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Telling stories through body movement

Photo from an adults class. (Photo: Hussam Daana)
AMMAN — “Contemporary Amman” was founded by Shireen Talhouni to provide “outstanding contemporary performance” to people in Amman. Her purpose is to encourage adults and children to tell stories via their bodies, to express feelings and emotions through body movement. اضافة اعلان

Talhouni is a choreographer, dancer, and instructor who has worked with both adults and children.

Shireen Talhouni during a childrens class. (Photo: Hiba Nabulsi)

After years of working in architecture, she decided to switch her career to dancing while she was living in the UK.

“It was a bold move for me to switch from architecture to dancing,” she said.

She studied contemporary dance at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in the UK.

She discovered her passion while practicing in martial arts.

“I am a person who likes movement and it is simple for me to create moves,” she told Jordan News.

Her former studies came in good stead. Architecture, she said, helped her with contemporary dance, with creating choreography, “as architects think a lot about design and spaces”.

It was during her leisure time that Talhouni started doing new things, such as filming movies, which led to a passion for dancing.

“People need to try something new in order to discover what they really love to do,” Talhouni said.

Photo from an adults class. (Photo: Hussam Daana)

In 2013, she moved from London to Amman and started giving dance classes. Why the name “Contemporary Amman”?

“The idea was to share my knowledge with people, as everyone can dance, everyone can move, and everyone has their own unique way of moving. The human being is born with the instinct of movement, every person has the ability to move, and through free movement, a person can learn contemporary dance.”

Contemporary dance blends elements of numerous dance forms, including modern, jazz, lyrical, and classical ballet, to create an expressive dance.

Through dance movements, contemporary dancers attempt to integrate the mind and the body. The term contemporary refers to a genre that emerged in the mid-20th century and is still popular today.

Photo from an adults class. (Photo: Hussam Daana)

Talhouni teaches how to use gravity in a way that initiates motion, in a style that focuses on the use of energy and gravity to create dynamic movement, “to use balance and to recover it again”.

Contemporary dance is more than steps, she said, it is understanding the movement as a concept in order to create work.

Talhouni teaches dance to both adults and children; she focuses on children who start dancing at an early age, as they” have the space to discover themselves and to explore movement and imagination”.

Adults bodies are restricted, they lack freedom of movement, she noticed, which is why she thinks it is important to teach others how to feel relaxed and comfortable in their bodies.

She relies quite a lot on improvisation and creativity, which “foster imagination and develop a variety of skills for people in many fields of life”.

Shireen Talhouni during a childrens class. (Photo: Hiba Nabulsi)

“When people learn to be creative through their body movements, it is a way to explore imagination,” she said.

Talhouni choreographed Loop, a site-specific performance for the launch of Amman Design Week in 2017. The show comprised a series of movement sequences that were inspired by human and non-human group dynamics in urban areas.

Her goal is to establish a professional dance center and give dance classes to people of all ages. Her wish is to organize a show for her students every summer, for them to exhibit what they had learned, but also to help develop the contemporary dance scene in Jordan.

It may not be that easy, she said, as creative industries in Jordan are not greatly appreciated.

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