Stéréo48: Palestinian Hip-Hop Dance Troupe Shines on Global Stage

As part of the Expanded Dance festival organized by the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, an exceptional Palestinian hip-hop group has emerged onto the scene.

Hailing from various corners of the globe—Germany, Ireland, France, Portugal, and Slovenia—their shared identity as Palestinians and their love for the lands of Palestine, whether on the West Bank or the Israeli side, bind them together as the troupe Stéréo48.

The name Stéréo pays homage to the early New York breakdancers, who strolled with massive radios on their shoulders, blaring music for all to hear. The “48” serves as a poignant reminder of the partition of Palestine by Israel.

Originally, members Hamza, Abdallah Damra, and Amir Sabra were part of a casual breakdancing group in Nablus. It wasn’t a professional venture; instead, it was fueled by a shared passion for a dance style relatively uncommon in Arab nations. However, their journey took an unexpected turn when the Belgian company C de la B sought new dancers for their acclaimed show, Badke, and brought them on board. For a year and a half, these three Palestinians toured the world, experiencing the highs and lows of life on the road. Upon their return to Nablus, a sense of melancholy set in.

Abdallah Damra harbored an unwavering desire to continue the experience. During their global tour, he had the foresight to approach a leader from the Belgian company, requesting training in both choreography and troupe management. The pivotal moment they had been hoping for came through Stéphane Aucante, the director of the French Institute in Nablus.

Aucante generously offered them a space to work, train, and rehearse at the institute. Moreover, he provided them with daily meals and an initial grant of €200. Aucante recognized the challenges these young dancers faced, many of whom hailed from Palestinian refugee camps. “It was really hard,” Abdallah reflects today.

Their talent and dedication led to further opportunities: they joined the Pokémon Crew and received a commission from the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris as part of the “Danse Expandée” festival—a series of short formats that spotlights emerging choreographers. These performances are consistently refreshing and underscore the boundless creativity inherent in dance.

Stéréo 48, led by choreographer Amir Sabra, kicks off this dynamic event in the heart of Montmartre. The troupe beckons the audience to navigate the steep slope of rue de Ravignan, eventually leading them to the Théâtre des Abbesses, managed by the City Theater. The company’s magnetic energy is undeniable, with their powerful dance set against the backdrop of nostalgic Palestinian wedding tunes. Combining improvisation with more structured interludes, this street performance transcends mere entertainment and hip-hop prowess, delicately delving into the core of human connections. They received sponsorship from the Caisse des Dépôts and support from the Île-de-France Region, following a residency at Espace Germinal-Fosse.

After this striking outdoor debut, the audience is treated to an array of six captivating pieces—an absolute must-see.

Don’t miss the Lyon Dance Biennale, running from September 24 to October 1, where Stéréo 48 continues to impress and inspire.

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