'Shadowland' by Pilobolus lights up silhouette stories at Ithra – Arab News

DHAHRAN: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) theater was lit up last night with dancers moonlighting as animals, their human hands morphing into dogs, using nothing but strategically synched fingers and legs swirling behind ultra-fine screens of light — and the power of imagination.
For three consecutive nights until Aug. 27, lighting specialists used shadows to create silhouettes laid against bright neon walls in a whirlwind performance.
Combining a mixture of live dance and the magic of illusion, the nine human performers used their bodies — and a few props — to bring the diorama to life.
The award-winning dance piece by Pilobolus, an American modern dance company that started in the 1970s, has been on tour since 2009, and this was its first trip to Ithra.
Shadowland tells a coming-of-age story of a young woman with blue hair who creates a world within her world — right in her bed. In the same way, Ithra visitors went on a 75-minute journey without ever leaving their seats.

With limited dialogue, you can see that the protagonist seems to be wrestling with some inner demons that fully emerge while she slips into slumber in her bedroom after a brief tense moment with what is presumed to be her parents.
While asleep, she goes on an epic adventure, including interactions with nasty plants and journeys through various locations, meeting different creatures on her dreamland tour.
Music is a central part of the storytelling process — much of the beginning is non-verbal, so audience members could create a dialogue in whichever tongue was natural for them. This decades-long, award-winning show has been a collaboration between Pilobolus and the writer of the ever-popular “Spongebob Squarepants” cartoon, Steven Banks, as well as musician David Poe, whose orchestral and electronic music added to the ambience.
Shadowland premiered to rave reviews 13 years ago in the US and has been on tour ever since, gracing stages in every continent — and now in Saudi Arabia. At the end of the performance, the dancers created a silhouette with their bodies spelling out the words “Ithra” and “thank you” in Arabic.

