In a double celebration of Lebanon’s thrivingcontemporary dance scene, the country’s all-new creative space, Citerne Beirut,opened its doors yesterday, under the patronage of the President of the Councilof Ministers H.E Mr. Saad Hariri and in the presence of ambassadors, officials,partners, supporters and friends to host the first night of BIPOD - BeirutInternational Platform of Dance 2019.

Commenting ahead of the openingnight, the Choreographer Omar Rajeh, Founder and Artistic Director of Maqamat, saidthat holding the 2019 festival in a new space perfectly suited to dance, musicand theater would undoubtedly give this year’s edition an added dimension.

“Citerne Beirut is much more than anew music and cultural venue; it symbolizes the next chapter of the country’sjourney in the performing arts, showing us the way forward and inviting us topush boundaries, which Maqamat has always relished doing,” he said.

The 15th edition of the global danceextravaganza will focus on the Lebanese dance scene, with a wealth of talented localperformers taking to the stage, alongside several highly acclaimedinternational acts, for 9 showstopping performances.

Lebanese dancers participating in the 10-dayfestival include: Omar Rajeh; Mia Habis, Ghida Hachicho; Bassam Abou Diab; Guy Nader; YaraBoustany; Charlie Prince; Stephanie Kayal; Nivine Kallas; and Jadd Tank. Performersfrom Spain, Australia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, France,Germany, Iran, Palestine and Jordan will also be delighting audiences withtheir skills and creativity.

Mia Habis, BIPOD’s Artistic Director,said “I am delighted that Citerne Beirut will be hosting such a talented arrayof performers from near and far, while raising the profile of Lebanese dancers,over the next 10 days and well into the future.”

This year’s edition of BIPOD was inaugurated by thelocalpremier of Omar Rajeh’s renowned work #minaret. Inspired by the minaret ofthe Great Mosque of Aleppo, which was once an iconic landmark of Syria'slargest city, but now lies in ruins, the work had its international premier at the2018 edition of Romaeuropa Festival and is now on a global tour. A secondperformance of the work will take place tonight.

In keeping with tradition, the shows are beingsupported by studio presentations, workshops, masterclasses and discussionpanels, together with a film screening, and a daily virtual realitypresentation.

Citerne Beirut is also hosting theeighth edition of Moultaqa Leymoun, which once again takes place during BIPOD2019. The initiative has carved a niche over the years as an establishedplatform for emerging and established Lebanese and Arab choreographers to meetwith directors of international festivals.

More than 18 choreographers and dancers fromLebanon, Tunisia, Palestine, Jordan and Iran will participate to this 8thedition where the major focus will be on Lebanese artists, includingfull-length performances by established Arab artists and will hold in parallela series of studio presentations to introduce young emerging talents, theirwork and future projects.

It will be an opportunity to open conversationsduring the platform around the theme of “Rush of Adrenaline: Reinjecting lifeinto Performing Art Spaces” - engaging artists, organizers and danceprofessionals.

Organized by Maqamat, BIPOD 2019takes place from April 4 to 13. All performances will be held at Citerne Beirut,Armenia Street, El Nahr (end of Mar Mikhail).

The full programfor BIPOD 2019 is available on:

Tickets are onsale at Librairie Antoine and on

Facebook: @bipodfestival/ @maqamat

Instagram:@bipodfestival / @omar_rajeh_maqamat

Twitter:@bipodfestival / @maqamat

#citernebeirut #bipod2019