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‘Dancing in Silence’ highlights the importance of small gestures

Dance has an undeniable therapeutic aspect in overcoming psychic problems. The fact that it is a physical exercise certainly contributes to this, but perhaps the most decisive element of this healing potential lies in self-expression; it is as if the dancing body were telling the world, through steps and gestures, some message that it is not capable of transforming into words.

The feature film “Dancing in Silence”, by French-Algerian filmmaker Mounia Meddour, is exactly about that. We follow the trajectory of Houria, a young woman who works as a cleaner in order to save money to financially help her mother, with whom she lives, in Algeria. Her dream, however, is to become a professional ballerina, and she trains hard to achieve her goal.

But the young woman gets into trouble when she tries to raise money faster than making beds and dusting furniture: she decides to bet on sheep fights. She even has a good feeling for the thing: she usually chooses the best animals.

But one day, after winning a jackpot, Houria is chased by another gambler, who thinks the result of the sheep dispute is unfair and wants the money she took. The girl is attacked and suffers serious injuries, becoming mute and unable to dance again.

What lies ahead is basically what even a spectator without great imagination would be able to intuit: Houria is going to physiotherapy — at first she wants to drop everything, maybe even give up on living.

But she knows a group of other patients willing to help her face this new stage – each with their trauma and their demons, but all understanding that, united, they are stronger and capable of overcoming barriers. Especially when Houria introduces them to the world of dance.

Read more in Folha de S.Paulo

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