Dancing in Jaffa

 

Dancing in Jaffa Trailer from kNow Productions on Vimeo.

 

Dancing In Jaffa is a feature length documentary film that follows Pierre Dulaine’s journey to Jaffa to fulfill his lifelong dream of teaching dance to Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli children, then pairing them in a competition. Pierre is an Internationally renowned ballroom dancer and dance instructor whose famous program, Dancing Classrooms, introduced ballroom dancing to the NYC public schools immortalized in the film Take The Lead, starring Antonio Banderas. He started with 30 children in the mid- 1990s and since then more than over 300,000 children have participated in his program.

 

Dancing in Jaffa is both the story of Pierre’s homecoming to a city challenged by change and that of his 10-year old students’ transformation from reluctant participants in a dance competition to determined performers representing their diverse and divisive community.

 

As the film explores how Israelis and Palestinians, living uneasily side-by-side, learn to trust and dance with one another, it also asks the question of how one preserves personal identity in a world that frequently demands assimilation. Through dance, Pierre’s program teaches the children to be proud of who you are, but to respect and embrace others.

 

The film follows 4 children, the way they learn to dance, adapt to their partners, handle the challenges of the competition, and begin to trust one another even as they cope with interfamilial conflicts, mixed religious backgrounds, displacement, gentrification, and their own development, provides the film’s poignancy and relevance.

 

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 10-year-old Palestinian and Israeli children to dance together and compete together. The film explores the complex stories of four different children, all of whom 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.

 

 

Cast & Credits

 

Director:
Hilla Medalia

 

Screenwriter:
Hilla Medalia, Philip Shane

 

Producer:
Diane Nabatoff, Hilla Medalia, Neta Zwebner-Zaibert

 

Editor:
Philip Shane, Bob Eisenhardt A.C.E.

 

Cinematographer:
Daniel Kedem

 

Executive Producer:
Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick, La Toya Jackson & Jeffré Phillips, Nigel Lythgoe, Sydney Holland