Fatima Gate

Text by Nathalie Elghoul

What interested me in creating Fatima Gate (named after the place where the last Israeli checkpoint in Lebanon is located), was using the physical isolation proper to belly dancing as a choreographic starting point in the search for a vocabulary which, existing outside of traditional language, had the potential to transform itself into a more dramatic and universal language. I also viewed it as a metaphor for an obstacle, not only physical but mental, whereby the body becomes a resonator through which several voices find expression, each in its own way, while the whole, in spite of itself, forms a unit. I attempted to make the body an empty, neutral terrain on which two languages (oriental and contemporary dance) confront one another, intersect, split apart, then become one. In short, a land upon which things can be built or destroyed. This confrontation is all the more interesting to me, as I am half Lebanese and half Ecuadorian; I am also classically trained and have been practising oriental dance for 15 years. To me, Fatima Gate represents the search for a door, a bridge between two choreographic cultures, both of which nourished me, though I often sense that they are in conflict with one another.

Karine Ponties responds with the following excerpt from Sur la Frontière by Marcel Moreau

It is time that the boundaries within the self fell.

Between reason and folly, between the organs on the left and those on the right.

Between our highs and our lows. Between good and evil, and even between life and death.

It is time that consciousness be an absolute nomad who never sees where the country crossed begins, or where it ends.

It is time that we no longer be natives of anywhere, except the unfathomable.

It is time that our senses transform themselves into riders of extraordinary hordes, without faith or homeland, free of taboos, needless customs and psychoanalytic compasses, endowed with animal nostrils, trained to sniff out forbidden knowledge from afar.

It is time that we drink in these still-unknown spaces.

within ourselves, those that open onto the confines of our true identity.

It is time that there be no horizon other than my vertiginous complexity, as it is here that I can delight without limits in the fierce and tender poetry of not setting one.


A project initiated by Nathalie Elghoul

Choreography: Nathalie Elghoul and Karine Ponties

Dramaturgy: Karine Ponties

Music score: Rik Verstrepen and Lode Vercampt

Performers: Nathalie Elghoul and Lode Vercampt

Lights: Florence Richard

Sound effect: Alain Berthe

Technic: Stef Cafmeyer and Pino Etz

Premiere: April 21, 2004 at Studio Het Muziek Lod in Ghent, Belgium.

Production: Het Muziek Lod

Thanks to Kunstencentrum Vooruit and STUK (Belgium)

21.04.2004 → 2004-04-23Lod, Gand, Belgium