Review: A Wee Journey

A powerful statement on the importance of free movement

international review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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A Wee Journey, photo by Brian Hartley
Published 17 Aug 2022

Palestinian dancer/choreographer Farah Saleh continues her exploration of refugee stories, this time in collaboration with five dancers and the composer/performer O─čuz Kaplangi. Everyone is based in Scotland at the moment, but once called somewhere else home – Turkey, Finland, Italy, Spain, Palestine, Democratic Republic of Congo. Through the stylised repetition of everyday gestures, which is Saleh’s signature physical lexicon for herself and her dancers, we watch the frustration, confusion, cooperation and nostalgia that comes with the crossing of borders. Five bodies wordlessly convey the perpetual, frenzied onward motion of a person forced to move in search of a safer place and the short circuiting moments of juddering, weary collapse when they can’t find it. 

Disabled activist Nada Shawa moved to Scotland aged eight from occupied Palestine and has flashes of giddy joy amongst the darkness as her wheelchair is spun and straddled by fellow dancers, Pirita Tuisku and Daniel Navarro Lorenzo. A playful spoken word section in Lingala by Glasgow-based Kemono L.Riot is a reminder of how alienating and othering language can be, but when he electric-shocks his torso in bursts of urgent krumping and sweeps his limbs in graceful loops, the connection with both the other dancers and the audience is palpable, and moving. A powerful, elegant mime on the importance of free movement, both personally and politically.