Dance show at Tunisian festival puts spotlight on global water crisis

The dance show aims to highlight the water crisis in the Palestinian territories as well as water shortages in other parts of the world. (Reuters)

A company of international dancers kicked off Tunisia's Hammamet International Festival, with a contemporary dance act addressing water shortages in the Palestinian territories and around the world.

The show, SOS Water, opened the 49th edition of the festival on Wednesday (July 17) in the Tunisian coastal town of Hammamet.

The dancers, who came from Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, France and Brazil, each spoke about the problems of water shortage in their own countries during their performance.

Tunsian-Swedish choreographer, Nawal Skandrani, directed the 80 minute show, which included music and poetry readings as well as dance.

Skandrani said that problems related to water issues aren't only a concern for policymakers.

“Even dancers can speak about the water issue. Water issues are not just for politicians and scientists. We must all get involved,” she said.

The dance show aims to highlight the water crisis in the Palestinian territories as well as water shortages in other parts of the world.

In June, the United Nations said the Gaza Strip is heading into a water crisis that could make the Palestinian enclave unlivable in just a few years.

Many people in the impoverished Gaza Strip are forced buy bottled water at a premium as the territory's only aquifer is contaminated by sewage, chemicals and seawater.

The Gaza Strip isn't the only place in the Middle East facing water woes - a NASA study showed that between 2003 and 2009 the region lost 144 cubic km of stored freshwater - equivalent to the amount of water held in the Dead Sea - making an already bad situation much worse.

Audience members at the outdoor theatre said they enjoyed the performances.

“It was very interesting. The show had historical references and the dances were very good,” said audience member Wissem Koulek.

Well known Tunisian actor Fathi Hadaoui is the current manager of the festival and said that the event's main focus is to bring all kinds of performances to the stage.

“The basis of the Hammamet festival are ‘stage arts’, what I would call ‘wood arts’ and this show is suitable considering it is both dance and theatre” he said.

SOS Water was due to be shown at the Ramallah International Festival of Contemporary Dance but didn't go ahead due to a lack of resources. It's now scheduled to open the next edition of the festival in Ramallah in April 2014.

The Hammamet International Festival which started in 1964 attracts artists from around the world, with acts this year coming from France, Brazil and the United States.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41