OMAR RAJEH | MAQAMAT
choreographer, dancer, and artistic director
“[Omar Rajeh] makes contemporary dance a proposal of force in present day Lebanon” - Thomas Hahn, DANSER, 2018
Omar Rajeh, a critically acclaimed choreographer and dancer, is a leading figure of the contemporary dance scene in Lebanon and the Arab world. He founded Maqamat in Beirut in 2002. In December 2019, he moved to France and established his company in the city of Lyon. In 2021, he was distinguished by the French Ministry of Culture ‘for his contribution and engagement in the service of Culture’ with the title of ‘Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters).
He holds a BA in Theatre Studies from the Lebanese University and a Masters Degree in Dance Studies from the University of Surrey in the UK. Author of more than twenty choreographic creations, his choreogrpaphies question the notion of the unity and singularity of the body. Instead of looking at one entity with one centre, the body represents an interactive relationship of ‘bodies’ that give it its dynamics, presence, and meaning. His work seeks an extraordinary physical presence with strong socio-political connections. Rajeh’s work leaves a powerful imprint on the audience.
Omar Rajeh has spent over 20 years weaving, exploring and refining his choreographic language. He performed with his company in more than a hundred different cities around the globe. His work was presented in major international festivals and venues such as the Bolshoi theatre festival, STEPS, Julidans, Romaeuropa festival, Edinburgh International Festival, and Athens festival to name a few.
Omar Rajeh is the founder of Beirut International Platform of Dance – BIPOD, one of the most important dance festivals in the region. Since 2004, the festival offers a rich international program of performances, workshops, lectures, and meetings. He is the co-founder of Masahat Dance Network which is a regional contemporary dance network across Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan. This ambitious regional connection was further extended into the MOULTAQA LEYMOUN platform, which Rajeh created to provide the space and opportunity for young and established Arab artists to showcase and develop their work. Furthermore, Omar Rajeh has recently founded the highly anticipated new performing arts space in the heart of Beirut - Citerne Beirut - which is set to nurture and further propel the existing projects of Maqamat towards an enriched experience, while reaching a wider audience than ever before. Citerne Beirut was forced to be dismantled in August 2019.
He is the founder of the digital cultural platform Citerne.live.
As part of Canal 2021, Omar Rajeh, was invited by the CND lyon where he is an associated artist, to talk about his his work and Maqamat's two new creations: Origami Cosmos and Cent Mille Façons de Parler.
Canal 2021, organized by CND, Centre National De La Danse is online, making it possible to discover 30 artistic projects during a month. Through the Canal project, CND makes its location, resources and spaces available to the entire choreographic sector by invited French cultural institutions of various accreditations (CCN, CDC, Scènes conventionnées; Scènes nationales, festivals, etc.).
Acknowledgment 2020 /2021
In 2020 /2021 Maqamat Beit El Raqs received support from The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) & Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy)
Maqamat is supported by the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles d’Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes au titre de l'aide à la structuration, the DGCA/ Ministère de la culture and La Ville De Lyon
and Omar Rajeh was supported as an associated artist by the CND- centre National de la Danse and the CND /Lyon in 2020.