Based on the theme of the 6th edition of the FMA, Harem, choreographer Benjamin Hatcher explores the meaning and symbolism of oriental dancing. What was it about belly dancing that this local creator, usually associated with works such as Duato, Paige, Balanchine and Perreault, became drawn to? This is how Hatcher describes his venture: “If oriental dancing is still in existence today, it is with thanks to the courage and determination of the women. This dance is a testament of their nobleness, their power and their abilities. It comes from a necessity, maybe from a social instinct of survival… its rich and refined vocabulary opens the doors of innovation, to the discovery of ties with contemporary dance and the close connections that bond them together.” The desire of this exceptional work is to transcend the “dispute between images” by seeking to explain the complexity of the language of the oriental body, being feminine or masculine, and demystifying the existing taboos and idea of “sensuality”. As a result, this piece completely changes the widely held opinion that the body is merely a source of pleasure and submission.
Throughout this exceptional show, we discover that this oriental dance, which is deeply rooted in the Eastern culture, and which enables the people of that region to express their pain and celebrate life, exists as well in the bodies and memories of people in the West. In Harem, Unveiled, the dancers are metamorphosed through sacred movements and sublime poetry to unite in a music full of grace. This show joins Goethean aphorism with a universal value: “he who knows himself and knows others will be equally known: the East and the West are inextricably linked”. This show opens a door towards beauty, thus raising itself above the vicissitudes of our world.