Dancing in Jaffa
Dancing in Jaffa

Dancing in Jaffa

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The film explores the complex stories of three different children, who are forced to confront issues of identity, segregation and racial prejudice, as they dance with their enemy.

Pierre Dulaine, an internationally renowned ballroom dancer, is fulfilling a life-long dream when he takes his program, Dancing Classrooms, back to his city of birth, Jaffa.  Over a ten-week period, Pierre teaches 11-year-old Palestinian-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli children to dance together and compete together.  The film explores the complex stories of three different children, who are forced to confront issues of identity, segregation and racial prejudice, as they dance with their enemy. The classroom becomes a microcosm of the Middle East's struggle to work together harmoniously while still caught in the politics of the region and race. With the guidance of Pierre, the children, who live uneasily side-by-side, learn to dance together and trust one another. Dancing In Jaffa offers an up-close-and-personal perspective of how the future might unfold if the art of movement and dance could triumph over the politics of history and geography.

Cultural Significance

For generations Jaffa has been defined by inter-cultural hostility and hatred. Its inhabitants live uncomfortably side by side with an underlying state of constant tension and no visible end in sight. Dancing in Jaffa shares the story of Pierre Dulaine, an internationally renowned ballroom dancer as he returns to his birthplace, Jaffa, to fulfill his lifelong dream of teaching Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli children to dance together. As Pierre overcomes the challenges of uniting children living in conflict, Dancing in Jaffa shines a light on the power of dance to mend these divides. Pierre teaches the children life skills through ballroom dance including: etiquette, self-esteem, respect for others and self respect. They learn to regard each other as individuals rather than members of religious factions. Pierre believes if you change the children, you change the future. He is able to show the power of the arts and that even when dealing with the most dire cultural conflicts, there is always hope.

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