Rita is an incredibly passionate, emotive and vulnerable performer. Her live performance is even more thrilling than any media can capture, and I look forward to any opportunity to dance with and learn from her, both as an artist and a woman."
Fusion Bellydancer, Performance Artist, & Theatremaker
Rita Jabri Markwell is a dancer of Lebanese, Australian and French heritage who taught dance for over twelve years. Five of these years were spent with the Canberra Dance Theatre where she was deeply influenced by the raw expression and story telling of contemporary dance and contact improvisation. Rita crafted her own genre called Modern Gypsy, which fused contemporary ideas with the passion of Rom (Gypsy) dance traditions from Russia and Spain.
From the age of 7 years old, Rita has studied in 5 cities in Australia, as well as Toronto and California. Dancing for her is a way of digesting her experience of the world (including its painful injustices) into things of beauty without judgment or reservation. Rita conveys that when she dances she feels a deep sense of peace and freedom, which overtime has developed into a powerful stage presence. Rita has embarked on an unprecedented amount of collaborations with artists from different disciplines.
Rita has performed at numerous festivals like the National Folk Festival 2006-2011, 2014, 2015, Canberra Multicultural Festival 2006-2010 and Tribal and Trance Festival 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016. At the 2015 Woodford Folk Festival, she performed onstage with Uska Kan Orkestar, a 9 piece Romani Brass Band from Macedonia.
In recent years, Rita has shifted towards her passion for contemporary dance. She participated in the Brisbane Contemporary Dance Intensive with Expressions Dance Company in 2015 and 2016, honing her skills in contemporary repertoire and improvisation. She offers popular workshops in dancer improvisation and contact improvisation for people of all ages and abilities.