The Dancers of El Rozana

Dancers of El Rozana
The dancers often perform in community venues around Melbourne. Here they have just danced at the Spanish Club in North Fitzroy in March 2006.
Source: Museum Victoria Palestinian Community Photographic Collection

Twelve young Australian-born Palestinians make up the dance group El Rozana, established in Melbourne in 2003. Rozana is the Arabic term for the decorated window found over the main entry in a traditional home, which allows light to enter.

Teema, 12: I knew about the troupe because my dad is the instructor. When we started, some of the children were getting a five dollar bribe from their parents to take part. Then everyone started to enjoy it and told their parents they didn’t want the money.

Kafa, 16: We practise every Monday night – sometimes you think you’re too tired but you get into it. When we started doing dance in PE at school, I found it easier to keep track of the steps because of El Rozana.

Mona, 16: The songs we dance to are songs my mum used to sing in the kitchen. Sometimes we dance in jeans but when we danced at the multicultural festival in Canberra we had the traditional dress, the black-and-red thoub. Even at big events, when you step out for a solo you can hear your parents going crazy.

Hana, 17: What I enjoyed most was the dressing up and the friendship.

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