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Home / About us / Our People / Nadra Assaf

Nadra Assaf

Program:

Performing Arts

Position:

Assistant Professor of Dance & Associate Chair in the Department of Communication Arts

Contact Data:

Email: nassaf@lau.edu.lb
Twitter: @NadraAssaf
Block A - 711d - Ext: 2226 - Byblos Campus

Degrees:

Ph.D. in Education, Leicester University.
M.F.A. in Dance (with honors), Sarah Lawrence College
B.S. in Finance, Louisiana State University, USA
B.A. in Theater from Centenary College, Louisiana

  • Nadra Assaf received her M.F.A. in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College, and a Doctorate of Education from Leicester University.  She has been teaching at the Lebanese American University since 1991. Her recent dance productions include: Sawtee (2017). This. Is. How? It. Happened! (2016), INFLUX (2015), STS: Space-Time-Shape (2012), I Matter: An Audience Interactive Performance (2010), The Faces of EVE (2008-2009), and Majnoun Leila (2007). She is the Artistic Director and founder of Al-Sarab Alternative Dance School (1991 to date). In April 2011 she organized and implemented the first annual International Dance Day Festival in Lebanon which was hosted and sponsored by LAU in partnership with Byblos Municipality and has continued to so to date. She is a founding member of IDO Lebanon, and a member of DBM, CORD and SDHS and has also been a Judge/Instructor on several Lebanese TV programs concerning performing arts. Among her publications: “I Matter”: An Interactive Exploration of Audience-Performer Connections (2012), Not Without My Body: The Struggle of Dancers and Choreographers in the Middle East (2015).

     

    • Assaf, N. and H. Harrington. (2017). Embodying Feminism in the 21st Century: Perspectives from the East and the West at the 13th International NOFOD Conference titled DANCE AND DEMOCROCY hosted by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. June 14-17, 2017.
    • Assaf, N. (2016).  Through the Lens Choreographing and Dancing: a Creative Process in a Shared Reality at Cognitive Futures in the Humanities hosted by University of Helsinki, June 13-15, Helsinki Finland.
    • Assaf, N. (2015). Not Without My Body: The Struggle of Dancers and Choreographers in the Middle East in Somatic Perspectives on Living in This World, edited by Natalie Garret Brown, Sarah Whatley and Kristy Alexander. Triarchy Press.
    • Assaf, N. (2013) Dancing without My Body: Cultural Integration in the Middle East  in Popular Culture in the Middle East and North Africa: A Postcolonial Outlook, edited by Mounira Soliman and Walid El Hamamsy. Routledge Publications.
    • Assaf, N. (2013). “I Matter”: An Interactive Exploration of Audience-Performer Connections. Research in Dance Education. Taylor & Francis.
  • August 2017  

    Our Bodies, Our Voices
    Co-Choreographer-Director-Performer
    In Collaboration with Heather Harrington

    In Collaboration with Heather Harrington. This collaborative project is a two-part, 60 minute performance and lecture, exploring themes of coverage, feminine comportment rooted in culture, societal expectations for the female body, the connection between a woman’s physicality and her sense of self agency, along with treatment, gestures, and postures. The collaboration will include Assaf’s solo, Sawtee (My Voice), which includes elements of poetry and music by Afghani, Iranian, and Lebanese female artists, and focuses on how discrimination affects female voices. Harrington’s solo, What about me? examines beliefs and language that support rape culture using the Stanford rape case as source material. Assaf and Harrington, while on different continents, have been working on the collaboration individually and came together for the first time in Sweden in June 2017 at the NOFOD conference to perform the work (which was titled Embodying Feminism in the 21st Century: Perspectives from the East and the West), demonstrating the power of the body to communicate through movement messages about gender and politics. Festival NEXT is their second presentation of the work.

    August 2017  

    Am I Who I Am Who Are You Who
    Director/Choreographer/Trainer/Dancer
    In collaboration with: Al-Sarab Dance Company, Amr Selim, Hediyeh Azma

    Words are set side by side to portray a specific meaning. If the words are shuffled around and put in a different order, they will not portray the same exact meaning. This is the same for movement. Movement when viewed from varying angles can give a variety of meanings but the essence is the same; like a string of words. Emotions, like pain, come in the form of a physical memory and the body is a true container of memories. It is a vessel of truth like no other. The body is the carrier of pain and joy in equal doses. And it holds no grudges or favoritism as it cannot think or rationalize. Its truth holds more than a million thoughts can. Music: Amr Selim Performed in several locations across Lebanon: Arz el Barouk, Baalbek, Hamra, Beirut Souks, Byblos Old Souk, Byblos Meena, LAU Beirut.

    April 2017  

    Hold On to Me
    Choreographer/Dancer
    In collaboration with: Al-Sarab Dance Company, Amr Selim, Hediyeh Azma

    The piece tackles issues of struggle and personal development. Performed in Byblos Public Garden and Beirut Gulbenkian Theater as a part of IDDFL 2017.

    April 2017      

    One Leg at a Time
    Choreographer

    The piece tackles issues of gender equality.Original Score: Laissez Mon A Me by MAJD performed in Byblos Public Garden and Beirut Gulbenkian Theater as a part of IDDFL 2017.

    March 2017    

    Sawtee
    Choreographer/Principal Dancer and Performer/Trainer
    Sawtee is a multifaceted, multi-genre performance creation which highlights the female identity and is primarily guided by the songs of the artist Yolla Khalife and the Choreography of Nadra Assaf and Souraya Baghdadi, artistically adapted to the stage and directed by Chadi Zein.The work explores different areas of gender, particular the female ones through movement, music, words, scenography, sound and lighting. Sawtee is a tribute to females who manage to continue moving forward despite the pain and suffering inflicted on them psychologically. sociologically, historically by males. Sawtee is an artistic representation of the female mystic, poetic essence and presence. Sawtee takes the audience to the hyper reality of the core of what it means to be a female from pleasure and ecstasy to sorrow and pain. Performed for 3 days at Monnot Theater Aschrafieh, Lebanon.

    November   2016   

    This. Is. How? It. Happened?
    Choreographer/Director/Dancer/Trainer
    THIH is a multidisciplinary creation which takes audiences on a time line journey through a collaborative process and fusion of movement, music and projection. TIHIH presents the opportunity for audiences to contemplate what it means to have a vision/dream and the passion to make it a reality. Performed for 4 days at Al-Madina Theater, Beirut, Lebanon. Music: Majd Alalam.

    April 2016 

    Peculiar Conformation
    Choreographer/trainer
    Insights into being a female in a paternal society. Performed at IDDFL 2016.                                                                                                          

    September 2015

    INFLUX
    Choreographer/trainer
    Insights into being a female in a paternal society. Performed at IDDFL 2016.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

  • PED 231 Modern Dance

    PED 232 Folk Dance

    PFA 316 Dance Repertory Performance

    PFA 321 Dance Improvisation

    PFA 322 Dance History and Criticism

    PFA 421 Dance Composition

    PFA 445 Performing Arts Teaching Methods