chapter  7
9 Pages

Sustaining dance practices in turbulent times

Dance, displacement, identity and the Syrian Civil War
WithRose Martin

This chapter critically reflects on the experiences of three young contemporary dancers – Yara, Medhat and Lujian – who have been displaced as a result of the Syrian Civil War. All three left Syria and now reside in Germany, and they are negotiating the challenges of cultural exile. Through a narrative enquiry, drawing on theories pertaining to war, identity, community and cultural displacement, the dancers’ post-migration experiences are explored. Such explorations engage postcolonial and post-national interrogation of the ways the three dancers navigate boundaries of identity politics. The discussion reveals the shifting and complex nature of identity in exile and that sustaining (and in some instances prioritising) artistic practices when negotiating displacement allowed for developments and confirmation of identities. Simultaneously, the three dancers’ experiences contribute to acknowledging the human element of war, something that is often neglected in discussions.