Dance, Liberation and Hip Hop: The School of Life with Diana Wehbi

“Dance became the way I connected with other people when I travel. It would open doors to peoples homes and cultures and teach me about respect, diversity and community building.”

adidas originals x girls are awesome

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Diana! Tell us how you got from where you were to where you are?

My parents are academics and refugees from Romania (mum) and Lebanon (dad), who came to Denmark when I was 2 years old, escaping the civil war in Lebanon in the mid ’80s. The Danish government didn’t accept their education, and I grew up seeing my parents studying and working really hard. From living in a refugee camp to growing up among many nationalities in Ishøj (a Copenhagen suburb, ed.) and having parents from such diverse cultures, I found it hard to figure out who I truly was.

I noticed from an early age that I found happiness and a sense of belonging through music and movement. An easier way to connect to so many parts of me, a space of just being and not having to fit into what others expected of me to be. Hip Hop culture became my school to life. Experiencing my parent’s determination, courage and how they helped others is what eventually inspired me to take my dancing seriously and to use that as my tool in participating in community building. Through street dance, I travelled the world, danced on and off stages, met so many strangers that became friends who continuously surprise me to embrace life in so many beautiful ways. Today I work with young people, who themselves are trying to figure out who they are and what blueprint they will leave in this world.

adidas originals x girls are awesome
adidas originals x girls are awesome

How does dance help you to express yourself? 

It liberates me. Sometimes I connect much easier through dancing with others, than through our words. Dance embraces and challenges all of me. I can come home and drop everything and dance around just to feel at peace or I can be dancing with someone in a cypher that I didn’t know feeling connected to some other spiritual world. It has no limitations to what feelings and emotions it comes from or where it ends.

adidas originals x girls are awesome

Would you say that as an art form, dance is like a universal language?

With a background from so many countries, I found it challenging travelling around and speaking the language from each country with my cousins, aunties and uncles, so dance would often be what I ended up doing. Through my twenties, dance basically became the way I connected with other people when I would travel. It would open doors to peoples homes and cultures and teach me about respect, diversity and community building.

What does empowerment really mean?

Authentically being who we are and to be responsible to act for changes.

What’s on your radar for 2021?

Focusing on the young students I have on a day to day basis, where we use street dance as our common language, and the focus is to create experiences which they can empower themselves so they can go out and kick some ass in society.

adidas originals x girls are awesome

For CLASHcph we are so ready for things to open up. We have our monthly hip hop sessions where we dance and talk about community building. This year we’re expanding our team so others can learn what we have learned in the 7 years we have existed as well as us to learn from others too. By the end of the year, we will go for our Beats & Bounce DK tour, where we visit cities outsides of Copenhagen and want to build a network that supports each other in the small communities across the nation.

Diana wears the adidas Originals x Girls Are Awesome collection.
Photography: Sarah Buthmann
Dancer: Diana Wehbi
Video: Nikolaj Rohde
Styling: Fatimah Gabriella
Lighting: Mark Stig


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