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This Palestinian Ballerina Breaking Out in a Spontaneous Dance to an Italian Street Musician is Pure Visual Poetry

By Petr Knava | Miscellaneous | May 10, 2018 |

By Petr Knava | Miscellaneous | May 10, 2018 |


A madman sits in the White House surrounded by blood-hungry war hawks. Racism, racist misogyny, and pure, distilled stupidity abound around the world. ‘Be Best’ is a thing. And Jerry Seinfeld is still talking. 2018 is exhausting. So exhausting it sometimes makes it easy to lose sight of the good in this world. It’s crucially important that we sometimes take a minute to contemplate this, because as Samwise Gamgee once said, there is good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.

To wit: A Palestinian girl, on a visit to Italy with her father, wandering through the streets of Trieste. The pair hear music drifting towards them, a beautiful, haunting melody bouncing off the ancient stones. The sound of plaintive yet joyful strings transcending language and dissolving all barriers. The girl and her father are drawn to it. They find the source, a street violinist, and the girl approaches the man and his music tentatively. Hands folded together in uncertainty, her feet bouncing slightly back and forth, she is called by the melody, yet she is unsure. Her dress flutters slightly in the breeze, already dancing to the music and beckoning the girl to do the same. A shy smile plays on her face as her father beseeches her from behind the camera: ‘Come on, Rima! I’m filming! Come on, Rima, do it. For God’s sake! For my sake! Do it!’ Finally relenting, Rima lets motion take her. The music flows from the violinist’s instrument and straight through Rima. Countless hours of practice and a boundless reserve of passion combine to produce a moment of fleeting, life-affirming beauty.

The girl’s full name, incidentally, is Rima Baransi. She is a Palestinian ballerina, and she is also featured in this video showcasing Palestinian dance:

In Palestine, where freedom of movement is often severely limited by occupation, dance has become a vital and affirmative expression of humanity. If you would like to read more I wholeheartedly recommend this piece about the vibrant culture of Palestinian break-dance and ballet.

Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.

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