Dance in Palestine has a history as complex and contentious as the land itself. Whether dismissed as bacchantic madness by Bible tourists in the 19th Century, revived and glorified by Zionists, Pan-Arabists and Palestinian Nationalists in the 20th Century, or rejected by Islamic Reformists in the 21st Century, dance in Palestine has a rich and elusive story that remains to be told. 'Raising Dust' traces one dancer's journey into Palestine's past and present. Through historical archives, the memories of dancers of yesteryear and into today's vibrant performing arts scene, Nicholas Rowe shows how dance has acted as a barometer of social change, a forum for debate and a means of expressing forbidden ideas. Far from apolitical, this most physical of art forms has often defined the political mood of the day. Sumptuously illustrated, the author provides a unique, rare and compelling cultural history of dance in Palestine.
Nicholas Rowe graduated from the Australian Ballet School and subsequently worked as a choreographer and dancer with The Australian Ballet, The Sydney Dance Company, The Finnish National Ballet, Ballet Philippines, The West Australian Ballet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Modern Dance Turkey and Nomad Dance Theatre. In 2000 he moved to the West Bank city of Ramallah and spent the next eight years working with local dance collectives and arts institutions on dance performance and education projects in cities, villages and refugee camps across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He completed his PhD on Palestinian dance through the London Contemporary Dance School. He is the author of Art, During Siege: Performing Arts Workshops in Traumatised Communities and his articles have appeared in Dance Research Journal, Research in Dance Education, Dance Europe, The Dancing Times, Dance Australia, the Jerusalem Times and This Week in Palestine. He is currently an Associate Dean at the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland.