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Director Omar Rajeh hopes for another successful year for BIPOD festival in Beirut

BEIRUT | iloubnan.info - March 20, 2014, 17h21
Par Laura Hamade
Beirut International Platform of Dance (BIPOD), one of the most important dance festivals in Lebanon, continues this year to enhance its already established reputation. In its 10th year, the festival is celebrating its sustained progress and advance in developing a new approach to dance in Lebanon, and establishing a strong regional and international network.
For its 10th anniversary, Bipod created an astonishing program and will celebrate dance continuously throughout the event that is taking place on the 10th – 27th of April, 2014 at At Al Madina Theatre, Théâtre Monnot, and Metro Al Madina.

Mr. Omar Rajeh, director of BIPOD shared a little information about the festival’s success in the past and what he hopes to see on the 10th anniversary.

iloubnan.info: Can you share with us a little information about what BIPOD is?
Director Omar Rajeh: BIPOD started in Beirut in 2004 and it takes place annually. In 2007 the Masahat Dance Network started and it included the Oman Contemporary Dance Festival, the Ramallah Dance Festival, and a festival in Damascus. Every year, the participating companies come to the Beirut platform then go to the other countries. However, the event no longer takes place in Damascus. In 2011 the performance was cancelled due to the political conflicts in the country.

In 2009, a platform within BIPOD, called Leymoun was initiated. While BIPOD takes place for two weeks, four of those days are dedicated to the Leymoun Arab dance Platform. This event is held every two years and has marked the years 2009, 2011, and 2013. The next one will occur in 2015 and will take place in Europe. The purpose of this platform is to present and promote the work of nearly 30 Arab choreographers and artists. 120 international presenters, that include festival directors, theater directors, and producers, come from Canada, the United States, Korea, the Arab region, and other countries to see it.

iloubnan.info: Was this year difficult to organize, considering the instability in the country?
Director Omar Rajeh:
We face challenges every year when putting this festival together. However, our main goal is to stay motivated. That is what’s important and that is usually what gets us through another successful year.

iloubnan.info: What do you hope to see change this year?
Director Omar Rajeh:
This year, I hope that there will be more viewers. I’m not worried about viewers not understanding contemporary dance. As I said earlier, people have been more and more exposed to this form and they have started to enjoy it. I hope this festival will spark more discussion and I honestly hope more people will take an interest in contemporary dance, especially since the audience in Beirut is demanding. Every year viewers come expecting to see something new. They don’t attend to watch something they have already seen before. That is exactly what we try offer them.
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