Khansa is a Lebanese performing artist. Accompanying many arts that include a lot of music, singing and directing, he is mainly known for belly dancing. His first inspirations started as early as in his childhood when he would perform in dresses or in front of his friends and family. His influence came mainly from female icons from Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, including Umm Kulthum.
The gender-bending dancer challenging traditional masculinity in the Middle East started getting more visibility after his TED Talk in 2014 at the Lebanese American University (LAU), where he started belly dancing after asking the public to talk about what they associate to this type of performance.
In 2017, his music video “Khayef” (translates as "scared" in Arabic) brought him more press and social media coverage. In it, he fuses singing and dancing to tackle issues of masculinity in the Middle East. In 2019, he worked on the music video “Khaberni Keef” talking about machismo both in the heterosexual and the gay communities.
One of his most recent works is the short movie Warsha, directed by Dania Bdeir in 2022 and produced in France and Lebanon. It won four awards and five nominations. It also went beyond Lebanon as it was screened in countries such as France and Canada.
In this short film, Khansa plays the role of a Syrian migrant obligated to work as a crane operator in one of the most difficult and dangerous sites in Beirut in order to make a living. Once he is on top, he finally dares to freely perform his secret passion by dancing. We see the reflection of his sensual curving body in movement on the glass with landscapes of Beirut around him. He is flying high, secretly sharing this intimate moment with the city of Beriut who’s now dancing with him.
This film not only covers the topics involving the perception of masculinity imposed on men in the Middle East the way Khansa witnessed it—which is what he usually explores in his works—, but it also addresses the severe socio-economic situation in Lebanon that has been getting worse on a day-to-day basis for years, and even more intensely since the 2019 revolution. This is how Warsha addresses two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, No Poverty as well as Reduced Inequalities.