HipHop in Palestine

The Dar alKalima Project


After the pilot project “Hip Hop Workshop Bethlehem” in August 2016 had been such a great success for the association and the artists of the Diyar Dance Theatre, the directors of both institutions decided unanimously to go one step further and to elaborate and continue the pilot project as full-value programme content.

We have decided to realize two training periods with Maximilian Neuymayer (dance teacher & workshop leader) in Bethlehem. So, the first one-week training block began in February 2017. The entire block contained five Hip Hop choreographies. However, these were clearly subdivided in single dance styles (Old School, New Style, Locking, Waving, Break Dance). The 2.5 hour workshops always started with an intensive warm-up, primarily concentrating on developing the feeling for the music (western music), the beat and the rhythm. By means of basic Hip Hop steps, the participants could easily gain new experiences with this stylistic direction. In addition to the dance-like warm-up, of course an extensive stretching programme and intensive muscle isolation exercises had to be parts of the training. The enthusiasm of the pupils provided everything with the necessary spice.

Without doubt, the highlights at the end of the training block consisted of the presentation of the entire choreography in front of the other dancers and the official foundation of the first Palestinian Hip Hop dance group “moFe squad”.

In August 2017, Maximilian Neumayer flew to Palestine for the second training block in order to run further Hip Hop workshops and to continue to teach different styles as well as formation knowledge.

The goal is to integrate the last column of Hip Hop, that is to say the dance, in Palestine, as beside Rap, Graffiti, Beatbox and DJing the Break Dance and the whole dance culture of Hip Hop are still missing. The highlight is supposed to be a performance of the recently founded Hip Hop group during the Bethlehem Live Festival 2018.

Also this Hip Hop project serves in terms of “helping people to help themselves“ – in these workshops, talented adolescents are instructed to become Hip Hop trainers and at the end they are going to receive a leaving certificate by the local project partner, the Diyar Dance Theatre.


The Beit Hanina project


In the context of the dance programme, which the association is establishing together with the dance teacher Maximilian Neumayer, in addition to the one-week workshop at the Diyar Dance Theatre (Bethlehem) also a one-week workshop at the special school for children displaying behavioural problems and slow learning children in Beit Hanina was realized. Already in the year 2016, the “Almanra School of Behavioural Disorders” was supported and promoted by Sibylle Stier by means of music therapy hours. Upon request, already during the second visit of the association in March 2017 the programme offered to the pupils could be expanded by the one-week Hip Hop Workshop.

During this workshop, the pupils had the possibility – in addition to fun, movement as well as mental challenge and support – to get to know and experience a new medium to express, explain and in some cases also to relieve themselves.

During this training period, the main focus was put on the scale of enthusiasm of the participants in order to find out whether such an offer should be established as part of the programme of the school.

The workshop consisted of basic Hip Hop and Break Dance steps as well as adequate warm-up exercises and a well-founded stretching programme. The correct counting of the steps in accordance with the music flowed into the classes in secret, without requiring “dry” exercises (without music). Thanks to the abundant experience of the dance teacher in this field, the methodology and the didactics were dovetailed very well.

Both the association and the teachers were positively surprised and delighted with the enthusiastic participation of the children. Owing to the consistently positive feedback, currently the school and the association are cooperatively working together on the planning of this item of the programme. Another block of the workshop is in sight.