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WATCH: Melancholic Short Dance Film Reinterprets 12th Century Gozitan Relic

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A Gozitan team of a choreographer, a fashion designer, a cinematographer and a text writer have teamed up for a ‘reinterpretation’ of a centuries-old relic on Malta’s sister island.

The Majmuna Stone is a 12th century Islamic tombstone found in Gozo that has captured the imagination of thousands over the years. Described by historian Giovanni Bonello as “the only spectacular visual relic of the Islamic presence in Malta,” the marble slab is the tombstone of a girl called Majmuna, who died in 21st March 1174 under unknown circumstances

In the short and sombre dance film named after the popular tombstone, Malta’s Naupaca Dance Factory collaborated with dancers from Eko Dance International Project, who’s headed by one of the world’s most respected faces in the dance world, Pompea Santoro. The film saw the academy’s own Deborah Agius taking care of choreography and Philip Sultana directing the cinematography. 

Indeed, the text for the film, written and voiced by Maria Theuma, was directly inspired by the tombstone. Majmuna is based on a translation of the Kufic Arab script found on the enigmatic slab.

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Deborah Aguis, who choreographed the short dance film.  Photo by Kurt Paris

“As the choreographer, the movement I created transmits the inevitability of death,” Agius told Lovin Malta. “It exposes the body clinging to life, when in truth, there is no escape.”

“We flew Pompea’s dancers as a collaboration,” fashion designer Luke Azzopardi, who directed the film, told Lovin Malta. “Naupaca is an all-female dance academy and the film features Pompea’s boy dancers, so it was a very interesting combination to work with as a concept.”

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