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Multi-disciplinary arts performance wows at LAU

Music, dance and theatre bring together LAU students and professors with school students and professionals to stage unique engaging concert and performance.

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The show was also staged at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Beirut.

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Students and faculty from the Department of Communication Arts came out in full force on the Selina Korban stage in Byblos on Monday with a multi-disciplinary performance entitled “Momentum.”

“Momentum refers to the force of movement,” says LAU music instructor Seba Ali. “In this concert, music is the stimulus for movement and acting; it gives momentum toward a collaborative and deepened interpretation that we believe makes more impact,” explains the pianist who selected and played four hand pieces with guest artist Jacqueline Leung throughout the one-hour show.

The production seamlessly blends music, dance and silent acting to present a series of sketches, each of which is  rooted in a popular children’s game but interpreted and contextualized in societies today.

“We had decided we wanted something theatrical before realizing it would be blended with theatre,” says Leung of the music selected, which included the works of five European composers, among them Mozart and Khachaturian.

Leung, a concert pianist and university educator from Canada, was invited to host workshops on interdisciplinary improvisation at LAU in the week prior to the performance.

“This concert marks a powerful ending to our guest artist concert and workshop series this year,” enthused Ali, the show’s creator and artistic director.

Ali partnered with a number of faculty members to bring the performance to life. Students from Brummana High school and Al Sarab Alternative Dance School also shared the stage with LAU students for “An introduction to Acting,” taught by instructor Sany Abdul Baki.

“As most of the students are from other majors, they were unaware of how much time and effort is needed,” said Abdul Baki of the dedication shown by his students in the run-up to the performance.

Among them was economics major George Saba. “I love movies, so I decided to try acting. The experience was exhilarating and it’s definitely been my favorite experience at LAU so far. I’ll be taking more courses in this field,” said the first year student.

LAU instructor Omar Moujaes, who teaches drama to high-school students at Brummana High School was also visibly pleased with his own students’ achievements and the results of the multi-disciplinary collaboration. “It was great to see non-actors coming to LAU to partake in this type of collaboration, under the umbrella of professors with experience of the stage.”

Sitting among the audience, Caroline Mansour, whose daughter attends Al Sarab dance school, was thrilled by the show. “It’s easy to understand despite there being no dialogue. It was very realistic and familiar,” she said.

“Such performances provide great opportunities for outreach to the community outside of LAU,” says director of the dance school Nadra Assaf, who is also assistant professor of dance and associate chair at the Communication Arts department. “By doing this we reach more people and we allow them to gain a greater understanding of and respect for LAU.”

Guest artists not only enjoyed the experience but were equally impressed by the students’ talent, Ali adds. “One thing in common that all of our 2016-2017 guest artists have said was that our students show a strong passion for the performing arts and are extremely motivated in exploring out-of-the-box avenues of artistic collaboration.”


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