Un|controlled Gestures – 2nd Edition

Yara Boustany, Mehdi Dahkan, Abdallah Damra, Nermin Habib, Aїda Jamal, Synda Jebali & Sara Dziri, Lori Kharpoutlian, nasa4nasa, Ziad Wallace

Curated by Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi & Shaymaa Shoukry


approx. 105 mins.

The participants of the project Uncontolled gestures happily pose for the camera.

After its launch in 2019, the second edition of “Un|controlled Gestures”, curated by Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi and Shaymaa Shoukry, once again presents works of young choreographers and dancers from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Palestinian Autonomous Territories. In residencies in Berlin and Cairo they came together to develop new creations of contemporary dance at the crossroads of multiple art disciplines. The involved artists present performances driven by intimate and collective memories, breaking open settled narratives and re-inventing new vocabularies. “Un|controlled Gestures” explores how temporal phenomena can be expressed through body language. On three nights at HAU3, nine productions can be experienced as a work in progress.

The first edition in 2019 provided an opportunity for young MENA dancers-choreographers to create and present new performances reflecting the autonomy of the body and the social control exercised over bodies in its political and economic context. The project included residencies and meetings between the artists, in Rabat, Cairo and a final presentation in February 2020 in Tunis.


Mehdi Dahkan “Subject to…”
Nermin Habib “Reclaiming”
Break 15 mins.
Yara Boustany “The fingerdance of the timekillers”
nasa4nasa ”NO MERCY 2.0 / funeral”
Ziad Wallace “Plan B X”
Break 15 mins.
Synda Jebali & Sara Dziriist “Black Hole”

Abdullah Damra “My teeth are eroding while I sleep”
Aїda Jamal “TAMAT”
Break 15 mins.
Lori Kharpoutlian “A Body in Waiting”


The dancers

Yara Boustany is a Lebanese performer and choreographer. “The fingerdance of the timekillers” is a performative installation on the compulsive urge to kill time actively – on restless high-speed sedentary activity – through the rushed minimalistic fingerdance of swiping, swooshing and scrolling.

Mehdi Dahkan is a Moroccan choreographer and dancer. His new solo “subject to obtaining a visa” is a portrait of a person in a state of detention and dependence on an answer. This performance is about the politics of visas and their discrepancy with human rights to free movement.

Abdallah Damra is a Palestinian dancer. In his current project he investigates gestures and deconstructs them to the point of illegibility. He uses them – regardless of their actual meaning – as a tool to explore movements that express impossible conditions.

Nermin Habib is an Egyptian artist, philosopher, choreographer and contemporary dancer. Her solo “Reclaiming” reflects self-experiences and childhood memories about the concept of personal space in an environment where urban change had a devastate impact invading that space. 

Aїda Jamal is a Moroccan contemporary dancer and clinical psychologist who expresses her own identity through dance. She wants to use this performance “TAMAT”  to open a discussion about the social, religious and cultural burdens that women have to bear in our society.

Synda Jebali is a performer and video artist from Tunis. Passionate about image, she co-produces video clips for artists with her urban arts collective, dedicated to reflection and action around art in the public space.
Sara Dziri is a multi-faceted artist and DJ. She is one of the names defining the Brussels’ electronic underground scene. In 2019, she co-founded a platform and party collective dedicated to bringing more diversity to the Belgian underground scene. 
“Black Hole” is a dialogue between Jebali and Dziri. Together they explore their experiences within nightlife and electronic dance music. The imaginary world created on the dancefloor, with a temporality specific to the rave scene, sets the stage for an honest and vulnerable exchange between them with movement, sound and image.

Lori Kharpoutlian is a dancer and architect based in Beirut. “A Body in Waiting" (working title) is a set of musings into the politics of waiting, as it manifests in digital algorithms, economic and political strategies, and the design of various domestic objects. Through a process of sampling and juxtaposition, it aims to explore the temporal, psychological, and spatial tensions this bodily condition creates.

nasa4nasa is an Egyptian dance collective based in Cairo founded in 2016 by Noura Seif Hassanein and Salma Abdel Salam.
In “NO MERCY 2.0/funeral” nasa4nasa explores the viscerality of their imagined afterlife, the aftermath of what they have manifested in “NO MERCY”. They create a symbiosis of afterlife, an imaginative repair and despair to what has been and what will become, a bony imagination of life after.

Ziad Wallace is a contemporary hip-hop dancer and performer from Alexandria. His solo performance “(Plan B X)” expresses the interplay of contradictory mental states. For example, the panic caused by the uncertainty and inability to determine what one is feeling.

The curators

Shaymaa Shoukry is a multidisciplinary artist with a background in visual arts, interested in integrating diverse disciplines in her creations. She thrives on a passion for choreographing, performing, and creating video art, and is motivated and inspired by working collectively, while developing personal work in an organic build-up process, where each project paves the way for the next. Shoukry is currently interested in researching the origin of movement, repetition, and transformation while steadily questioning approaches to share her artistic practice with publics from diverse backgrounds and various landscapes. In this second edition of “Un|controlled Gestures” Shoukry has the pleasure to co-curate and follow the creative process of the participating artists.

Born in Algiers, Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi lives in Brussels. She is a member of the Brussels theatre company Dito'Dito. Benchelabi is the curator and dramaturge of the “Halaqat” and “Un|Controlled Gestures” projects, initiated by the Goethe-Institut. Since 2009, she is the artistic director of the Mahmoud Darwish Chair. She is particularly committed to promoting contemporary literature and performing arts from the MENA region.

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  • Past
    Thu 15.12.2022, 19:00 / HAU3
    Fri 16.12.2022, 19:00 / HAU3
    Sat 17.12.2022, 19:00 / HAU3

After the performance on 17.12.: Dance with us! Party at CAN with Marwan Hawash / free admission

Read an interview with the curators Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi and Shaymaa Shoukry on HAU3000.


An initiative of the Goethe-Institut in collaboration with HAU Hebbel am Ufer.


Tempelhofer Ufer 10, 10963 Berlin

HAU3 unfortunately is not barrier-free. Access to the theatre is via a stairwell (3rd floor). The use of a lift is possible with prior arrangement. If you need help, please contact our Ticketing & Service team at +49 (0)30 259004-27 or email us at Wheelchair users are also kindly requested to register their attendance at least one day before the performance.
Thank you for your understanding.

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