Dance Towards Peace: Wordless expression [Archives:2007/1108/Last Page]

December 3 2007

Following well-received performances at the sixth International U.K. Congress and the U.N. Day in Amman, Jordan, professional dancers and Dance Towards Peace founders Fady Shmouni and Abby Lindenberg had their Dubai debut.

The pair performed their message-infused dance, Para Los Ninos (For the Children, in Spanish), on Nov. 26 at the third Arab Media Humanitarian Forum, organized by UNICEF in partnership with the Dubai Press Club and the United Arab Emirates' Al-Bayaan newspaper. The forum ended Nov. 27.

Lindenberg stated, “We're thrilled to continue spreading our message of peace through our dancing, especially with the support of UNICEF, a world leader in philanthropic causes and an organization with which we share many of the same beliefs and values.”

For 60 years, UNICEF has been the world leader regarding children, working on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive from early childhood through adolescence.

Lindenberg continues, “Because dance knows no borders, colors or races, rather than set limits, it lifts the spirit and frees the soul. Dances is timeless, forever expressing words, thoughts and emotions that can't be spoken.”

Shmouni and Lindenberg founded Dance Towards Peace after meeting in Amman. As Lindenberg explains, “Fady is originally from Iraq, while I was born and raised in the United States, so I think this makes our message even stronger, given the prevailing issues between our two countries.”

Together with UNICEF, their organization seeks to raise awareness and spread a global message of peace. Dance Towards Peace particularly is concerned about the welfare of children in the Middle East.

Para Los Ninos is a captivating and explosive dance employing elements of salsa and modern dance to send the world the message that, much like dance, peace can set us free.

In their dance Para Los Ninos, Shmouni and Lindenberg combine their dance talents with their passion for world peace to bring light to children suffering in today's global society. “We dedicate this dance to all of the world's suffering children and what better place to send this message than in the Arab world's most international city?” Shmouni points out.

“When people refuse to listen to words, dance can send messages that otherwise would be lost,” Lindenberg explains, “Para Los Ninos is intended to do just this – bring light to the world's suffering in the hopes of uniting us all in one common goal, which is peace.”

The three-part dance's first movement is contemporary in style. Clearly portraying two extremes, Shmouni depicts an aggressive role, representing today's society filled with poverty, suffering and war. Contrasted with this is, Lindenberg, who depicts a more gentle character representing those suffering in today's world, mainly the children.

This contemporary movement ends with the commencement of a film. Drawing on all areas of the world, the short photo sequence highlights suffering and distress.

The third and final movement of Para Los Ninos ends with a salsa in the hope of highlighting how the world can be when we forget our differences and connect through dance.

“Dance, more specifically salsa, is about positive energy. It brings people together, connecting them both on and off the dance floor,” Shmouni asserts.

In addition to the sixth International U.K. Congress, the pair have performed Para Los Ninos at the sixth International Medsalsa Congress, Spain's first International Salsa Congress in Grandia, Valencia and the Dubai Salsa Festival.

Dance Towards Peace formed in Amman, when Lindenberg, newly stationed in Jordan for work, was introduced to Shmouni, who had been studying in Amman for four years, at a salsa night. Despite coming from two conflicting countries, the dance duo quickly overcame any preconceived differences. This enabled them to realize their myriad similarities.

Together, they created the organization's first dance, Para Los Ninos, stemming from their passion to create an awareness of children's suffering in today's world. Thus, Dance Towards Peace was born.

The organization is a youth-led initiative aimed at spreading a message of peace through dance, which often expresses ideas, thoughts and ideals that can't be expressed verbally.

Additionally, the organization is active in bridging cultural gaps, spreading awareness, offering educational alternatives and complimentary programs, employing a humanistic approach to working with underprivileged and impoverished children, promoting youth groups, assuring child protection and human rights and teaching the acceptance of diversity through dance.

Dance Towards Peace utilizes the power of dance to create change and promote world harmony. While focused on conflicts in the Middle East, the organization welcomes any opportunity worldwide for all causes dedicated to promoting peace.

Trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop and modern dance, Lindenberg worked as a professional dancer in New York City. Her dancing credits include Liza Minnelli's “Liza's Back!” London and Broadway tour, the MTV Video Music Awards, as well as work for Samsung, Toyota and Rolex, among others.

As a choreographer, she has worked internationally for industrials, casino shows, cinema and live stage performances. Her works include “Fire & Ice” in Atlantic City, Ici Disi Madrid in Spain, New Holland's annual conference in Seville, Spain and Argentina's La Luz New Year's Fiesta in Buenos Aires.

Currently studying medicine at the University of Jordan, the Iraqi-born Shmouni was forced to move following the first Gulf War and subsequently grew up in Canada, Dubai and Jordan, where he began dancing salsa. He currently is Middle East ambassador to the Medsalsa Congress. Having performed and taught throughout Canada and the Middle East, Shmouni also dances and teaches Argentine tango.

Once he completes his medical degree in 2009, he intends to practice child psychiatry in Canada, where he hopes to use dance as a curative therapy for psychiatric disorders.

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