March 28, 2022 Abdo Sayegh Rodriguez

Body Watani in Water by Leila Awadallah | April 16, 2022

Body Watani (body-as-homeland) is both an improvisational movement practice and an emerging contemporary dance form. A site where improvisational research guides practitioners into their personal ‘body watani’ through spending time with ancestries, contemplating our complex relations to land / water / home, and activating embodied memories into dancing. Developed by Leila and Noelle Awadallah, two Palestinian American dancers, this contemporary form also finds roots in dances of Arabic / *SWANA (South West Asia North Africa)/ Mediterranean geographies through specific movement techniques, music of the region, and cultural / political content to engage with that deepens our relation to Body Watani’s context.

The first half of the workshops will begin with writing prompts, conversations, and improvisation research. Participants are invited to choose how they physicalize the material (dancing, sitting still, everything in between). In the second half, we will share more about our new work: TERRANEA through teaching movement materials that incorporate elements of our technique and we will teach repertoire from the upcoming performance, premiering May 5-7 at the Candy Box Festival. Participants are welcome to witness or participate as they see fit. 

In Collaboration with TU Dance, Body Watani will host a workshop focused on WATER. Ancestral waters, fluid memories, relations to bodies of water as we ourselves are bodies of water. The material will move through the following: What memories are held and carried by waters? What can we learn from the water? What is it to depart and return via waterways? Grappling with the histories and also ongoing realities of bodies moving across water, the imposition of laws and lines on a fluid space, and the loss amongst waves. We will sink into the many complexities and swim together – through.

These workshops are for all levels, all abilities. We welcome everyone from professional dancers, to anyone who wants to deepen their relationship to the movement inside their particular body.

April 16, 2022 | 11:00am-2:00pm

Cost: $10


*Proof of vaccination or negative test within 72 hours + masks are required at the door for all in-person participants. Please read TU Dance Community Safety Statement.

*In-person only. Pre-Registration is required as in-studio space is limited. Please complete the Pre-Registration Form here!

ACCESSIBILITY: Please email for more info & conversation about accessibility within each workshop space and also the structure of this movement-focussed workshop.

Leila Awadallah is a Palestinian American dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker based between Minneapolis and Beirut. In 2019 she began developing Body Watani, an emerging dance project and practice reflecting on notions of home/land through movement research (*SWANA-rooted forms) and performance. Now in creative partnership with Noelle Awadallah, they will premiere Body Watani’s first piece, TERRANEA at the Candy Box festival which is a National Performance Network supported project. Leila has received multiple fellowships, grants and residencies to research her practice and create original works; most notably the Jerome Hill Fellowship (2021-2023), Amalgam Residency (2021), Arab American National Museum Residency (2020), Jerome@Camargo Residency (2020), Springboard 20/20 Fellowship (2018-2019), and the Daring Dances Choreographic Residency & Fellowship (2019). Leila’s artistry as a performer and choreographer is rooted in the formative experiences of working with Ananya Dance Theatre (2014-2019) and co-creating the Kelvin Wailey dance project, as well as her BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota.

Photo by Leila Awadallah

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