In a blink

Witness the breathtaking fusion of Syrian traditional dance and contemporary movement in just one minute with “In A Blink.” This captivating short film captures the essence of both dance forms, showcasing their seamless integration and the beauty of their interplay. as the rich cultural heritage of Syria converges with modern expressions, leaving you inspired by the power of dance in just a blink of an eye.

  • Zaria Rajha
  • Mario Obeid
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 minute 15 seconds
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Calgary
    February 4, 2023
Director Biography - Zaria Rajha, Mario Obeid

Mario Obeid (he/him) is a movement artist and choreographer based in Treaty 7 (Calgary, Canada). Having discovered dance through b-boying and breakdance, Mario played a significant role in the establishment and strengthening of both urban and rural hip hop dance communities in Syria before receiving training in contemporary, classical ballet, and jazz at the Damascus Institute of Higher Arts. Together with Zaria Rajha, Mario has recently co-choreographed and performed work for Quick+Dirty Festival (Dancers’ Studio West), The Grande Residency (Theatre Grande) and FluidFest (Springboard Dance). Mario is interested in how the dance expresses the body’s yearning for both freedom and connection through the scales of our deepest relationships and the communities through which we find belonging.

Zaria Rajha (she/her) is a dancer, choreographer, and researcher of the body, hailing from Damascus, Syria. Currently based in Treaty 7 Calgary, Alberta. She grew up learning Hip-Hop, jazz, and contemporary. Later, Zaria became a graduate of The Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts, Damascus, Syria where she held her bachelor’s degree in dance movement. Zaria is deeply drawn to absurd theatre studies and to her research concerning human existence. In 2018, She worked as a professional performer with Leish physical theatre troupe Damascus, Syria and choreographed many dance productions based on the idea of contradiction by combining two opposites movement, themes, methods together. During her career journey Zaria trained in multiple theatre, mime, and dance techniques. In 2022, together with her husband Mario Obeid co-choreographed and performed works for Quick+Dirty Festival (Dancer Studio West) awarded “the audience choice prize”, the Grand Residency Cabaret (Grand Theatre) and Fluid Festival (Springboard Performance). Most recently, she and Mario Obeid have co-collaborated with Kawalease Act to create movement workshops that introduce people to the art of dance and choreography.

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Director Statement

Zaria Rajha
My work is an attempt to unsettle our conservative understanding of dance as an artistic medium for certain types of corporeal expression. I am transfixed by the movements found in our shared pedestrian living, in the day-to-day. A flip of the hand that releases a nob and that opens the door, for me, is a symphony of movements, and moments that can spiral into a canyon’ed-research of highlighting the humdrum into a lab of controlled chaos – the mundane becomes magnificent.

I approach art making as a rehearsal of how one is a citizen to the world. Making choices, walking to work, carrying groceries, turning knobs and putting on socks. So, I work through contradictions to synthesizing unlikely contexts with un-danceable dances into a singular experience - a way of illuminating the threads of life that I have lived through my body to share with yours.

For Mario Obeid, dance is a reclamation and renewal of our relationship with our animal bodies as we move through the ache of living and the desire for authentic connection. How we relate through our intimacy, including how we express our embodied desires, dreams and truths through personal, communal, societal and systemic scales - all of these are dances that echo our primal footfalls on earth.

Mario’s recent work explores these themes within the context of his partnership and collaboration with Zaria Rajha, and their experiences navigating the relational disruption, alienation and oppression of global refugee and immigration systems. Mario is grateful to call Treaty 7 home and is excited to explore a new sense of connection to and belonging through the land and the wisdom of its original caretakers.