Dr. Abdullah Adlan has since 2019 served as the executive director of the ethics and compliance department at the National Institute of Health Research, or Saudi NIH, one of the sector’s transformation programs. 
In addition, he is the founder and chairman of the National Committee for Health Ethics at the Saudi Health Council, where he is also the co-founder and vice chairman of the national data exchange committee. He further serves as a consultant and faculty member at several medical and research establishments.
Adlan is considered an expert in medical and biological ethics, specifically in the field of research governance. He also serves as the leader and head of the project to establish a national committee specializing in health ethics.
He is the first Saudi bioethics and health research governance activist, who has been a consultant on the national ethics committee since 2018. Since then, he has participated in formulating regulations for ethical research on humans and animals. He has contributed to various initiatives to update regulations and build research capacity in the field.
Adlan’s considerable experience has seen him collaborate with international academic and research bodies including the UK’s universities of Birmingham and Bristol, University of Leuven in Belgium, and the University of Sydney in Australia.
He has also worked with the European Society of Best Practice and other organizations to exchange and transfer knowledge to Saudi Arabia; and has contributed to establishing several academic and training programs including for diploma and master’s courses.
Adlan received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the Riyadh-based King Saud University, and a master’s degree in bioethics from King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences.
He further obtained two doctorates in health research and bioethics from the universities of Bradford and Birmingham, respectively. He has also completed an Executive Master of Business Administration course at Prince Mohammad bin Salman College for Business and Entrepreneurship.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber, who also supervises the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen, on Wednesday met with the coordinator of the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen, Dr. Debbie Dash.
During the meeting, they discussed the Kingdom’s support for UN efforts in Yemen, and the efforts of the team in implementing its mandate. 
They stressed the importance of the commitment of the Iran-backed Houthi militia to the provisions of the current UN-sponsored truce and the speedy opening of roads in Taiz to alleviate human suffering in the besieged city.
The two sides also stressed that revenues must be deposited in the Central Bank of Yemen to pay the salaries of civil workers.
JEDDAH: The “Art Residency Al-Balad” has concluded its third edition with an open studio featuring the works of its residents at the premises in Rubat Al-Khunji Al-Saghir in Al-Balad in Jeddah on Tuesday and Wednesday. 
Organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and operated by Hafez Projects, the public was invited to visit the studios of the resident artists, learn about their projects and experiences, and discuss their artistic aspirations.
The program offered six-week residencies to national and international emerging and mid-career artists, curators and researchers. 
The participating artists — Ahmed Ben Taleb from Morocco, Andrea Alkalay from Argentina, Ashwag Kojah from Jeddah, Asmaa Alfageeh from Al-Qunfudhah, Eligatou from Riyadh, Fernando Martín Velazco from Mexico, Kawthar Smaren from Riyadh, Khalid Alangari from Dawadmi and Mahmud Manning from Britain — presented their artworks and interacted with the public.  
Mohamed Ali Ghomriani, managing director of Hafez Projects, said: “As an organization which has been active in Jeddah’s artistic scene in the last eight years, we are extremely grateful to the Ministry of Culture to have been given the opportunity to operate the Art Residency Program Al-Balad. The Open Studio was a chance to share with the public the results of the work carried out by the residents over the last six weeks.”
He added: “It was also a chance to witness, once again, the interest and enthusiasm of all the guests who visited the art residency during the event. This confirms the importance of continuing to support arts initiatives and the artists towards the establishment of a flourishing and living cultural life in our city of Jeddah.”
Ghomriani said that the Open Studio is a space to share knowledge and experiences about arts, culture and the local heritage. He added that it also provides an opportunity to discover new perspectives on Al-Balad and the city of Jeddah. 
He said that such a dialogue is necessary to feed creativity and knowledge within and beyond the arts sector.
Alfageeh, an academic researcher, said: “I am glad to be a part of such an immense residency program that reflected on the place of the artist and the way they can integrate their insights and perspectives to the art culture. This helped me to enhance my skills to conduct research on topics that haven’t been covered before in Saudi Arabia.”
Alfageeh’s research interests include arts, literary texts, TV shows and films that discuss issues related to Muslim identity, multiculturalism, Islamophobia, radicalization and terrorism in Western and Arab contexts. 
“During the residency programs, I have conducted several interviews required for research purposes related to the art scene. I have learned that there has been a significant shift in the art culture and the encouragement from the government helped many artists to flourish and document the Saudi culture in the form of different arts. I believe art is important for (a) country’s manifestation.”
Smaren, the Riyadh-based artist in the residency, had pursued art as a hobby before embarking on studies, where she learned the basics of her craft, different styles, periods, schools, and modern trends. 
“My work aimed at giving a tribute to Al-Balad architectural beauty and the historical importance that it holds in the country. The residency encouraged the artists to experience and develop their practices by engaging in site visits of Al-Balad, workshops, and opportunities for dialogue between different artists.”
Participating for the first time, the international artists considered the event an excellent opportunity to be a part of this initiative that fosters local, regional and international development in contemporary art.
Part of the Ministry of Culture’s “Advancing Cultural Entrepreneurship” initiative, the Art Residency Al-Balad is sponsored by Saudi Vision 2030’s Quality of Life Program, which reflects the Kingdom’s support for nurturing creativing between Saudi and international practitioners
RIYADH: Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi minister of foreign affairs, talked with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Mohammed Hussein, on Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
During their telephone conversation, Prince Faisal expressed the Kingdom’s solidarity with Iraq and its people, and its continuing support for measures that ensure Iraq’s security and stability.
The ministers also reviewed Saudi-Iraqi relations and ways in which they might be strengthened, and discussed a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest.
RIYADH: Making a living out of creating TikTok videos is risky, but Abdulaziz Khojah quit his job as an electrical engineer to pursue a career as a content creator on the social media platform.
Khojah, who has been on TikTok for just a year, has garnered 1.7 million followers by reviewing movies and TV shows, and giving ratings and recommendations in 60 seconds or less.
“I like to be different, and I realized that I love doing videos and making content, and I work hard to make my videos unique so people will remember me,” he told Arab News.
“As a content maker, it is very natural for people to follow me because of the content I provide, and I developed the content and made it simple and easy for people who love movies and series,” Khojah said.
Initially, Khojah shared acting videos on TikTok before becoming a critic.
“When the lockdown happened because of the pandemic, I entered social media as an actor, but I was not enjoying what I was doing. I felt that there was something better and stronger (that) I could bring. I came back after several months with the idea of presenting and reviewing films and series in a smart, fast, and concise way so that it reaches the viewer and does not waste their time,” Khojah said.
Now Khoja gets requests to review movies, even new ones. He is also asked to interview the cast and crew of the movies.
“I was nominated to be the first official presenter of IGN Middle East, which is what got me to the position I had always envisioned, and allowed me to meet celebrities from both the Arab and American film industries,” he said.
Khojah believes it is important for the new generation to consider getting into movie production.
“The field of films and cinema is an open and unending world that does not depend on a specific idea. It is an open sea for people interested in this field, whether actors, producers, or directors.”
On his future, Khojah is now working on carving out his name in the film industry in any capacity. “I want to have my name in the world of cinema in terms of being a director, writer, or actor, whether a movie, series, or presenter of a particular program in this field on one of the channels.”
As the Saudi Film Commission develops a national strategy to support and foster the long-term growth of a sustainable Saudi film industry and cultural sector, Khojah is optimistic about the future of Saudi films and production within the Kingdom.


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