Using all the exuberance of her neo-Andalusi choreographic language, at once emotive and contemporary, Nesma takes the audience on a journey in the footsteps of the muwashah, a poetic form created in Al-Andalus.
Nesma presents a new choreographic creation, inspired by the history of Al-Andalus, telling the journey of Andalusi poetry from the ninth century to the present day.
Born in the mix of cultures at the height of the intellectual flowering of the Arab world, the brilliant Andalusi civilisation left an indelible mark on the Iberian Peninsula and across the Arabic world. In addition, it served as a channel for transmitting oriental wisdom to the West. Despite all the upheavals of history, its cultural legacy continues to fascinate.
Nesma creates on the stage an innovative, neo-Andalusi spectacle, interpreted by six dancers and six musicians with musical arrangements by the Spanish singer and composer Irene Shams. Using a very personal perspective, from a crossroads of cultures, Nesma brings all the exuberance of her neo-Andalusi choreographic language, at once emotive and contemporary, to take the audience on a journey in the footsteps of the muwashah, an original and revolutionary poetic form which was born in Al-Andalus and which gave rise to a musical tradition. Nesma and her company embody on the stage the muwashahat (plural of muwashah), from the splendour of the Omeya Caliphate of Cordoba, its exile and journey across the Mediterranean, from the Maghreb to the Middle East, and its renaissance.
Nesma shows us an important page in our history, which is also a mirror of our current challenges: respect and dialogue in the face of confrontation; solidarity in the face of forced migration; historical memory in the face of blindness. Above all this is a work which illustrates the importance of arts in society, cultural diversity and freedom of expression.
Traditional music from the Maghreb and the Middle East, based on the poetry of the muwashahat by Andalusi writers, arranged for a contemporary company.
About the muwashshahat:
“The muwashshah was invented in the ninth century in Al-Andalus and was developed there as a poetic-musical form. Although they are written in classical Arabic, the muwashshahat* are not based on the metre of classical Arabic poetry. Instead of using a fixed sequence of accented and non-accented syllables, they are grouped as adaptations of a pre-determined rhythmic musical pattern. “
Habib Hassan Touma – The Music of the Arabs
– Direction y choreography: Nesma
– Musical direction and arrangements: Irene Shams
- Lorena Galeano
- Teresa Tomás
- Ingrid Selkis
- Isabel Yagüe
- Alexandra Segura
- Irene Shams – Voice
- Patxi Pascual – Saxophone, Clarinet, Flutes
- Delchad Ahmad – Violin, Cell0, Oud
- Jorge Vera – Piano
- Jose Miguel Garzón – Double bass
- Luis Taberna – Percussion
– Lighting design: Victor Cadenas
– Sound: Adels González
- Wardrobe design: Nesma, Encarna Ortega
- Production manager: Eric Godfroid
Show length: 1h15
A Spanish dancer and choreographer, Nesma discovered Arabic music and dance while participating in shows created with her brothers and sister for television. Captivated, she began to study oriental dance in Madrid and then in Paris.
From 1993 to 1998 she lived in Cairo, where she had great success and gained a profound knowledge not only of dance, but also of the music and language, the culture and traditions of Egypt. She performed as a soloist with her own orchestra on the most important stages in Cairo. She broadened her career with the National Ballet “Reda” and she became one of the closest collaborators of the great choreographer Mahmoud Reda.
In 1998 she returned to Spain to create her own school and a prestigious company, Al-Andalus Danza, with which she presented her works in important theatres in Europe and Egypt. At the same time, she continued to have a successful international career as a dancer and teacher. In 2004 she founded the recording label Nesma Music and a highly regarded Arabic music and dance festival Raks Madrid in 2005.
In Cairo, immersed in Arabic culture, Nesma began a project in 1998 of developing a dance style inspired by the legacy of Al-Andalus. Using as the foundation the technique of Mahmoud Reda, she combined this with Spanish folk elements and other Mediterranean dances to create her ‘neo-Andalusi’ style. “Muwashshahat” is her third show based on this subject, following “From the Nile to the Guadalquivir” (2002) and “Dreams of Al-Andalus” (2008) which was premiered in the Cairo Opera.
Jazz singer and director of choirs, Irene Shams has a solid classical and jazz training. A teacher of music theory, composition and piano, she augmented her jazz studies with teachers such as Deborah J. Carter, Horacio Icasto, Anita Wardell, Bobby McFerrin, Bob Stoloff, Roberta Gambarini, Michelle Weir, Kurt Elling, …
As director, she created and leads the Gospel and Modern Music Choir of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid (2006-2014) and directs the Choir of the Fundación Orange España (2010-Present). In 2014 she created and directs her own singing studio Mix Voice Studio in Madrid.
As a singer she is a regular in jazz clubs and festivals across the country and has shared the stage with outstanding musicians such as Horacio Icasto, Román Filiú, Iván “Melón” Lewis, Jorge Vera Aguilera, Joaquín Chacón, Reinier Elizarde “El Negrón” …
In 2000 her interest in oriental dance led her to study with Nesma and become a member of her company. That was the start of a fertile collaboration between the two artists, among whose projects are the fusion band Alkobry. She furthered her training in Arabic and Andalusi music in Spain Morocco and Egypt. She has prepared he own method of teaching the music of the Arab world for dancers and choreographers.