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Photo by Bloc Collective

Premiered in Refugee Week Malta 2022

Żal is the melancholy felt at irretrievable loss; shapeshifting at one moment, complacent, the next rebellious. It combines the sadness, remorse and even the volatile rage that comes when parts of our lives change for good. As Maltese, we feel Żal for the amount of lives lost at sea, for the way local and European governments treat people seeking safety, and for the unforgivable borders created to disrupt the natural flow of connection intrinsic to humanity. Żal encapsulates the embodiment of our outcry for the injustices experienced by those simply searching for a better life.



Dancers: Julienne Schembri & Deborah Falzon 

Speaker/Singer: Mariele Zammit 

Percussionist: Benji Cachia 

Text:  Antoine Cassar

Dramaturgy: Sandra Mifsud

Set Design: Bloc Col

Videography: Emma Micallef


This work has been intimately performed by the sea under the evening sky in the Maltese Capital, Valletta and premiered during Refugee Week Malta; a festival held in June 2022 in Malta to celebrate the resilience, creativity and contributions of Refugees. This event was part of an evening of Spoken Word, Poetry and Dance.

Choreographic Commission for ŻfinMalta

HER presents the fragments of one remarkable woman’s experience of migration. Through the power of the dance, Schembri and Falzon seek to give an insight into this woman’s resilience,  strength, and bravery, echoing that of others living in our migrant communities. Enriched by the artistic contribution of its collaborators, HER is a sensorial and provocative experience.


HER is a continuation of ‘Dance Beyond Borders’, supported by the Research Support Grant, Arts Council Malta.


Music: Original score by Niels Plotard, featuring Nina Simone, Human Touch


ŻFINMADE is a new initiative of ŻfinMalta, which invites seven emerging choreographers based  in Malta to create six new solos with one of the company dancers. The project is an extension of ŻfinMalta’s Artist in Residence programme, engaging past and present residents, and is one of  the company’s annual signature programmes, presented as a co-production with Spazju Kreattiv, in collaboration with Valletta Cultural Agency.

HER Andrea Malbert.jpg

Photo by Neil Grech


Photo by Lomax Creed

AiR 2020

ŻfinMalta Residency

"Home is like a mother; 

you never want to leave,

 but sometimes you have to"


Presenting the story of a remarkable woman who has experienced forced migration from Africa, across the Mediterranean to Europe. 

Taking a Tanztheater approach to support our integrative practices of Flamenco and the Laban Bartenieff Movement System, we shared our authentic and heartfelt movement and rhythmic responses to HER lived experience. 

Deeply moved by this woman’s resilience, strength and bravery, they present a sensorial and provoking performance experience in the  hopes of  stimulating thought, understanding, empathy and ultimately a stronger connection towards the migrant community.

Dance Beyond Borders

Research Support Grant, Arts Council Malta

An investigation of an integrative dance practice to develop authentic  interdisciplinary responses to migrants' lived experiences. 

Our research question was: How do two artists with distinct  movement and dance practices come together to authentically represent migrants’ life stories  expressed through movement, dance, body percussion, poetry, and sound score responses?  

Our intention for this research was to bridge our practices of Laban Bartenieff Movement System (LBMS) and Flamenco Dance to bring out the power of dance to raise awareness, shed  light and break taboo around migration; ultimately in the hopes of reducing discrimination against people seeking sanctuary. 

This research was an interdisciplinary collaboration with 1) UK-based Tanztheater choreographer Adrian Look; (2) Creative practitioner in  contemporary dance Florinda Camilleri; (3) writer Elise Billiard; and (4) sonic researcher Niels Plotard.


Photo by Lomax Creed

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