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Dance show throws into relief women’s ups and downs

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Joelle Choueiry-Youssef and Nathalie Jabroun present The Birth.

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The six "Faces of Eve" dancers on stage in the final scene.

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During the rehearsal of the first scene (The Thoughts), the dancers contemplate on the stairs.

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Rehearsing for the sixth scene (The Lament) a day before the event.

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Scene 11: The Birth.

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The final scene entitled The Passion.

Click any image to view all six pictures.

May 27, 2008—

A dance show entitled “The Faces of Eve” conveyed powerful messages about typical episodes in a woman’s life to a captive audience at the Selina Korban Auditorium in Byblos last week.

The piece was “a depiction of the different states or ‘faces’ a woman develops through trials and errors in life,” said Dr. Nadra Assaf, a longtime dance and English instructor at LAU. She choreographed the show in collaboration with the other five dancers, two of whom are LAU graduates. They are all members of the Al-Sarab Dance Troupe, part of the Al-Sarab Alternative Dance School. Assaf is the founder and artistic director of the latter.

The show was divided into 12 scenes: The Thoughts, The Creation, The Longing, The Generations, The Verve, The Lament, The Circle of Life, The Envy, The Fury, The Domain, The Birth and The Passion.

According to instructor Amy Karameh and graphic designer Eddy Nahas, two of the most impressive scenes were The Birth and The Circle of Life.

In the latter, the dancers lay on the floor in a circle, heads towards the center, and each one only moved right after the person to her right, forming a clockwise cycle of movement. Fascinated by the effect, pathologist Nicholas Ibrahim suggested people try it with family and friends. “Believe me, when minutes pass, you will be fascinated by the strong bond you will create with the other members in the circle,” he said.

Other viewers were touched by the show’s vivid scenes that swung from one emotion to another, as the titles suggest. “One cannot but relate to each and every emotion, and remember similar moments in her own life…as a mother, a daughter, a friend, and ultimately and simply a woman,” said Jinan Khoury, a former Al-Sarab dancer who’s currently pursuing her master’s at LAU.

According to Al-Sarab dancer Rabih Khoury, “‘The Faces of Eve’ further reminds us, men, how desperately clueless we are of everything that is fundamentally woman.”

Jimmy Bechara, another Al-Sarab dancer who doubled as the show’s sound technician, compared the women represented in the piece to “a tree that grows and grows and overcomes every winter and every obstacle in life, and after a long fight, it gives flowers in spring and creates a new life.”

LAU alumna Marie-Noel Assaf said, “While I was watching the dancers, I did not only see but also felt the anger, the passion, the pain, the deception, the love, and the tenderness. I was not dancing but I was in the performance.”

Nadra Assaf said her “faces” were inspired by the “Adams” in her life—father, brothers, uncle, best friends, and son—and the ways in which each one influenced her.

She dedicated the performance to the memory of the “most influential” of the “Eves” in her life—her mother—and to the son expected by main dancer Joelle Choueiry-Youssef, who performed while being pregnant.

The event was held under the auspices of the School of Arts and Sciences in Byblos.

Referring to Assaf’s “creativity and talent in the field of artistic expression,” Dr. Irma-Kaarina Ghosn, Chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, said, “Your dancers performed superbly, which reflects your teaching skill. We are proud to have such talented faculty in the department.”


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