Leila Mire is a Lebanese-American choreographer, performer, writer, and educator in New York City. Mire focuses on using dance to explore identity with a particular emphasis on diasporic peoples with interrupted histories and making space for accessible dance programs. She is an educator with several organizations including Artists Striving to End Poverty and DanceWave and is a freelance soloist as well as performer in companies like Chikyu to the Moon and NY Light Latin Cabaret. She also writes for ThinkingDance and has been published for her work on “Orientalism and the Perpetuation of Racist Stereotypes in the Nutcracker.” She is a recent recipient of the Young Alumni Commissioning Grant, the Digital Content Platform Fund, the
Excellence in Dance Writing Award from George Mason University, and a co-founder of the ASTEP Mutual Aid Network.
How do Traditional Arts and Medicine combine?
Health and dance perfectly embody the inseparable relationship between mental and physical health. Through accessibility and self spaces, dance and medicine share the common objective of healing and promoting joy and well-being. Before we could speak, we danced. Today we continue to express ourselves through movement. As dance is a commonality that all humanity shares, it is only fitting that medicine and the arts work in collaboration with one another as a vehicle to heal, celebrate, and process the natural progressions of life.
Exploring Body Dysmorphic Disorder, its Cultural Stigma, and Treatment Inequity Through Dance
As a Lebanese-American I am interested in using and incorporating Middle Eastern dance into pieces that resonate with diverse audiences. While growing up with Body Dysmorphic Disorder I became interested in studying stigmatism and treatment across the world. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is common across borders and points toward a universal problem facing people (largely women.) In areas like the Middle East, it often goes undiagnosed and unresearched. Social expectations and cultural norms play a large role as do gender and social healthcare inequities. This being said, my piece would draw awareness toward this overlooked problem and reflect the healthcare discrepancies that exist.
Devour is a dance film exploring anorexia and general body dysmorphia. My research revolved around the often overlooked problem of anorexia among minorities. A Lebanese-American myself, I honed in on the ways in which Western media wrongfully portrays the disease as a white-upper class issue when in fact it impacts marginalized people at higher rates (both in the country of origin and abroad) to cater to Anglophilic standards. The film uses stark juxtapositions to explore medical disparities in treating and socially addressing eating disorders. The video editing coupled with raq sharqi dance negotiates polarities between visibility and invisibility, seeing and being seen, and emptiness and fullness.
Premiered at Stay Home Film Festival, 2021