El-Funoun and Hawiyya arts exchange project

El-Funoun and Hawiyya arts exchange project

Bring people together in a cultural exchange project for a week of workshops and performances to explore the concept of social action.

We did it!

On 8th Feb 2018 we successfully raised £1,015 with 28 supporters in 42 days

Hawiyya Dance Company is collaborating with members of El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe from El-Bireh, Palestine to develop an innovative and thought provoking co-production, whose narrative will be expressed through contemporary dance, rooted in dabke.

In March 2018, 4 members of El-Funoun will visit the UK , where they will be working closely with Hawiyya to develop the production through a period of intensive rehearsals.

The two groups will display their work through two nights performance at Richmix in London on the 23rd and 24th March 2018 in partnership with Arts Canteen. The performance will be followed by a Q&A session.

Aims and objectives of this project:

The goals of this project are twofold: whilst it aims to bring awareness of everyday life experiences and individual self-reflections related to an increased understanding of, and engagement with the world around us; it also aims to develop cultural enrichment through artistic sharing, exchanges, training and artistic collaborations exploring an ensemble of Palestinian traditional Dance and contemporary dance over a variety of highly expressive sounds and musical influences.

Production concept

What can an individual do to become a more responsible agent of his life and ‘his world’, in light of oppression, injustice and complexity? 

With a fusion of traditional and contemporary dance moves, this production is aimed at challenging ordinary forms of expression and creating an innovative form of communication to engage with a new audience.

The concept of the production is still in its development phase, which will take place between October 2017 and February 2018. This work will enable the development of an artistic structure that will then be further refined when the two groups meet in March 2018.

The production does not give an answer; rather it questions the audience by exploring and reflecting on three main themes: time and the passing of time; interpretation of facts and news through individual contexts and feelings; reflections on understanding of ‘harassment’ as a broad and multi-faceted term.

The production will challenge the audience and encourage individuals to look at themselves , self-reflect and find their own answer to the following questions: What is my position in life? What can I do? How do I interact with the news I hear everyday? 


We have estimated that the overall cost of this project is around £10,000. This includes direct costs related to the production (including technical costs and veue hire), as well as travel, accommodation and subsistence costs for the dancers. Hawiyya Dance Company and El-Funoun Popular Dance Troupe have implemented a fundraising strategy that aims to diversify the streams of income.

These include:

- Funding applications to Trusts and Foundations or Arts Centers
- Crowdfunding page
- Contribution from artistic performances
- Sponsorships and partnerships

How can you help us?

- Funding opportunities with a relatively fast response
- Sponsor the project
- In-kind support (rehearsal space, accommodation for the dancers in London)

If you would like to contribute to this project, please do get in touch to have a chat with us about the best way to do this: hawiyya@mail.com

What you will get in return

  • Donations from £5 to £20: We will acknowledge your donation and thank you publicly on Hawiyya social media platforms
  • Donations from £25 to £50: As part of your kind support, you will be invited  to receive a free group dabke workshop following the week of performance.
  • Donations from £55 to £100: We will be able to arrange one or two private dabke lessons for yourself and your friends  
  • Donations from £110 to £200: We will be able to arrange up to four private dabke lessons for yourself and your friends  
  • Donations of £210 or more: We will be able to arrange a free performance at a public event you may be organising this year.

About the groups

Hawiyya Dance Company

Hawiyya Dance Company is a women’s dabke group who explore identity, culture and resistance through dance. The culturally diverse dancers have come together to unite and share their commitment to increase awareness of the Palestinian culture.

Hawiyya draws upon traditional folkloric Arab-dabke with a twist of contemporary dance through their skills and experiences in other dance forms, narratives and musical influences. The members of Hawiyya have been performing Dabke for many years as members of the Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre troupe and have now formed the new group to bring Dabke to various platforms and audiences. The members choreograph their own dances as well as learning exchanges with Dabke groups from and in Palestine.

Hawiyya share their dances and events as part of significant dates and events that are important to their beliefs and values such as Nakba Day, Women’s International Day, Refugee Week, Apartheid Week and many more.

El-Funoun Popular Dance Troupe

El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe is an independent, non-profit artistic organization that is virtually entirely volunteer-based. El-Funoun was established in 1979 by a small number of enthusiastic, talented and committed artists. Since then, El-Funoun has been crowned as the lead Palestinian dance company in Palestine, as well as among Palestinians in exile. It holds an impressive track record of over one thousand performances locally and internationally. It also produced 15 productions and over ten dance scenes. El -Funoun has won several commendation certificates and awards over the years.

Since its inception, El-Funoun has aimed at expressing the spirit of Arab-Palestinian folklore and contemporary culture through unique combinations of traditional and stylized dance and music. The Troupe’s repertoire comprises folkloric dance forms, called “dabke”, in addition to more elaborate choreographed forms that embody El-Funoun’s own unique vision of Palestinian dance. El-Funoun is widely recognized as the cultural entity that has played the most significant role in reviving and reinvigorating Palestinian dance and music folklore.

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