Pierre Geagea, a Lebanese choreographer and contemporary expressionist dancer, has created a special kind of performance that fuses the grace and fluidity of sign language, with the emotional depth of modern dance.
Geagea says the idea for"Mother Tongue" came when he thought of "mixing contemporary ballet with expressionism and sign language." This was his first step in taking the essence of dance being a form of communication to a whole new level.
The 34-year-old, who was born deaf, spent his childhood unable to hear or speak. In his mid-teens, after strenuous effort and endless sessions of speech therapy, he learned to read lips.
Geagea says that dance helped him communicate when he lacked the ability to speak.
“When I was around 10," Geagea told Beirut.com, "I didn’t know much about dance but I used to love Michael Jackson".
This was a performer who inspired him, and he immediately found dance to be a form of self-expression and a source of strength.
At the age of 14, he started training in a whole host of genres, from traditional dabke to jazz and ballet.
Geagea has already performed 'Mother Tongue' at the Institut Français in May, where it proved to be a resounding success. A second performance and reinterpretation will be at Sacre Coeur College's Théâtre Gemmayze in Beirut.
A campaign has been launched on Zoomaal, a website started up by four major investors dedicated to funding project, in support of the upcoming performance. The aim is to raise $2,000 through donations, which will go toward marketing development and space rental.
Through this project, he hopes to raise awareness about the deaf community and encourage people to get more involved.