The Caracalla Dance Theater made a triumphal return to the Chouf, raising the curtain on the Beiteddine Art Festival with “Once Upon a Time. Beirut’s Caracalla Dance Theatre, survival in the Arab world depends on a careful balance of imagination and financial pragmatism. Love and money perform a delicate duet.

Caracalla, known as the Middle East’s largest contemporary dance troupe, began as a living-room experiment, grew into a wartime unifier and now travels the world as a symbol of Arab pride.

Those who saw “Knights of the Moon” will undoubtedly recall its stunning filmic backdrops of dunes and moonrises, the brilliantly colored velvets and silks in its treasury of costumes and the extraordinary energy of the dancers. The movement style blends the bouncy rhythms of Eastern folk dance with the fluidity of ballet and angularity and drama of Graham’s form of modern dance.