Hilal dance

Suraya Hilal Productions

Oscillations (2008) Available

Premiere: Stuttgart, Rothebul Theatre

Oscillations, Suraya Hilal’s new work is about the swing of the pendulum and the point of balance found in the oscillating journey of life. Suraya works with the solo classical Oud, the foremost musical instrument of the Arab world. Inspired by the work of Joseph Tawadros, a leading Egyptian musician, the choreographies, set for two dancers, Suraya Hilal and Sarah Hamilton bring to light essential elements that realize the point of balance in body, in mind, and in life, actualized through the metaphor of flying, the sense of freedom one gains from finding equilibrium.

Oscillations / Video 1

Oscillations / Video 2

Al Aseel (2004) Available

Premiere: Dusseldorf Tanzhaus nrw

Aseel is collaboration between Suraya Hilal and Alessandro Bascioni. They work together moving the Baladi form into modernity. The music combines traditional, rural forms with new influences and instrumentation. 'Al Aseel' or the 'authentic moment' is that inspired and spontaneous instant when the musicians and dancer unite, ignite and create the unexpected. The piece was reworked and shown again at Tanzhaus nrw 2005.

Aseel / Video 1

Aseel / Video 2

Al Janub (2002)

Premiere: Dusseldorf, Tanzhaus nrw

This work is inspired by the Upper Egyptian musical tribes. In Al Janub, Hilal works with traditional/root movements and expressions only to extend them and transform them in pure line and essence to something more dramatic, dynamic and stylistic giving this timeless music a modern accessibility and universality. Working with three dancers including herself, Hilal’s choreographies reveal the magic of the reverberating rich sounds of the fine Upper Egyptian music of the Metqual Family and Abu Kherag and Quenawi Mizmar Family. Suraya uses excellent music recordings of dynamic pieces such as "Ya Rab Toba" by the mizmar band. Accompanying the pieces, live is the ‘Rais’ (chief) Mohammad Murad himself, his son El Hami Murad, on rababah and Ibrahim el Minyawi on percussion. The company also performed a season in Paris and again in Tanzhaus nrw in 2003.
A coo-production with Tanzhaus nrw

Al Janub / Video

Spirit of the Heart (1997)

Premiere: London. Queen Elisabeth Hall

Spirit of the Heart is a work based on the inspiration of the voice. Suraya collaborated with the unique and remarkable baladi singer Ruh el Fuad, and a new band of six musicians from Cairo who come from the original school of urban music, a rare group to find in these highly commercialised times. The famous Egyptian/Armenian multi-media artist, Chant Avedissian with his knowledge and inspiration of the authentic Egyptian dress, designed the costumes. This group of artists formed a powerful core for Suraya Hilal’s work in "Spirit of the Heart". The work came together in a formidable union of voice, music, movements, colour, line and geometry. Unity was the key in all these elements and this marked a new departure in the movement vocabulary going into unexplored territories. The work premiered at Queen Elisabeth Hall went touring in Europe.

Spirit of the Heart / Video

Journey to Light (1995)

Premiere: London, Queen Elisabeth Hall

In 1994, Suraya Hilal worked with the composer, Peter Chowdry’s seven-piece chamber orchestra where they produced a 35-minute modern western classical piece called Journey to Light. Hilal’s choreography portrayed a complex and intense inner journey where the movements intrinsically mirrored the textures and the strong modulations of the violin and the rest of the orchestra; an unusual and beautiful departure for Suraya work.

Colours of Cairo (1992)

Premiere: London, Sadler’s Wells

Suraya Hilal collaborates with the accordionist Farouq Mohammad Hassan to bring the lively but also deeper aspects of Baladi music into focus through dance. With the full ensemble of 3 dancers Suraya Hilal shows how inspiring the urban tradition of music and dance can be. Presented at Sadler’s Wells the production toured all over Europe. Funded by the British Arts Council.

Rhythms of Cairo (1991)

Premiere: London, Purcell Rooms in South Bank

Suraya Hilal’s first collaboration with accordionist and composer Farouq Mohammad Hassan and his six musicians and four dancers highlights theatrical aspects of Baladi life. Funded by the British Arts Council.

Divine Rites (1990)

Premiere: London, Sadler’s Wells

Suraya Hilal created this diverse programme which includes the ritualistic Moulid inspired piece for four dancers, a singer and the full music ensemble. Suraya’s inspiration comes from her experience and participation in these powerful celebrations and rituals of the people in Egypt. In this work, Suraya stylises the devotional ritual of the Sufi "Zikr", then brings in the ritual of invocation, the "Hadrah" and finally uses the "Zar" the African based ritual used to exorcise evil spirits. The Beloved and Divine Rites toured throughout the UK and three nights at Sadlers Wells. Funded by British Arts Council.

The Beloved (1991)

Premiere: London, Sadler’s Wells

This work is primarily based on the romantic musical works of Farid el Atrash and Mohammad Abdel Wahab in the 1940’s and ‘50’s. The sweep and flow of the music invited the same in Suraya Hilal’s expansive choreography. Like the voice, the violin of Emile Bassili declaims verses with supple modulations that are mirrored in the sweetness, but also strength of the dances. Funded by the British Arts Council.

Jewels (1990)

Premiere: London, Queen Elisabeth Hall

El Layali el Sharq Ensemble in Jewels played Tarab classical music of the highest quality, normally for listening, such as the music of Um Kulthoum. This work reveals how through inspirational choreography, Tarab can be expressed through dance. Hilal’s response to the nuances of this profound and demanding music extends and stylises dance as never before. Premiered in Queen Elisabeth Hall the production toured in Europe. Funded by the British Arts Council.

Celebration of the Nile (1988)

Premiere: London, Almeida Theatre

An exciting collaboration with the authentic Sha’abi (folk) musicians from Luxor and their producer, Alain Weber, The Rababa band of el Rais Metqal and the Mizmar band of el Rais Quenawi. For the first time Suraya Hilal showed how the multilayered Sha’abi music can be part of a vibrant and joyful dance expression. With her company of five dancers including her self and the two separate bands of eleven musicians, this was an unforgettable performance. Funded by the British Arts Council.

The Return of the Spirit (1985)

Premiere: London, The Place theatre

One of Suraya Hilal’s first performances with her full ensemble of eleven musicians. There were a variety of works but the highlight of the programme is the piece "The Return of the Spirit" composed by one of Egypt’s great composers Ammar El Shire’i. This modern piece was the Ancient Egyptian cyclic journey of the spirit (kaa) in death and rebirth. This was followed by the piece Khatwet Samar, using modern music composed by the Lebanese artist, Ziad el Rahbani. Within these pieces Suraya showed her unique style of the highly structured "taqasim" section a completely new way of working with complex traditional music. The Return of the Spirit had its first five night’s season at The Place. Funded by the British Arts Council.