- Title: USA: Radhouane El Meddeb performs at the World Nomad Festival
- Date: 14th May 2013
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (French) RADHOUANE EL MEDDEB, DANCER, SAYING: "It is a project that I created and that pays homage to the great singer Oum Kalthoum who is the most famous singer of the Arab world. She was called the star of the Orient, the third pyramid of Cairo. She wasn't very beautiful but she had this mystic and this intriguing side."
- Embargoed: 29th May 2013 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVABNGMAISLRD3HXWJY3RUJTLID6
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- Story Text: Tunisian artist Radhouane El Meddeb shows off his femininity through dance at the World Nomad Festival in New York.
Tunisian dancer Radhouane El Meddeb showcases his femininity at the World Nomad Festival in New York.
El Meddeb said his performance brings out his own sensibilities, emotions and relationship toward women in Tunisia after the Arab Spring.
"Oum Kalthoum has a song which is in this piece called El hob kolloh. And it's a beautiful poem of love and it's also about liberty of loving and about loving others. And so what I'm looking to do is also shed light on forces that are threatening women. There is a new tradition that has been invented which is a very frustrating relationship towards women and towards femininity. And I'm not sure that Oum Kalthoum could actually exist in this world were women are being threatened. Women are being obligated to wear a veil, that they are not allowed to act in the cinema and in films. Since the revolution women's rights have been threatened. I wanted to bring to light my our femininity and also to shed light on the kind of ambitious and schizophrenic that Arab men have with women and with their own femininity," he told Reuters.
According to El Meddeb, Kalthoum is one of the Arab world's most famous singers and he said is drawn to her mystique.
Since the Arab Spring in 2011 El Meddeb and other Tunisian artists have been able to express themselves freely, something which was one forbidden.
"I can't say that during the time of Ben Ali that we couldn't create anything, it's not true. One did create. But it was part of a generation that discovered art, that studied the theater, that danced in Tunisia in the time of Ben Ali. They did all this without being able to travel and meet artists from other countries. But no one was able to be free to express themselves. We could not be free," he said.
El Meddeb said the festival will help breathe new life into the Tunisian art scene.
"I think that before the year 2011 there has been a focus on the countries that were involved in this revolution in the Arab Spring. And of course Tunisia was the first country were the revolution took place in January 2011. Many people have been affected by the shock of what happened. There is an interest in finding contemporary artists that have a new story to tell and are giving this country a new image, a new reality," he said.
The World Nomad Festival will end on June 1st.
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