Assistant Professor & Associate Chair, Dance
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).
Our Bodies, Our Voices
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.
Am I Who I Am Who Are You Who
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.
Hold On to Me
The piece tackles issues of struggle and personal development. Performed in Byblos Public Garden and Beirut Gulbenkian Theater as a part of IDDFL 2017.
One Leg at a Time
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.
This. Is. How? It. Happened?