|Christian Palestinian dance troupe performs Sunday|
Area residents will have the opportunity to see a rare performance of dance and theater reflecting a culture that’s often misunderstood.
On May 6, Bright Stars of Bethlehem will present Room for Hope, a Diyar Dance Theatre Production at Celebration! Community Life Center of Our Saviours Lutheran Church. The Christian Palestinian dance troupe is made up of teens and young adults whose mission is to celebrate their traditions and promote peace.
“They express their cultural identities through traditional dance and story vignettes. What it’s like to live in an occupation but to also have hope,” said Beth Nelson Chase of Bright Stars of Bethlehem.
The Illinois-based not-for-profit supports the ministries and programs of Christmas Lutheran Church of Bethlehem.
The Diyar Dance Theatre, which was formed four years ago, includes young people in their teens through their mid-20s. Although they have performed throughout Europe and the Gulf region previously, this is their first U.S. tour. The outreach program Chase said is a way to “enhance the knowledge base, to let people know more about the peace efforts coming through the arts and the energy of these young people.”
Pastor Tom Grevlos, of Our Saviours Lutheran Church, said his congregation is eager to host the dance troupe.
“We became involved through a collaborative effort with Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and a group of church members. We hosted a similar event in February at our Celebration! campus,” Grevlos said. “It was a wonderful event that sought to build bridges of hope and peace between people of all creeds. This event on Sunday is another way to demonstrate that we are a faith community that seeks to build bridges, not tear them down because of religious differences”
Their message does not have a political agenda.
“We think it’s an artistic way of expressing issues of justice. It’s about peace building efforts of the arts; of empowering and giving hope to young people in their society and in the world,” Chase said. “Despite living in occupation, they strive for hope and peace in their land and throughout the world.”
Chase is hoping that people from throughout the area will attend the performance.
“We hope to reach out to the greater community to tell the story of Palestinian Christians and people in the Holy Land,” she said. “We hope we’ll reach people with a passion for justice and peace making, but also people who are passionate about the arts. What better way to tell the story than through dance and theater at a cultural venue.”
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