Leila Awadallah is a Palestinian-American dancer, choreographer, film maker and interdisciplinary performance artist based in the Twin Cities and Beirut, Lebanon. She holds a BFA in Dance and a minor in Arabic Language and Literature from the University of Minnesota.
Her creative work unfolds within the intersections of diasporic Arab identity, Palestinian stories, embodied Arabic calligraphy, activism and resistance movements and building a deeper connectivity with ancestry as it lives in the body. She crafts with intentional response to the ways mainstream media / histories erase, vilify, and distort Arab and Palestinian peoples.
Her research in creating Arab-Rooted Contemporary Dance has recently brought her into living, learning, and performing in Lebanon and Palestine. In Palestine she works closely with Diyar Dance Theatre and performed at the first BIPAF with Ananya Dance Theatre. In 2019, she created DDBR, a residency for international artists in Bethlehem, Palestine. In Lebanon she has performed at BIPOD, the Lebanese International Theatre, Zico House, and RMEIL Gallery. In 2019 she began working with the Tiro Association as a performer and teacher.
Leila’s choreography has been presented in Minnesota at the Rawi Arab Literature Conference, Rhythmically Speaking, Pangea, Walker Art Center, The Southern Theatre, Threads Dance Company, Bryant Lake Bowl, Twin Cities Public Television, and at PAGE Theatre (Winona). Outside of the midwest, her work has been presented at the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), the Lebanese International Theater (Tyre, Lebanon) and BIPOD Dance Festival (Beirut, Lebanon). Leila was a company member of the touring ensemble Ananya Dance Theatre (2013-2019), and a co-creator of Kelvin Wailey dance trio (2016-2019). She received a SAGE Award (2016) for her work in film, a Jerome Travel Grant (2018) to study dance in Palestine, and was a Springboard 20/20 Fellow (2018 - 2019).
Photo: Isabel Fajardo