And Still They Dance
The film is a mixture of Palestinian culture and politics in a way that both form a natural part of the scenario. The subject of the film is a group of young Palestinian youth, 15 to 18 years old, members of Al Asria Folk
Dance Group from Jabalia refugee camp at the north of the Gaza Strip.
Invited by the Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign in 2005, the film shows their very successful tour of five cities and towns in England.
The strong bond between the dancers, the host families and their interaction with the British public and youth at schools and cultural centers occupies a sweet part of this pleasant yet powerful film.
The film keeps moving backwards and forwards in time to end up in 2012 when these youth have become young men and women. They talk about their life in Gaza, their horrific experience during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008/2009. We hear about their hopes and dreams and their message of resilience, patriotism, love of life and peace to the whole world.
“And Still They Dance” intends to make the audience jump in their seats with joy through the group’s vibrant Dabka performance in front of British audience in different places. The film may also move the audience to tears when moving to Jabalia refugee camp in a journey to the background to members of the group lives and some of their traumatic experiences. This flows naturally within the scenario to tackle many important political issues: the killing of Palestinian children and youth, the political prisoners and Israeli extra judicial killing of Palestinian activists. The 1948 NAKBA and the link between contemporary DABAKA and pre 1948 life in Palestine is also present through spontaneous interviews with relatives of some of the dancers who witnessed it.
Through the group’s two failed attempts to leave the Gaza Strip as a result of the Israeli siege, the film sheds light on the conditions at the Rafah border crossing. The film also tackles the social difficulties which families of the female members of the group face in a socially conservative society like Jabalia refugee camp.
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