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Against a Hard Surface

Samar Haddad King & Amir Nizar Zuabi (Palestine)

Against a Hard Surface – A poetic, political dance theatre piece created by theatre director Amir Nizar Zuabi and choreographer Samar Haddad King with an original score by Muqata’a. What happens to a group of people isolated from the rest of the world by a wall? How do they understand this confined space and how does restriction affect emotional and physical behavior?  Against a Hard Surface, an evening-length dance theatre piece , is a portrayal of human resistance and resilience in a dystopian landscape.

Samar Haddad King, Artistic/Founding Director of Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre and co-director of min tala, a pan-Arab dance company, graduated cum laude with honors in choreography from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in New York City under the tutelage of Kazuko Hirabayashi. Her work has been commissioned in the US by the Ailey School, Configuration Dance, Hubbard Street 2-where she was the recipient of the National Choreography Competition-among others, and has been performed at various venues such as NYC’s Joyce SoHo, HarlemStage, Citigroup Theatre, Chicago’s Harris Theater, Jacob’s Pillow and many notable international festivals. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Prix des Jeunes Créateurs Palestiniens pour la Diversité des Expressions Artistiques. She recently completed research with curator, dramaturge, researcher and writer, Sandra Noethe with support from the Goethe Institute (Palestine) on the developing contemporary dance scene in Palestine and creation of a more sustainable environment for young artists.

Amir Nizar Zuabi is an award winning Theater writer & Director and Artistic Director of ShiberHur theater company, an associated director of Young Vic London, and a member of the United Theaters Europe for artistic achievement. Writing and directing credits include I am Yusuf and This is my Brother, In the Penal Colony, Alive From Palestine, Oh My Sweet Land The Beloved,(co-produced by ShiberHur/Young Vic) Three days of grief, West of us the sea, Mid Spring Musical, Dry Mud (ShiberHur), and Against A Hard Surface. Directing credits includes: Samson and Delilah (Flanders Opera, Antwerp) Jidarriya by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (Edinburgh International Festival, Bouffes du Nord and world tour). Forget Herostratus, le Mallade Imaginer, War or More, Sneeze, deep Sorrow, Fall Tale, When The World Was Green, Lanterns Of The King Of Galilee, Taha. Comedy of Errors (Royal Shakespeare Company). Currently Zuabi is writing a play for the National Theatre London.

Against a Hard Surface is a production of Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre and supported by the A.M Qattan Foundation/ The Qattan Grant for Performing Arts 2016 and Covillo Lynch Foundation, and co-produced by Sareyyet Ramallah in partnership with the Palestinian Museum.

previous performances

  •  2017 Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, Ramallah Cultural Palace, Palestine
  • 2017, Theater der Welt Festival, Hamburg, Germany

Darwin’s theory of evolution explains how organisms adapt to the challenges of a specific habitat. In isolated environments this process is accelerated, as organisms develop skills key for survival. The separation wall cutting off Palestinians from the rest of the world has created such an isolated habitat. In this evening length piece, natural evolution of millions of years is fast-forwarded in a high-pressure ecosystem due to unremitting political strain and violence. Against a Hard Surface investigates the mechanisms for survival within a testing ground of human resilience.


  • Photo: Reham Abdelrahman
    Photo: Reham Abdelrahman
  • Photo: Alaa Khanger
    Photo: Alaa Khanger
  • Photo: Samaa Wakeem
    Photo: Samaa Wakeem
  • Photo :Samar Haddad King
    Photo :Samar Haddad King
  • Photo: Reham Abdelrahman
    Photo: Reham Abdelrahman

Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre (YSDT), Led by Artistic Director Samar Haddad King, was founded in New York City in 2005. Over the past decade, the non-profit has produced more than 30 original works with seven successful seasons in NYC and international tours, the company expanded its footprint to the Arab World and now operates between the U.S. and Palestine. From its international position, YSDT continues its mission with a special focus on youth and underserved communities through live performance, classes, workshops, lectures, and public presentations.

[ye() smär] Yaa: to call or attract and Samar: evening conversation, sleepless night, night of entertainment.

  • Co-creators | Samar Haddad King & Amir Nizar Zuabi
  • Composer | Muqata’a
  • Lightning designer | Muath alJubeh
  • Rehearsal Director | Zoe Rabinowitz
  • Set Construction | Nader Khoury  
  • Cast | Adeeb Safady, Ayman Safieh, Mohammed Smahneh, Yukari Osaka, Zoe Rabinowitz, Samaa Wakim, Fadi Zmorrod, Fidaa Zidan, & Hamzah Damra