In a double celebration of Lebanon’s thriving contemporary dance scene, the country’s all-new creative space, Citerne Beirut, opened its doors yesterday, under the patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers H.E Mr. Saad Hariri and in the presence of ambassadors, officials, partners, supporters and friends to host the first night of BIPOD – Beirut International Platform of Dance 2019.
Commenting ahead of the opening night, the Choreographer Omar Rajeh, Founder and Artistic Director of Maqamat, said that holding the 2019 festival in a new space perfectly suited to dance, music and theater would undoubtedly give this year’s edition an added dimension.
“Citerne Beirut is much more than a new music and cultural venue; it symbolizes the next chapter of the country’s journey in the performing arts, showing us the way forward and inviting us to push boundaries, which Maqamat has always relished doing,” he said.
The 15th edition of the global dance extravaganza will focus on the Lebanese dance scene, with a wealth of talented local performers taking to the stage, alongside several highly acclaimed international acts, for 9 showstopping performances.
Lebanese dancers participating in the 10-day festival include: Omar Rajeh; Mia Habis, Ghida Hachicho; Bassam Abou Diab; Guy Nader; Yara Boustany; Charlie Prince; Stephanie Kayal; Nivine Kallas; and Jadd Tank. Performers from Spain, Australia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iran, Palestine and Jordan will also be delighting audiences with their skills and creativity.
Mia Habis, BIPOD’s Artistic Director, said “I am delighted that Citerne Beirut will be hosting such a talented array of performers from near and far, while raising the profile of Lebanese dancers, over the next 10 days and well into the future.”
This year’s edition of BIPOD was inaugurated by the local premier of Omar Rajeh’s renowned work #minaret. Inspired by the minaret of the Great Mosque of Aleppo, which was once an iconic landmark of Syria’s largest city, but now lies in ruins, the work had its international premier at the 2018 edition of Romaeuropa Festival and is now on a global tour. A second performance of the work will take place tonight.
In keeping with tradition, the shows are being supported by studio presentations, workshops, masterclasses and discussion panels, together with a film screening, and a daily virtual reality presentation.
Citerne Beirut is also hosting the eighth edition of Moultaqa Leymoun, which once again takes place during BIPOD 2019. The initiative has carved a niche over the years as an established platform for emerging and established Lebanese and Arab choreographers to meet with directors of international festivals.
More than 18 choreographers and dancers from Lebanon, Tunisia, Palestine, Jordan and Iran will participate to this 8th edition where the major focus will be on Lebanese artists, including full-length performances by established Arab artists and will hold in parallel a series of studio presentations to introduce young emerging talents, their work and future projects.
It will be an opportunity to open conversations during the platform around the theme of “Rush of Adrenaline: Reinjecting life into Performing Art Spaces” – engaging artists, organizers and dance professionals.
Organized by Maqamat, BIPOD 2019 takes place from April 4 to 13. All performances will be held at Citerne Beirut, Armenia Street, El Nahr (end of Mar Mikhail).
The full program for BIPOD 2019 is available on: www.maqamat.org
Tickets are on sale at Librairie Antoine and on www.antoineticketing.com
Facebook: @bipodfestival / @maqamat
Instagram: @bipodfestival / @omar_rajeh_maqamat
Twitter: @bipodfestival / @maqamat