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Performing Beautiful Differences

By Radia Androun

By creating dance that mirrors national identity and promotes heritage, Sareyyet Ramallah-First Ramallah Group is making history in the field of Palestinian dance.

Its premier of “Irzal” in the Ramallah Cultural Palace on December 4 was the fruit of almost three years of intensive training in an elevated body language. Performers dressed in traditional Palestinian attire presented stirring Palestinian folk dance and music.

This April, at the eighth annual Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, FRG advocated for the rights of the disabled under the slogan “Natural Differences”. The festival brought dancers with disabilities onstage to perform with others, emphasizing the importance of providing welfare services and improving existing infrastructure to integrate people with disabilities into all activities within their communities. The festival also promoted cultural exchange and dialogue between Palestinians and other nations through the participation of international dance troupes.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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