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Aspiring artist sees dance as tool to communicate, break barriers

By Saeb Rawashdeh - Mar 26,2015 - Last updated at Aug 20,2015

AMMAN — Bijan Qutb, a unique case of a Jordanian who was admitted to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, dreams of returning to Amman to form a professional dance company.

"The artistic opportunities are very limited in Amman and one can't make a living out of dance in Jordan. You must have an alternative job to be able to earn a living and my aim is… to contribute to the growth of the dance movement and make dancing a paid job for us aspiring artists,” Qutb said.

Founded in 1953, the school where the aspiring ballet dancer is currently enrolled combines different dance disciplines.

Although he has a degree in business administration from Al Ahliyya Amman University, Qutb’s heart lies elsewhere, so his passion for dance took him to the National Centre for Culture and Arts (NCCA) in Amman, which offers professional training in performance arts.

"Ms Svetlana Tahboub and Ms Rania Kamhawi of the NCCA discovered me and believed in my talent and progress regardless of my… weight [135 kilogrammes]. They offered me training, during [which] I lost 60 kilos," he recalled.

Qutb said he gained confidence with the better shape and with the confidence he improved on the stage. 

"I reached a new outlook in life by dropping weight. I gained self-esteem, stepped forward and became more positive." Qutb told The Jordan Times that being accepted at the US dance school represented a challenge for him as a young artist, adding that he was humbled and grateful to be able to attend a professional training programme in New York City. 

"I have not commenced my training there but based on watching excerpts of their classes and performances, the level of dance techniques at both the NCCA Jordan and Joffrey Ballet School are equal in difficulty, as the NCCA provides professional training at an international standard," he added.

"However what will be very different for me is that I'll be able to receive four classes a day in different styles of dance instead of one class a day at NCCA."

His ambitions are to explore new artistic horizons and the profoundness of human interactions in the context of "incorporation of modern understanding of human anatomy and physiology" which is one of the Joffrey Ballet School’s credos.

"My primary mission is to benefit from experience, teachers and choreographers in order to advance technique and performance skills as much as possible during my time in New York," Qutb said. 

"However in 10-15 years I see myself as a pioneer and developer of the dance movement in Jordan both as a choreographer and dance instructor," he added, urging gifted dancers to pursue their dreams.

"I hope that my passion for the performing arts will inspire others to follow my footsteps," Qutb said, "and hopefully the audiences in Amman will fully appreciate dance not only for its aesthetic value but as an important communication tool and a way to bridge cultural barriers."

 

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