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Work / Publication

The editor of A Dance Mag talks the transcendental potential of dance, both for individuals and society

“Born out of the belief that dance is powerful” A Dance Mag, according to the magazine’s editor Jana Al Obeidyine, is intended as an opportunity to “draw attention to this power by creating a space where our moving bodies are expressed, legitimised and heard”. She continues, “dance is cathartic, dance is resilience, dance is transformative. When we dance, our moving-bodies become bodies in action; they move with, towards, against, or for something. Inevitably this action in the world makes a difference. It is not wise or safe to be unaware of the power we carry within us.”

Dance has always been part of Jana’s life. “It was through dance that I met many of my friends, visited unlikely places, discovered others, and often rediscovered myself”, she tells It’s Nice That. “When I decided to start my own project, I felt that I had to give back some of what I have gained through life. A magazine is the perfect format to host and carry valuable stories of experiences we thought were ephemeral.”

Published in Beirut, Jana co-founded a Dance Mag with Ibrahim Nehme, formerly of The Outpost. Each issue is themed, the first one focusing on ‘Transcendence’, in reference to Sufi whirling dervishes, who become like one continuous form, oscillating in unison in a sort-of meditative trance.

There are features on spirals, record collecting, and how ketamine and techno helped one writer understand Derrida, among many other pieces. “To say ‘Dance is life’ may sound a bit kitsch, but to me it’s true. When people dance, they display who they are, where they come from, and what they believe” says Jana. “Dance reflects a cultural context; many political events, such as national days, election days, even protests, include music and dance. It affirms and enacts political statements, it creates a sense of solidarity. But dance is also a space where norms can be challenged and subverted. Some of today’s established dance forms were initially born as a reaction to social and economic restrictions, an intuitively smart move that channels anger, sorrow and frustration into a non-violent act.”

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A Dance Mag

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A Dance Mag

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A Dance Mag

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A Dance Mag

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A Dance Mag

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A Dance Mag

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A Dance Mag

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A Dance Mag

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A Dance Mag