MORNING QUESTIONS // DANCE LAAB
ANATOMY RESEARCH, DANCE AND MOVEMENT CLASSES
WORK IN PROGRESS // 2021 - ONGOING
> Supported by:
Professional development supported by the Canada Council for the Arts
> Exhibitions & Events:
taught at the Emerging Teacher’s Lab workshop and open classes at Studio303 (2021), at Nous Sommes L’été (2021), and at open workshops and the Professional Training Module at the Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (2022 - 2023)
Morning Questions began as a desire to study the human body from an artistic and multidisciplinary approach. It evolved to become my teaching practice that I now share with participants from different disciplines, with or without experience in dance. Morning Questions is an invitation to go beyond dance by incorporating writing, imagery, and visual arts as complementary tools to express the complexity of the human body.
First, I look at an anatomical structure in the human body and wonder. I draw the structure on paper, then write thoughts, memories, and questions. I embody the questions in stillness, movement, and in relationship to other forms and bodies in space. I use resources from movement approaches I have studied including martial arts, traditional dance from Congo and West Africa, and the Axis Syllabus.
My class follows a form of research lab* where searching and sharing is encouraged. I invite participants to wonder in practical and poetic voices. How is my head related to my tail? What if the internal systems of my body act like a composition beyond function? What are the movement articulations of my ankle? What if bones are tokens of time and testaments to immortality? Is fascia a separate thing? What if my sternum remembers a distant memory that brings me to a collective one? What am I feeling and what can I do with this realization? The questions unfold on paper then in movement and in space.
*‘lab’ when pronounced slowly in Arabic, sounds similar to the word لعب, meaning ‘play’ or ‘amusement’. Hence I extended it to ‘laab’ in the project name to play on that connection.
Mona El Husseini is a dancer and visual artist, based between Montreal and Cairo. She completed her dance education at the Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (CCDC) in Egypt and studied International Business and Contemporary Dance at Concordia University.
Mona choreographs and performs her own artistic projects, she collaborates with other artists as a choreographer and performer, and she also teaches contemporary dance, barre, and pilates. Her pieces have been performed in Egypt, Germany, Italy, and Canada.
At the time of writing, Mona is working on Creatrix, a dance duet with her mother, and on Family Portraits, a visual art series and a graphic memoir set to premiere at the MAI (Montréal, Arts Interculturels) in 2023. She is also developing Monday or Tuesday, a dance solo, and Rabbet Manzel // House Goddess, a visual art series - both of which were presented at upRising Up festival in Puglia, Italy, in 2022.
In 2018, Mona had a performing role in When Arabs Danced, a TIFF- and FIFA-featured documentary film by Jawad Rhalib, and in 2022, she was the lead actress in ‘Gigi’ and in ‘Mango’, two short films by director Randa Ali. That same year she choreographed ‘Mama,’ a theatre piece by Nathalie Doummar, which was presented at Théâtre Duceppe and at Festival Juste Pour Rire in Montreal.
Mona is the current recipient of the Conseil des Arts de Montréal (CAM) + Montréal, Arts Interculturels (MAI) Alliance joint support program.
In her artistic process, Mona goes beyond dance and traces the thread that connects the different art forms she practices including martial arts, visual arts, and writing. She is interested in how stories are transmitted, shared, and told through the body across generations. She finds the dance in the encounter between the intimate and the collective, the traditional and the contemporary, and in the space where the inner and outer meet.