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Second International Meeting of Al-Andalus in Mexico (EISIAM)

From June 06, 2021 until June 27, 2021Check dates and times for each activity.
Casa Árabe’s YouTube channel. Check dates and times for each activity.
In Spanish.

From June 6 to 27, we will be holding the Second International Meeting of Al-Andalus in Mexico (EISIAM), with which Casa Árabe is collaborating online through a series of activities organized by Lila Zellet-Elías, with the participation of Patricia Álvarez.

This international, interdisciplinary meeting seeks to create a space for reflecting and producing social change, through a dialogue between artists, professors, students and the general public, about the recognition of the cultural diversity that makes up today’s Mexico. The summit brings together everything that once coexisted in Al-Andalus to learn about, acknowledge, recover, document and share the legacy of Al-Andalus in Mexico in 2021, a year in which we are commemorating five hundred years of an encounter thought to have occurred between “two worlds.”

The initiative was proposed by the civil association Egiptanos Arte y Consultoría A.C. and its director, Lila Zellet-Elías, and is supported by the FONCA 2019 Cultural Promotion and Co-investment Program, in addition to the CDMX Theater System, the INAH National Museum of World Cultures, the INBA National Dance Coordination and the Cultural Center of Spain in Mexico.

The legacy of Al-Andalus is not limited to the Arab presence in Spain alone: other cultures, such as the Judeo-Spanish, Gypsy (Rrom), Persian and Berber (Amazigh) have instilled Al-Andalus with an iridescent color that can also be seen in Mexico centuries later. Mexicans do not take much notice that their architecture, cuisine and lexicon are filled with contributions from Al-Andalus, which until now have remained unexplained or de-contextualized.

All of the activities that make up the schedule of the International Meeting of Al-Andalus in Mexico have been organized in accordance with the following categories: arts, academia, culture, education, and cooperation and aid. The category of education will include its own series of seminars and master classes; with exhibitions and works of film in the case of culture; conferences in the series on academia; and musical and choreographic performances in the category of the arts. All will be held via streaming (broadcast online). Check times for each activity.

Further information
Second International Meeting of Al-Andalus in Mexico (EISIAM)
Virtual zambra workshop
June 14 to 19, 2021
Given by Patricia Álvarez.
Zambra meant “festivity” in the Arabic of Al-Andalus. Therefore, the “zambra” was originally a space for collective amusement. Throughout the ages, this term has taken on different meanings: mythical dances linked to the Moorish wedding ritual, traditional folklore dances linked to the wedding ritual of the Gypsies in Granada’s Sacromonte, a flamenco “palo” almost in disuse, an Andalusian construct in the form of a flamenco-influenced song... Through the body, we will go on a journey through all of these places related with an imaginary that recreates and invents places from the past, while at the same time verifying Al-Andalus’ influence on flamenco.

Virtual “fandanguito” workshop
June 21, 23 and 25, 2021
Taught by Lila Zellet-Elías.
“Fandanguito” is a Moorish dance workshop, a choreographic expression that reveals the Arab-Andalusian heritage of Mexico and its deep roots within the cultural fabric despite a high degree of cultural syncretism. Through dance, this workshop offers a little known perspective of Mexican identity. From the beats of the traditional “son jarocho” of Veracruz to the Arabian syncopations that intermix with Spanish rhythms, Lila Zellet-Elías shares one of the imaginaries of Al-Andalus. A long-winded dance in which ancient nautical metaphors about constant flow sound and suddenly transform into a fast-paced dance that combines and contrasts the percussions of Eastern dance mainly in the hip and chest, with flamenco percussion insinuating the power of the flamenco footstep.

Short-subject film AlandaluSoy (Survival and Imaginaries)
June 22, 2021 
In the words of professor and Arabist Pedro Martínez Montávez, Al-Andalus is both “a finished historical reality and a symbolic reality that remains alive and well in the imaginary.” In this video-dance piece for viewing by a widespread audience, Lila Zellet-Elías (MEX/LIB) and Patricia Álvarez (ESP) capture their two viewpoints of this space, framed within places and territories that form part of both the historical reality and these imaginaries. Through dance, image, music, words and, in short, the movement and artistic vision that these two women have of Al-Andalus as a cultural imaginary and territory which has been handed down in various ways, we travel by their side along several paths, in which they search, investigate, seek inspiration and connect with the idea of Al-Andalus and the ties that this space continues to promote, either as identifiable cultural footprints left behind on aspects of the culture present in Mexico or in Spain, or as abstract ideas which evoke and inspire these artists.
Shot in different locations in Cordoba, Spain, Cordoba, Mexico, Madrid and Mexico City, this work is intended to be a space for reflection on parts of our shared history, an ode to different women from Al-Andalus who left their mark on the arts and sciences, a poem to the physical ruins which have evoked spaces for culture and knowledge, a tribute to our ancestors, a look at who we are…
Lila Zellet-Elías
A stage and visual artist of Lebanese Gypsy origin born in Mexico City. A choreographer, dancer and singer who specializes in linking Gypsy (Rrom), Arab and Mexican cultures.

A member of the FONCA National System of Art Creators-Sría de Cultura 2016-19. With a PhD in Critical Theory from the Instituto de Estudios Críticos 17 (2020), specializing in Aesthetics. Master’s degree in Arts and Design from the ENAP-UNAM (2013), bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from the Universidad del Nuevo Mundo (1992). She is the president and founder of the civil association Egiptanos Arte y Consultoría A.C. Since 2003, she has been the art director, singer and dancer of the Ensamble Egiptanos. Director and choreographer of the Ensamble Al Mosharabía and Mexico’s School of Moorish Dance, devoted to preserving and increasing awareness about Arab and Rrom cultures, as well as their latest stage production.

Lila Zellet-Elías is known internationally for the strength of her work, both on stage and in academia, bringing back Arab-Andalusian roots as an important part of Mexican identity.

Patricia Álvarez
An eclectic dancer, her style combines the traditional dances of the Mediterranean with contemporary dance and flamenco. Born in Madrid to an Andalusian and Castilian family, a search for identity through movement and dance is a constant in her work.

She holds a degree in Arabic Philology and Islam (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). At the same time, she studies and researches the language of the body and gesture in the cultural traditions of the Mediterranean region. This research can be seen in her work “Cuerpos que se desplazan,” which addresses the relationship between the different traumatic displacements of peoples and the emergence and development of various forms of artistic expression and communication that use movement/sound in a central role.

She collaborates with different artists in projects on stage for increased awareness, a steadfast believer in the need for reflection through and along with dance. Performative conferences, workshops and video dance are ways she uses to reflect on the search for identity through dance, the body as the main vehicle of expression and creation, and the hybrids which arise in the form of styles as a result of constant exchanges amid bodies. She performs her work internationally at different locations in Europe and Latin America.