The establishment of the first Lebanese professional contemporary dance company that is based on classical and contemporary techniques to provide a tangible outlet for dancers seeking a future in this field and to promote this art form in Lebanon.
The concept of creating the Beirut Dance Company can be traced back to 1994 when Nada Kano, the founder of the company, started training a group of eight dancers eager to step into the world of professional dance. Kano was still working in Europe at the time, but she visited her home country regularly.
In 1998, after four years of rigorous training and workshops, Kano and her team were invited to participate in the Beirut Dance Festival sponsored by the French Cultural Center. They presented a short piece choreographed by Frederick Lazzerrelli under the title “Suite Illogique.” This was the group’s first public performance in Lebanon, where it was enthusiastically received. Following this success, the director of the renowned Monot Theater asked Kano to prepare a special performance for the theater. In the fall of 1998, Nada Kano and her now growing group of 12 dancers performed “Point de Repère” choreographed by Frederick Lazzerrelli from France. The production is a collection of choreographies accompanied by a wide variety of music ranging from classical to pop and black spirituals.
The following spring, Kano was again contacted by the French Cultural Center to participate in an experimental street show at Beirut’s seaside Corniche. Kano decided to seize this unique opportunity to introduce ballet face to face to the masses. For this occasion she prepared a dance entitled “La Rencontre des Sirènes et Poséidon,” which successfully dazzled all passers-by on the Corniche that afternoon.
By the fall of 1999, Kano’s contemporary dance group was well on its way to being formed and had found its niche in Lebanon’s dance scene. The troupe’s performance that year was “Solitude et Rencontre” by Frederick Lazzerrelli. This ballet focuses on the struggle mankind experiences between loneliness and relationships. Two years later, the company staged “Du Côté des Chorégraphes,” which introduced pieces by three different choreographers including Nada Kano, Frederick Lazzerrelli and Raza Hammadi from France. This performance was selected as one of the cultural highlights of the 2002 Francophone Summit in Beirut. In 2003, Kano presented “Les Cahiers de la Danse” which includes a variety of dance pieces chosen from a repertoire of classical and contemporary choreographies.
Since Nada Kano and her group started performing in Lebanon, they have managed to capture the admiration and affection of the Lebanese public. Many more recent activities have followed with a growing number of company performances, on a yearly basis, in Lebanon and in the Arab region. However, the next step the Beirut Dance Company hopes to achieve is to build a company with a solid structure, with regular funding, that would help it grow artistically and reach more people at home and abroad.