"Just as Sharon’s creative practice arches across many disciplines, and welcomes many individuals and audiences as collaborators, so does her own creative path in contemporary dance extend across urban and rural communities. Thus, while, Sharon has lived in Washington DC in the aftermath of 9/11, and created work that meditates on the erasures, violence, and misunderstandings directed toward Arab individuals, her recent work has brought those opportunities for experience and exchange to the rural upper Midwest – and has opened up a space for folks beyond the city to sit more deeply, more intimately, with racial and cultural difference. In a moment when the COVID-19 pandemic has created headlines about urban outmigration to rural areas, Sharon’s work underscores the immense potentials for sustained intercultural exchange on the local level. Just as her work supports a meditative space to sit with expanded understandings of Arab identity and diaspora, it also presents an exciting opportunity to think again about what we mean when we say 'rural' or 'rural art,' and how the ever-shifting movements of people and culture can enrich our understanding of how we are in relationship with others."
- Matthew Fluharty, High Visibility podcast, 2021
Local dancer Sharon Mansur has been working hard to open Winona up to a different perspective.
The perspective of being Arab American. And she hasn’t been doing it through talk-at-you lectures or one-sided conversations. She’s been doing it through movement, dance, and exposing Winona to other Arab Americans artists who can bring their own insight to the table in an artistic way.
- Tesla Mitchell, Their Identity, Their Art, Winona Daily News, 2019
"As they entered a Winona theater last week for the dance performance 'Za’atar,' audience members received an aromatic little gift: satchels of the show’s namesake spice mix — Lebanese za’atar, Syrian za’atar, Palestinian za’atar — each one with a unique riff on a shared tradition. The riffs continued as three dancers — Leila Awadallah, Leyya Mona Tawil, and Winona’s own Sharon Mansur — presented a collection of solo performances and a trio piece. Mansur wanted to explore Arab American experiences and start conversations about them. 'What happens if you bring three Arab American women into the same frame?' Tawil asked. 'The differences we can present are more important than the similarities in some ways,' she said.'"
- Chris Rogers, Behind the Wall: Dancers Collaborate, Winona Post, 2019
"Last Friday night, I attended a performance that reminded me of how much we need the arts to help us through painful, knotty situations, both personal and global…For many in attendance, this was their first experience of modern dance. What a powerful example of how artistic performance can provide us with experiences that allow us to understand what is going on in the world around us — beyond news headlines!"
- Colette Hyman, Community Columnist, The Power of Art, Winona Daily News, 2019
"History professor Colette Hyman is looking forward to seeing Sharon Mansur's 'Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree.' The event combines dance, visual art, food and dialogue inspired by Mansur's first trip to her ancestral home of Lebanon. Hyman, who has seen previous iterations of the work, is inspired by how it immerses the senses while also building cultural understanding."
- Art Hounds, Minnesota Public Radio, 2019
"'The community has been really supportive of the [Cedar Tree] project, which provides nuanced conversation about Arab Americans,” Mansur explained, adding that her specific view might not be the same for all. “Lebanon is my direct connection. My specific connection, and my family. That’s accessible to people. But I’m excited to bring in other conversations and experiences.'"
- Nathaniel Nelson, Photographing Rural Lebanon, USA, Winona Post, 2018
“We’re living in a time where there are challenging and complicated questions, misconceptions and sociopolitical concerns regarding not only the Middle East, Arab Americans, Muslims and Muslim Americans, but also immigrants in general. As an Arab American artist, I’m grateful for the opportunity to add to the conversation by sharing aspects of my Lebanese heritage, my paternal grandparents’ immigrant history, and my personal experiences.”
- Sharon Mansur, River Arts Alliance column, Winona Daily News, Fall 2018
"They’re looking to provide culturally specific performances that don’t just come to town, make an impact and leave. They want something a little more long term to help that impact build over time. That’s why they’ve signed on with local dancer Sharon Mansur, photographer Fadi BouKaram, and artists Leila Awadallah and Leyya Tawil to create the Cedar [Tree] Project to explore identity through the lens of Arab and Arab American artists."
- Tesla Mitchell, Something For Everyone: Page Theatre..., Winona Daily News, Fall 2018
"One day, photographer Fadi BouKaram was Googling the word Lebanon, hoping to browse the web for information about the country he grew up in. Instead, he found Lebanon, Oregon. It was one of 47 towns named Lebanon in the United States. It occurred to him to visit them all, taking photographs of residents and documenting the towns' histories."
- Riham Feshir, Lebanese Photographer Made Lebanon, USA His Mission, MPR News, Fall 2018
Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree, 2017
“Sharon has given the community here a gift. It is precious. A glimpse of herself and how her cultural experience has been part of her. How sense of place and people, heart and physical being, filled with spirit and wonder —how this makes us who we are. Our dreams and stories are who we are. The food and multi-media were a perfect way to engage us all on many levels.”
“….Dreaming under a Cedar Tree is absolutely beautiful. I loved every bit of it and am still feeling the impacts…”
“Being there made me want to create more, live more, listen more.”
“….moving and transformative.”
“Dialogues addressing the issues of identity as related to immigration are of great importance right now, especially in situations that promote a sense of community and shared value.”