Rwan, who was born in Rawanduz, is a sixth grader in primary school.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A Kurdish teenager from Erbil has been drawing public attention through her dancing in public. She has attracted the attention of thousands of people on social networking websites. Rwan’s father is OK with what she does and even supports her.
Rwan goes out of her way dancing on streets, buildings and other public places. She hopes what she does changes the mindset and perspective of the society, who would object to such things.
Her father is a Peshmerga veteran. Although the world they live is very different, he supports the liberties his daughter relishes.
“In the past, we defended Kurdistan through guns. Now is the time for my daughter to serve Kurdistan by means of art. I will continue to support and assist her,” Jawad, her father said.
Rwan at first was shy, sees life differently. She wants to confront the cultural aspects she considers to be at fault. To this end, she has turned to dancing on the streets.
“Through dancing on Erbil streets, I want to tell people that women have potential and are talented, too. That is why I always dance on streets so that I become an example for women who have talents, wishes and hobbies, but are afraid to appear in public,” Rwan said.
The striking feature that distinguishes Rwan from other dancers is that she has chosen to dance on streets, buildings and other public landmarks.
“I think women can convey their message to the society easier on the street,” she added.
“I have a message which I want to communicate through you to parents who prevent their daughters from practicing their hobbies and wishes: now is the time to support and assist your children.
“What politicians haven’t been able to achieve might be done by new generations through art, easily conveying the Kurdish nation’s message to the entire world.”
Bawash, her elder brother has been supporting her, too. He goes out with her, dancing together on the sidelines of the main highways. They even circulate video footage of their dancing on social networking websites.
“Rwan is not only talented in dancing. Rather, she is a leading musician in her school, too. I take pride in assisting Rwan to realize her dreams. I know that she has very big dreams. Our family members all try to turn Rwan’s dreams into realities. Her talent or potential is more than what we now see in her,” Bawash said.
Rwan sees her public dancing as a way to inspire others with talents. Photo: Rwan
Rwan’s first emergence in social media had caused problems for her parents. People had reproached her father. But he had continued supporting his daughter regardless.
“In the beginning, Rwan was criticized a lot on the basis that what she was doing was incompatible with the culture,” Jawad said.
“But I didn’t listen to them. The Kurdish society should broaden their vision. Unfortunately, part of the Kurdish society still views life in an old-fashioned way. These days are gone where people would prevent their children from realizing their wishes and hobbies.”
Rwan is impressed by Shakira’s music and dance. But she doesn’t want to copy her.
“I first started dancing, listening to Shakira’s music and emulating her dance. But I never wanted to copy her. I always want what I do to be different from what others do,” Rwan said.
“There were no dance teachers in Kurdistan to help me. That is why television has been my teacher. My teachers in school encourage me a lot. I grateful to them.”
Rwan has participated in many programs arranged in the Kurdistan Region for talented people, and she has been successful in all.
“One day, Rwan came up to me and told me that she wanted to take part in a program known as ‘You are different’. And I told her to participate in the program if you are interested in it and have confidence in yourself,” her father added.
“She finally participated in the program and was successful. Nowadays, Rwan participates in any school activities on music, singing or dancing.”
Rwan performs a number of dances which people in Kurdistan are not that familiar with.
“I know a number of dances, like hip hop, tango, sweet dance and popping. I know most of the other dance, too. But I haven’t practiced them well. I want to learn all the world’s dance types well,” she said.
Rwan was born in Rawanduz. They have been living in Ainkawa for a while. She is a sixth grader in the primary school. Her father commends her, saying she is one of the smartest students in school.
Rwan has danced across Kurdistan with the support of her older brother Bawash. Photo: Rwan