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Syrian Tango

Art and Dance reviving Syria's soul

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When the war started in Syria, people had little time for art. As a result, artists’ earnings collapsed. Musicians couldn’t get spare parts for their instruments from manufacturers applying sanctions. Their families lived in fear of shelling and snipers. Most emigrated because they wanted to get creative again or to feel safe.

Woman and man dancing tango on the beach at sunset in Latakia, Syria. Still from Syrian Tango

RTD meets those who decided to fight the war with art. The message of the Members of the Dare collective is: “If you have a dream, take the first step”. The videographer who “takes away the bad thoughts and puts in the good”. The dancer who tangoes barefoot in street fountains, to the disapproval of some.

Large hands pulling wall apart, carved out of yellow stone wall by Syrian Art Collective Aram. In tunnel dug by rebels beneath Damascus, Syria. Still taken from Syrian Tango.

With RTD, explore the tunnels where Islamic rebels Jaysh-al-Islam made shells that destroyed ancient architectural treasures. Here, a self-taught conscript and his team of professionals sculpted human faces into its walls.

Dulyama left Syria because he wanted to join his exiled bandmates to play music together, but he came back when he realised the project he was working on could only happen at home.
Listen to the percussionist who taught students under fire, and who repairs instruments, and to the jazz orchestra conductor who left for Germany to play with his bandmates, but came back because he could only create on his native soil. As the gunfire dies down and life gets back to normal, these artistic warriors keep up their battle for the human spirit.
Simon is one of Damascus' most in-demand percussionists. The war broke up his family, but he kept on mending instruments at Damascus Opera and  teaching at the institute throughout the conflict. From Syrian Tango.

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