HOME MAGAZINE LEBANON

YALDA YOUNES SEEKING STILLNESS IN THE CITY OF ACTION

Her most recent dance performance, “A Universe Not Made for Us,” is a collaboration with her husband, the internationally renowned musician and composer, Khyam Allami. In addition to performances in France, Tunisia, and Jordan, the duo performed the piece in March at Beirut’s center for contemporary arts, Ashkal Alwan. I watched the performance with a hundred others as Younes’ body shook, paused, tapped, folded, rose, and collapsed alongside Allami’s sonic landscape of oud, electronics, and percussion. Sounds ranged from abrasive noise-music, like nails on a chalk-board, to a deep, comforting groan, like putting your ear against the core of the earth.

Younes also took up a microphone at one point, adapting flamenco songs into punk-style screaming and unsettling whispers. Redefining their respective disciplines of flamenco dance and Arabic music, they sought to address the contemporary historical moment which Younes described as being marked by “chronic depression and massive political failures.” The artists describe

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