‘Spirit of the Dance’ stars dazzle audiences in Riyadh with Irish, Falmenco fused rhythms

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Record-breaking show heralds an entertainment bonanza as General Entertainment Authority (GEA) lists more than 5,000 events. (AN Photo)
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Record-breaking show heralds an entertainment bonanza as General Entertainment Authority (GEA) lists more than 5,000 events. (AN Photo)
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Record-breaking show heralds an entertainment bonanza as General Entertainment Authority (GEA) lists more than 5,000 events. (AN Photo)
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Record-breaking show heralds an entertainment bonanza as General Entertainment Authority (GEA) lists more than 5,000 events. (AN Photo)
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Record-breaking show heralds an entertainment bonanza as General Entertainment Authority (GEA) lists more than 5,000 events. (AN Photo)
Updated 10 March 2018
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‘Spirit of the Dance’ stars dazzle audiences in Riyadh with Irish, Falmenco fused rhythms

RIYADH: Music-lovers took a dazzling journey from past to present at the King Fahd Cultural Center as “Spirit of the Dance” fused traditional Irish song and dance with fiery flamenco and sultry tango rhythms.
The award-winning dance performance — now in its 20th year — has been seen by more than 30 million people around the world and has broken box office records in more than 20 countries.
“Spirit of the Dance” is being staged in the Kingdom for the first time by the Knight Group together with the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), which last month announced an entertainment bonanza, with more than 5,000 events scheduled this year.
Knight Group founder and CEO Fouad Halabi told Arab News: “The GEA has been very helpful showcasing this world-famous show. For us, as an organizer and producer, it was not feasible at the beginning to bring such a great show here, but the GEA was instrumental in understanding how the show should be organized to respect both the local and Irish culture.
“Now we are very excited about this breathtaking show. We hope after seeing the performances, people will learn about the Irish culture,
about this art.”
The GEA was established in line with the goals of Vision 2030 to diversify the entertainment sector and broaden the range of entertainment options. Opera and jazz have been featured recently.
“Spirit of the Dance” will travel to Jeddah for performances on March 15-16 at the King Abdullah Economic City.
The Irish ambassador in Riyadh, Tony Cotter, one of several diplomats at Thursday’s show, said: “I am happy to see the amount of social change taking place in Saudi Arabia — it is fantastic to see famous Irish dance being performed on stage in the Kingdom.”
Commenting on the Kingdom’s growing entertainment sector, Cotter said: “There is a huge development in this area. The GEA is doing a superb job bringing different forms of entertainment to the Kingdom — we have seen opera, jazz concert, now this ‘Spirit of the Dance’ show. I can see a bright future for the entertainment sector here.”
The “Spirit of the Dance” stars mesmerized their audience, delivering the powerful rhythms of Irish dance combined with the passionate Latino rhythms of tango, flamenco, and red-hot salsa.
Jameela Balahmar, a marketing specialist with Mobily, told Arab News: ” I am a big fan of the Irish dance, and was really excited to watch this event. Now, seeing it live, is truly an amazing experience for me and my generation, especially for women in Saudi Arabia.”
The show coincided with International Women’s Day.
“Earlier, we were having to watch it on YouTube and television or travel to experience it. Thanks to the GEA and the Knight Group for bringing it here — making a dream come true to watch it live in my hometown.”
Abdullah Ramadhan, a project manager with the IT giant Dell, said: “This show is absolutely amazing. Everybody applauds the efforts of the GEA. For a long time, we were not exposed to different cultures and lifestyles in the world, so it makes a lot of sense now as the world moves closer to be more and more connected. It is good that our authorities are now inviting famous groups from various parts of the world so we can experience their culture and learn about their society.
“Assimilation of cultures from different parts of the world with our local heritage is important. If you are exposed to different cultures, it is a good learning experience,” he said.


Saudi Arabia FM: Khashoggi murder investigations will continue until all questions are answered

Updated 13 min 52 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia FM: Khashoggi murder investigations will continue until all questions are answered

  • Saudi Arabia is committed to holding those involved in the murder accountable through the judiciary
  • Al-Jubeir insisted that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s death

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is still seeking answers to a number of questions in the investigation into Jamal Khashoggi's death, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Thursday.

The Kingdom is committed to holding those involved in the murder accountable through the judiciary, and investigations into journalist’s killing will continue until all questions are answered, Al-Jubeir said.

Al-Jubeir added that the defendants and the victim in the Khashoggi case are Saudis and that the incident took place on Saudi land. He continued by saying that there has been an attempt to politicize Khashoggi’s case, and that this is regrettable.

Al-Jubeir insisted that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s death.

“The Qatari media have launched an organized campaign against Saudi Arabia and are exploiting Khashoggi’s case,” Al-Jubeir added.

He said there is a difference between imposing penalties on those accused and holding Saudi Arabia responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

READ MORE: 

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor seeks death penalty for 5 Khashoggi suspects

France denies receiving Khashoggi tapes from Turkey and accuses Erdogan of playing games

Saudi envoy: Khashoggi murder ‘a tragedy,’ but justice will be done

Bahrain said Thursday that it rejects the politicization or internationalization of the Khashoggi case. 

The Secretariat General of the Arab League praised the seriousness of the steps taken by Saudi Arabia in the Khashoggi case, and said that the measures show the Kingdom's interest in identifying those involved in the crime. 

Hours after the public prosecurtor's statment, the US placed punishing economic sanctions on 17 Saudis allegedly involved in Khashoggi's murder.

"The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions."

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said the details of the investigation released Thursday “confirm the Kingdom’s commitment to complete the necessary procedures in order to continue the investigation away from the politicization sought by some malicious parties.”  

Meanwhile, France's foreign ministry said Thursday that the investigation by Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is a “step in the right direction.”

Egypt also praised Saudi measures taken with regards to the Khashoggi case and called on countries to avoid politicizing it.