- Title: Banned performance at Nablus University causes controversy
- Date: 19th December 2019
- Summary: JERUSALEM (DECEMBER 18, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ACTOR AND DANCER, ASHTAR MUALLEM, SAYING: "My thoughts when the show was stopped were "you (the dean), don't listen to me, put what I think aside, and do not listen to me, my opinion does not matter. But listen to all of these people what they are saying, who are in the audience, listen to what they want, why are you oppressing them." NABLUS, WEST BANK (DECEMBER 18, 2019) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF AN-NAJAH UNIVERSITY (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ACTIVIST, FAYHA' KHANFAR, SAYING: "I believe that Ashtar who has performed is without doubt very talented and I was there at the performance for most of the time, and has witnessed how talented she is, very skillful, however the problem was not in Ashtar, the problem was the nature of the performance and where it was performed." VEHICLES DRIVING IN STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) STUDENT AT AN-NAJAH UNIVERSITY, MUNTASER THAFER, SAYING: "It is against our traditions and manners to have a woman coming on stage in such an outfit, even the colour of her outfit was not appropriate, the colour she chose to wear is not appropriate."
- Embargoed: 2nd January 2020 13:58
- Keywords: Art Ashtar Muallem Dance Jerusalem Nablus Nablus University Palestinians Performance Ramallah West Bank
- Location: NABLUS AND RAMALLAH, WEST BANK / JERUSALEM
- City: NABLUS AND RAMALLAH, WEST BANK / JERUSALEM
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Theater
- Reuters ID: LVA004BAN4MZ9
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Ashtar Muallem was in the middle of a solo dance performance at a university in the occupied West Bank last week when a school official walked on stage and ordered her to stop, saying her acrobatic moves did not "fit" the institution.
The French-Palestinian dancer's aerial performances showcase dozens of fast-moving twists, turns and flips, as well as body contortions and poses, that weave up and down a thin line of silk fabric hung centre stage.
Her show on December 10 at Nablus' An-Najah university struck a nerve with the dean of its school of fine arts, music professor Ghawi Ghawi, who took to the stage while Muallem was mid-air to question whether Ashtari's "expression of art fits" the school.
Video shows Muallem condemning Ghawi to cheers from the audience shortly after descending to the ground at the school's Ashtar Theatre, telling him that his "generation is over" and that "our generation wants something else".
"My opinion is not important, but listen to all of these people what they are saying, who are in the audience, listen to what they want," Muallem, 29, said.
The university's decision has sparked controversy on social media, with some Palestinians on Facebook voicing support for Muallem but others praising what they called the university's "respectful decision".
Student who watched show thought her outfit was inappropriate, "It is against our traditions and manners to have a woman come on stage in such outfit," said one of the students Muntaser Thafer.
An-Najah apologised for Ghawi's "regrettable behaviour" in a statement on Tuesday (December 17), saying that "administration will take appropriate measures to ensure that such incidents do not recur".
(Production: Stephen Farrell, Suheir Sheikh, Rami Ayyub, Sinan Abu Mayzer, Ashraf Abu Shaweesh)
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