Anna Lewis

Dowmunt, Zosia

(Un)Covered

Zosia received support to undertake a period of development with her collaborators in Egypt in September 2016.

Following the trip, Zosia reported:

"(Un)Covered was a project born out of my time spent in Cairo and a desire to make a work that unites women across cultures to counter the societal pressure on their bodies and clothing choices that can have violent and painful consequences. It’s about tackling islamophobia from a feminist perspective. I began research in Cardiff and West Wales and continued the research with women in Cairo, subsequently creating a 45 minute performance including a short film featuring Egyptian women.

The funding from WAI made it possible to travel to and stay in Cairo in order to work with my Egyptian partners both creative and venue based. It meant I could work with 20 Egyptian women on the research, gaining an insight into their own struggles triumphs and perspectives. I was also able to collaborate with Aly Khamees, an incredibly experienced dance artist who worked with me to challenge me as a performer. I believe his input moved me forward in my practice, encouraged me to find new and unique movement language for the work that was influenced by Egyptian style and also his European practice. I also worked with a musician, Mohamed Shafik, to create an original sound score for the work which I feel lends it a weight and an atmosphere supportive to my creative idea. Saber Elsayed created a light design that enhanced the atmosphere of the work. The costume, by Sherin Hegazy was the perfect combination of femininity and power, referenced many of my influences including Martha Graham’s lamentation, the colours of the Suffragettes, the hijab and western hoodie. She also created an innovative second costume that doubles as a projection screen for the film, incorporating and intwining the concept of clothes into the production itself.

I was also able to share the work in Cairo and it was warmly received by an audience of over 100 people in the sharing.

Having the funding and being able to travel lends this work an authenticity as well as allowing me to have invested in in-depth research. I feel I have developed my choreographic voice, deepened my understanding of my physical vocabulary and solidified my goals of creating work that has a socio-political impact.

Also, as a practitioner of participatory dance I developed. The workshops with women had a focus on confidence building and empowerment and I utilised some of my therapeutic skills learned during previous therapy training and I have begun to embed them in my dance practice. I got very excited about therapeutic dance practice and feel it may become a thread in my work for years to come. Perhaps I may even continue training in dance movement therapy in the future."

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