, theater professionals and audiences from different parts of the world bring together an abundance of stories and perspectives in one place. Only a small part of that richness is communicated through the performances.

In 2019 Dancing on the Edge pressed the reset button. To offer a better opportunity to meet and interact on a deeper level, we deconstructed the festival format. Without set frames, but with the soft radicality of open questions.

Dancing on the Edge is a festival that moves between different borders, bodies, histories and (pre)conceptions. In its working processes and programming, it attempts to challenge singular narratives and identities in representation as well as dominant power structures and (post)colonial relations. Between 13 and 24 November 2019, we invited everyone -makers, spectators and partners- to embark with us on a personal and collective journey through the different programs, to unpack themes and urgencies, and to undergo the potentials of the encounter that the festival can provide.This journey is best experienced by starting with identifying one’s position of departure, then questioning one’s endeavor, formulating a quest for the journey, immersing oneself in several events, finding inspiration and connection, then reflecting on where the journey has brought you. We invited our audiences to join dots on the map, and make their own travel plan.

This edition of the festival was curated from the idea that a new collectivity is needed. A collectivity where both the individual and different perspectives have a place, where a multiplicity of ourselves can be celebrated. In relation to others, and each of us with a stronger presence. We think that we have to practice, that hope means work. And that we want to work together to practice hope. Each from our own position (and beyond). Are you with us? How do you practice hope?

Thinking Vocabulary

  • Encounter: an unexpected, pivotal or casual meeting with someone or something
  • Positionality: the social and political context that creates your identity in terms of race, class, cultural heritage, gender, sexuality, citizenship and ability status
  • Quest: search for something
  • Endeavour: an attempt to achieve a goal
  • Reflection: serious thought or consideration that gives meaning to experience

This festival edition is conceived of as a journey through the programs, which take different artistic forms. A brief overview:
Interactive Installations
Alaa Minawi’s installation had been developed specifically for DOTE and forms a part of his project, 2048. It is an inquisitive installation, which invites each spectator to venture within themselves to search for a meaningful sense of belonging. The audience passed through it before attending the festival performances, to activate our bodies and an awareness of our personal point of departure.

Performances & After Talks
A program of contemporary dance and theater performances that share a dedication to an artistic process and practice that foregrounds the complex notions of identity and belonging, of personal and collective histories, and the power of re-writing and re-narrating them. Many of the performances were cross-national, where makers collaborate across disciplines, references and national boundaries.

A four day artistic lab at the heart of the festival, from 17 to 20 November, where different festival artists, a number of local and international artists, theater and dance students, and interested festival audience members came together in an open studio space for an intimate exploration of each other’s working processes and artistic material.

Mezrab-DOTE Nights
Three nights at Mezrab on 17,18 and 20 November. These nights were co-curated with Mezrab. Each night had a focus based on themes within the festival and explored through performances, story-telling, and music. A program bringing together local performers with festival performers and spectators who like to improvise.

Table Talks
A series of 7 Table Talks: 4 before the festival, 2 during the festival, and 1 after the festival. It is one of the spaces in which DOTE wanted to imagine and realize a shift. Through these encounters, we hoped to sense and imagine together: what are the urgencies that guide our practices, which structural changes do we desire and, what are we doing to achieve them? The starting point for each Table Talks is formulated out of what emerges as urgent in the preceding edition articulated by the group that is present. See our online magazine to follow the process!

Second-hand Body – a collective writing project
Second-hand Body was a writing project, curated by Lina Issa, in which five writers from the MENA region and The Netherlands wrote a text collectively. A journey traversing different bodies, temporalities, locations and references. The proposal was based on the concept of second-hand, the re-using of what has already been used and has a history. The first writer started writing at the beginning of August, the point of departure a proposal from us, passed the text on to the next writer, and so on. The results can be followed on our online magazine.

Collective Urban Gnawa – workshops and performances
What if we come together in dance, in trance? Drawing on both urban and contemporary dance as well as the traditions of trance in Gnawa music and rituals, choreographer Khalid Benghrib guided a series of workshops leading to a large-scale collective performance in public space. The project was open to everyone: from first-time dancers to professionals, different body shapes and abilities, ages, backgrounds and life experience. A collective and transformational movement that will form the closing moment of the festival, took place in public space on Beursplein in Amsterdam.

13-14 November Utrecht – Stadsschouwburg Utrecht, Het Huis Utrecht
15-16 November Rotterdam – Theater Rotterdam
16-24 November Amsterdam – Podium Mozaïek, Mezrab, Frascati

Browse through the festival catalog…

…or browse through our archive below to see what specific events were on the program in 2019: