Red Desert (2008)

8 minutes • Contemporary Interpretive Oriental Dance • Choreographed by Samara
Music: Claude Chaloub

Red Desert is inspired by the memory of a young Bedouin woman named Raqia, whom I met while I was performing in Amman Jordan. She was the youngest daughter of many children. Her father was 103 years old and had four wives. Raqia was promised in marriage to her cousin, and was very unhappy about her family’s plans for her. She wanted to travel the world, learn many languages, and go to college. Her father would hear none of this. He expected Raqia to do what her sisters had done — get married and give him many grandchildren. Raqia did not want to follow in her sisters’ footsteps. She dreamed about a different life from the one had by the women who surrounded her.

My fellow dancer Jehan and I stayed with the family and spent time with Raqia. We danced, laughed, and shared stories. She was fascinated by the freedom of our lives and asked if she could escape with us. She never did.

In this piece I used abstracts of Tradition, Freedom, and Innocence as elements of conflict in the central character’s life. I dedicate this dance to Raqia wherever she may be, and to women everywhere who live trapped in cages of repression.  — Samara 

Click to watch an excerpt.

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