El Zar (2003)

10 minutes • Egyptian Dance of Exorcism • Choreographed by Samara
Music: Omar Faruk Tekbilek; Sayed Balaha

The rich folklore of the Middle East has tales of the possession of an innocent human by the sinister djinni, those creatures born of smokeless fire. In a ritual exorcism, the zar, the sufferer is relieved of her spiritual possession by the orchestrations of the Kodia, the leader of the ceremony, who is herself possessed, but has come to terms with her own possession. The 2/4 ayoub rhythm, played on percussion, builds while the zar participants join the Kodia in helping the possessed through dance, ever-increasing in its frenzy. At length, the frenzy is spent, and the possessed is freed, at last, from the debilitating habitation by the djinni.

Click to watch an excerpt.

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