Nonviolence updates, news and more!
Dance Therapy Workshops in Jerusalem and Hebron

This month, Larissa Normanton, a MEND volunteer from England, organized and taught two ballet dance therapy workshops for youth groups in the West Bank cities of East Jerusalem and Hebron. Nidal Allan, from the Spafford Children’s Centre, kindly lent a hand translating and keeping order. The workshops were aimed at introducing Palestinian youths to western Dance as well as spending the afternoons participating in an activity which allowed them to release tension associated with the situation in which they are living.

On Friday 24th October, a group of youths from both the Old City of Jerusalem and the surrounding area met at the Spafford Centre in the Old City. The group totaled almost 25 girls and boys with ages ranging from 12 to 19. Larissa repeated the hour and a half workshop the following day in a room of the new MEND office in Hebron. 15 Menders, boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 18, spent a very enjoyable afternoon learning some basic ballet steps and dancing around the office to music from Swan Lake and the Nutcracker. They were all ‘good sports’ and participated well – even Mohammad Jamal, MEND coordinator in Hebron, joined in skipping and jumping and showed some clear talent when it came to ‘plies’! The workshops were followed up with discussions from which the general consensus was that they found ballet “beautiful” and “expressive” but hard to pick up in such a short space of time especially considering the fact that the way of movement is so different to Dabkeh dance. It was however clear that the workshops were enjoyed by all!

Let’s hope these workshops were just the first of many joint projects between MEND and the Spafford Centre. Larissa will also teach a weekly ballet class at the Spafford Centre for young Palestinian girls.

2008-10-30 12:04:25 GMT
Comments (1 total)
I taught Larissa ballet for several years in England and I am very proud of her efforts to bring it to a wider audience. I hope that the good work continues!
--Lisa Hunter
2008-11-05 12:31:14 GMT