Soul Street Dance, a Houston, US-based group of hip-hop and break dancers, enthralled the audience with their performance at Katara Opera House Saturday.
The event came as part of the Qatar-USA Festival, which is being held under the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture initiative.
The audience, made up of people from different backgrounds and nationalities, was seen enjoying the highly engaging performance of the four performers who had come all the way to Qatar from Houston, Texas to show their skills and highlight a key aspect of American culture.
One of the many interesting moments of the performance.
The Soul Street Dance members with Faisal al-Dosari on stage
The performers in action
They also expressed their love and admiration for Qatar, which they are visiting for the first time, referring to the diversity seen in the country and its welcoming nature.
They also stressed that what they have seen in Qatar so far during their short stay has convinced them that the country is capable of handling major events such as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Samantha Jackson addressing the audience
Group member Javier Garcia said he has enjoyed the great hospitality of the people of the country, describing everybody he has met as nice and welcoming.
"The amount of development and growth in the country is clearly great everywhere you go,” he said. “We have highly enjoyed the food and the unique tradition and culture of the country.”
A section of the audience
“The spirit of hip-hop and break dance is that of love and unity among people regardless of their differences,” Garcia added. “We loved the Qatari culture and hope to have more performances here in the future, as the reception of the audience is encouraging.”
Fellow Soul Street Dance member Cedric Hicks stressed that their experience in Doha has been unique and exciting, and said that they hope for possible collaborations with Qatari artistes to enhance their music and shows.
"The local music and rhythms can be easily incorporated within the rhythms we use, and we can make exciting new blends that would be a further addition to the performances and the art," he said.
Group member Ichikara Valdez said: "We come from Houston and are used to having different people from various cultures and backgrounds, so we already have open minds about other cultures and ready to embrace different world cultures.”
“Qatari culture is rich and diversified, and the place hosts multinational traditions that live together in harmony and peace," he said, stressing that Katara – the Cultural Village is one of the most interesting places he has seen, with its impressive buildings and facilities.
Marco Hernandez said he liked the fashion sense in the country, in particular the quality of exquisite pearls and jewellery designs.
He also expressed his liking for the traditional Qatari dress, and stressed that the local culture would help his team draw inspiration for their future performances by further embracing new cultures.
The group’s performance blending classical music – a piece by Antonio Vivaldi – with hip-hop and break dance, in addition to their natural sense of fun, entertained and kept the audience enthusiastic all through the show.
At one point during the show, Qatari IT programmer Faisal al-Dosari, a longtime fan and enthusiast of hip-hop, joined the group on stage and gave an energetic and entertaining performance himself.
He said that when he came to know about the Soul Street Dance show, he was happy, excited, and keen to attend.
Al-Dosari, who was invited to join the group on the stage, said this type of dance is healthy and entertaining, and added that he used to have his own group with some young Qatari men years ago, but they disbanded due to various reasons, and the members got engaged in other things.
He hoped that he would be able to revive the activity again in the country, and promote it among young people.
Samantha Jackson, public diplomacy officer at the US embassy in Doha, stressed that Qatar and the US enjoy good and strong relations, adding that such cross-cultural artistic exchanges, held as part of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, play an important role in enhancing such ties.
The Qatar-USA Festival features various aspects of culture, including music, art, culinary, dance, and film.
Jackson thanked the partners of the festival, including Katara, Qatar Museums and others.
She stressed that such artistic collaborations enable communities to build bridges of mutual understanding and bring people together, which is important for the mission of the US embassy in Doha and the US State Department.
Jackson added that holding such shows and performances help dispel misconceptions and allow people to appreciate different aspects of other cultures, while promoting love and peace among people.
Both the performers and audience expressed their appreciation for having the opportunity to enjoy such an evening marked by entertainment and cultural exchange.