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Elemental

water-catherineThe 2009 show from Josephine Wise and Johara Dance.

‘A unique and compelling theatrical experience’

el-emen-tal (adjective) l-mntl
The four elements – fundamental, essential – a basic principal – powerful – a force of nature – an intermediate being between humans and spirit.

A journey weaving through the four elements in pursuit of our nomadic origins. A rite of passage exploring passion, compassion, ecstasy and madness.

Water

The show started with the element water, from which all of life came, and from which we are all born. Using a rich mix of industrial Tribal music, Egyptian Oriental, a string quartet and a Hungarian Roma band, the dancers emerged from the depths of the ocean to introduce themselves, conduct a sensual but confrontational liaison, enjoy a moment in the sun and submerge again into the deep.

Earth

The earth section explored the physical world and our sense of community, with folkloric steps and group Tribal unison work juxtaposed against the delights of discovering what the body can achieve. The music ranged from Moroccan fusion songs by Natacha Atlas to Egyptian oud and tabla solos.

Air

The nai, or bamboo flute, heralded the air section, in which Sufi trance dances lead in turn to a spiritual awakening, the ecstasy of elevation from the mundane world, and the experience of madness. Using hypnotic music and chants, we explored all three outcomes.

Fire

Finally fire engulfed the stage and human desire took over, with Spanish and Middle Eastern fusion music to stoke the passions and stir the heart. Having explored the possibilities of passion and raked over the embers, we finished in a whirl of vibrant dances, a spectacular display of human delight.

The Concept Behind Elemental - by Josephine Wise

‘For Johara’s first full-length production I wanted to use my experience as a dancer and choreographer in a variety of fields to create something unlike previous shows based on Middle Eastern Dance. I have purposely stretched well-known styles into new shapes as well as faithfully using authentic and precise techniques.

For example, in ‘The Deep’ and‘Deeper’ I have used music that was created with Tribal Fusion dance in mind, but used a mainly Contemporary dance idiom with a few fusion moves mixed in, and in‘Introductions’ I have stuck very precisely to authentic Egyptian style, with sections of Saidi, Baladi, Khaleegy and Zar. Other dances also mix different folkloric styles or mix Western and Eastern moves.

The whole piece has taken the four elements and used them as a springboard from which to extrapolate human meaning and explore the experience of life and interaction. It is not designed as an intellectual exercise, rather it is an experience in which the audience can immerse themselves, so sit back and enjoy.’

Audience reactions

  • The show was FAB – well done!!

    Sarah, Maidstone
  • This is by far the BEST belly dance show I have seen, not one dull moment, not one move out of place and not one dancer of less than a professional standard!
    Galit Mersand
  • The show was amazing and you danced beautifully – a complete inspiration.

    Becca, Maidstone
  • Amazing, stunning, beautiful, wonderful… Your performance tonight was out of this world. Can’t wait to see it again in Brighton.

    Jane, Maidstone