Letter from Artistic Director, Samar Haddad King

Posted · Add Comment

I wanted to start off our new year with a little glimpse into the past. Since 2010, I have been living in the occupied Palestinian territories. My husband was denied a visa to immigrate to the United States, and so I moved my base from NYC. We have been in an appeals process since then to reverse the decision, but as it may be assumed, the process is long with many, many long periods of waiting. The frustration of my having to say and/ or friends having to hear “nothing has changed” is wearing on us all, but we are all finding ways to understand the change of events and keep (happily and thankfully) trucking along. Since my departure, YSDT created Bound with our Skype process getting the attention of Huffington Post. We performed The Store at Joyce SoHo early in 2012, and have since been working on new arts in education projects (see below), upcoming performances, and global collaborations.

The artists of YSDT have continued to make their mark in the dance world through other projects, and we hope to highlight some of their recent endeavors in an upcoming feature. In short, they are all doing many exciting things in NYC and beyond. Last year I completed a curriculum for a dance school here in Palestine, and I created a new work for Sareyyet Ramallah Contemporary Dance. Interest in contemporary dance is booming here, and it is exciting to be a part of this excavation of sorts. It is fresh, experimental, and alive. I continue to teach ballet, improvisation, and body awareness classes weekly to students here and am fascinated by their growth, their want to know more, and unwillingness to settle. In the near future, I hope to be starting composition workshops and an experimental lab of sorts, where dancers can explore, share, and then explore some more.

I think every year is a year of transition, but last year stood out as one of the most impressive for me thus far. I never would have guessed that my life would lead me back to my mother’s ancestral home, away from NYC and YSDT, a dream that I started in 2005, and until 2011, had consistently kept growing. I feel very fortunate to have a committed associate director and dear friend, Zoe, who has been the backbone of YSDT since my relocation and has dedicated time, passion and energy to keep this dream alive; to wonderful artists who continue to inspire and help me find ways to overcome obstacles; and to supporters like you who keep the victory applause alive in our inner ear, to motivate us to keep moving on. Amidst all the chaos, I still remain committed to our vision and look forward to the possibilities the future brings.

Many times when we are creating new movement, we give ourselves obstacles: you can’t use your arms, you are blindfolded, all the movement has to start from your left foot, you can’t use the left side of the stage, and so on…We have been confronted with a big obstacle that unfortunately has no quick or guaranteed solution. This past year seemed like a test: let the obstacle hinder movement or facilitate growth. Thank you all for your continued support and cheers to looking forward to the years to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *