United World Project


Dancing, for harmony amongst the people

2 November 2022   |   , ,

Antonella Lombardo, artistic director of the high formation Academic Dance Workshop school, of the Cultural Association DanceLab Armoni, narrates of the effort for peace and dialogue amongst the people in Italy and the Holy Land, born from the experience of the school. From 2014, the association promotes art campuses for the children of the Palestinian territories, in particular Bethlehem, thanks to the collaboration and to the friendship with Father Ibrahim Faltas, Vicar of the custody of the Holy Land, and with the Giovanni Paolo II Foundation.

Antonella, after two years of a forced stop due to the pandemic, you all returned at the end of June 2022 in Bethlehem, in the Holy Land…

The welcoming was the warmest. We couldn’t walk in the roads of the city without them inviting us to enter, offering us something. We were surprised by this welcoming, of this good that was returning to us as a river. As though the small seeds that, in the years, we threw there, this year sprouted all together!

How was this edition of the project carried out?

As soon as we reached, on the 27th of June, we started working with the older children, who had lived the past experiences of the project, so that they could help us with the language and would act as “tutors” for the smaller ones. This week was transformed in a moment of fusion, of friendship. Even the children and the teachers of the local schools participated. 17 – 18 well formed people, divided according to the various disciplines, that were indispensable for the following days with the smaller ones…. That arrived in great numbers! They were around 130 children, who also came from refugee camps.

Where was the campus carried out?

We were in the premises of a Franciscan school that, from kindergarten reached till high school. A very valid location that now, since a few years, we feel needs that this formation continues for the children, for which Father Ibrahim suggested to realize some works in a construction located in front of the premises of the Giovanni Paolo II Foundation.

We hope that they manage to start the works to create a stable dance and art school.

You talk about art because as of now, since a few years, you’ll reach Bethlehem with the volunteers of the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples…

Exactly! Together, we would like to give life to an art school in Bethlehem for a continues formation, not only in these 15, 20 summer days. Like this, we could give a true glimpse of hope and liberty. Because art, in Bethlehem, is like bread. They do not have the “bread” of art, because they do not have any possibility of cultural exchange, as they live locked up away.

Through Irene’s look and words, young editor of the Teens magazine, we can watch and listen to the narration of journey in a land marked by divisions that, thanks to the art and dance, rediscovers glimpses of beauty and hope.

To explore the experience of the Campus 2022 “Harmony amongst the people” in Bethlehem, watch the video produced by the CSC Audiovisuals.

In Tuscany (Italy)

Between the end of August and the beginning of September 2022, the artists of the Cultural DanceLab Armonia Association also animated the 17th Festival and the 9th International Campus “Harmony amongst the people”, in Tuscan land, that involved youth coming from Lebanon, Bosnia, Egypt, Palestine, Argentina, and from various parts of Italy.

This year, the Campus fell within the scope of the Heartmony project of the ONG New Humanity, financed by the European Commission through the “Capacity building in the field of youth” notice. The project, still in progress, suggests educating the youth to social inclusion methods for the migrants and refugees through art, to strengthen youth’s intercultural skills and to reflect on the cause and effects of the migrations in the Mediterranean basin.

I wish that every time the experience of our project is narrated, connections may be created, collaborations with reality. Because, the next time we return to Bethlehem, there aren’t just children of our school, of our territory, but children from different parts of Italy can also participate.
Antonella Lombardo