Freely based on the figure of Sidi Ahmed Ou Moussa
Moroccan acrobats are called “the children of Sidi Ahmed Ou Moussa”. He was an eminent 16th century Sufi thinker, whose grave has become a pilgrimage shrine. He is regarded as the Patron Saint of Moroccan acrobatics. Initially, these acrobatics performances are not considered as being a part of the performing arts; they are closely related to Soufism, they emerged from ancient Berber ritual practices and they consist of circular and pyramidal stunts, in which I perceive both celestial and maternal representations.
In Sufism, an ontological quest, the concept of the path is essential. Azimut (Azimuth in English) derives from the Arabic As-samt (Sumūt in the plural), meaning “the paths”. Azimut is the term used in astronomy to describe the angle between the observer and the celestial bodies. With this meaning, the sky is summoned.
In the legend of Sidi Ahmed Ou Moussa, when the wise man reached the heavens, he looked back at Earth and men, and settled upon going back. Among others, his path led me to embrace the return motif as the core of the writing.
I liked the idea of the return to mother-earth, a return where birth and death are intermingled; by its very nature, a return used as the compass of life.
I like pondering these verses by T.S. Eliot: “We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started... “
Source: Aurélien Bory, September 2013, Source: Cie 111
Aurélien Bory was born in Colmar in 1972. His studies in physics in Strasbourg led him to the field of architectural acoustics. He then ended his scientific curriculum in 1995. He settled in Toulouse where he joined the creative studio at the Lido, the Circus Arts Centre. In 1998, he played in Theatre Tattoo's "L'Odyssée" directed by Mladen Materic. In 2000 he founded Compagnie 111 with actor Olivier Alenda. He then conceived and began the six-year-long space trilogy project, in collaboration with Phil Soltanoff, including "IJK", "Plan B" and "Plus ou moins l'infini" (More or less, Infinity).
In 2003 he directed Pierre Rigal in his first solo creation Erection, the stem of their ungoing collaboration, which also originated their second work together: Arrêts de Jeu premiered in 2006. Merging various other fields, he created "Taoub" in 2004 in Tangier with twelve moroccan acrobats, this very show will launch the international career of the Groupe acrobatique de Tanger (Tangier Acrobatic Group). In 2008 Aurélien was the recipient of the "Créateur sans frontières" (Creator without borders)/ Radio France trophy for his international creations, notably "Les sept planches de la ruse" (The seven boards of skill) created in China in 2007 with performers from Dalian. In 2008 and 2009, he conceived two creations: "Questcequetudeviens?", a portrait of a woman, and "Sans Objet", a piece for an industrial robot. His creations include different artistic fields : theatre, circus, dance, visual arts, music... His genre-crossing approach is inscribed within the question of space and is explored through his distinctive scenography. In 2016, he created "ESPÆCE" based on the French writer Georges Perec 's work, at the Festival d'Avignon (France).
Source: Company 111 's website ; Plan Bey 's press file
More information : cie111.com
Groupe acrobatique de Tanger
Artistic direction : Sanae El Kamouni
The Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger was set up by Sanae El Kamouni in 2003 in order to assemble a troupe of traditional Moroccan acrobats with a view to creating a contemporary circus show. The group now tours worldwide. In Morocco there is an age-old acrobatics discipline where artists always reproduce the same figures, with no creative latitude. El Kamouni shook up this tradition and injected fresh impetus. Having met Aurélien Bory (Compagnie 111), they travelled Morocco in search of acrobats, and met the Hammich family of acrobats in Tangiers. This encounter yielded "Taoub" (2004), which toured for six years in more than 20 countries. The group cultivates a unique art, stemming from the Amazigh tradition of Sidi Ahmed Ou Moussa which dates from the 16th century. This discipline, which involves forming human pyramids, has military roots; it was used for the scaling of defensive walls; it also includes circular figures such as the “Arab wheel”. This ancestral expertise is now being renewed as it cross-fertilises with Western choreography. The acrobats continued along their path, and in 2010 invited Martin Zimmermann and Dimitri de Perrot (stage directors and circus artists) to create "Chouf Ouchouf", a journey through a labyrinthine covered bazaar, courtesy of an ingenious set design. These top-flight artists settled in Toulouse in 2010. Aurélien Bory renewed their colla-boration in 2013, creating "Azimut". In 2016, Abdeliazide Senhadji (Compagnie XY) is teaming with the group to create their latest work.
Source: 17e Biennale danse (2016) - press file
Artistic Direction: Aurélien Bory
The stage is a space. It can be defined as the rectangular plane of the stage-platform and the equivalent volume of air. This space is the only medium where one cannot escape the laws of general mechanics. This particularity is important to me. Both bodies and objects are inescapably subjected to gravity. My proposition is to summon the means of the body, as well as the means of the stage, whatever they may be, to contemplate this fact. Bodies and objects both are relevant regarding gravity. The relationship between the individual and space, every single element of this relation, is what I am interested in studying on stage.
Our theater apprehends the stage as a physical space, where physical actions are formulated. Etymologically, the actor is performing the action. A play is a serie of actions. At the circus, the extraordinary is foretold. It’s not so at the theater ; it shows up by surprise. At the circus the extraordinary-being is invoked, whereas at the theater, we come and see our fellowman. The stage is a world. The actor dwells there, in this space, and the issue is to question the place of man in the world. My starting point is the interaction between these two elements: the scenic space as a world, and the actors as the ordinary men.
The issue of space raises the question of limits. The limit is the unknown. It sharpens our craving for discovery. It embodies the place of creation. Our theater is at the junction of different arts : the circus, dance, visual arts, music… but our concern to renew the form and the thrill to remain unlabelled are more important than belonging to a definite field. I’d rather the form emerged at the edge of things.
My work originates from different contexts. My every collaboration can be contemplated as a crossbreeding between different, converging fields. Each creation can be inscribed at the crossroad with another definite context : belonging to an artist’s, or to a place, to a practice, or a particular domain… In each case, my process remains the same : we need to push things around to the fringe, at the place of wonderings.
Source : Cie 111 's website
More information : cie111.com
Artistic direction / Conception
Groupe acrobatique de Tanger : Mustapha Aït Ouarakmane, Mohammed Hammich, Amal Hammich, Yassine Srasi, Achraf Mohammed Châaban, Adel Châaban, Abdelaziz El Haddad, Samir Lâaroussi, Younes Yemlahi, Jamila Abdellaoui
/ Younes Hammich (chef du Groupe acrobatique de Tanger) / Sanae El Kamouni (Directrice du Groupe acrobatique de Tanger)
Najib El Maïmouni Idrissi, Raïs Mohand
Arno Veyrat, Olivier Dupré
Sylvie Marcucci avec Clotilde Elne et Amélie Mistler
Pierre Dequivre et l'atelier de la fiancée du pirate (et machinerie)
Stéphane Ley, Edouard Heneman
Arno Veyrat et Sylvie Ananos (régie générale) / Mickaël Godbille, Tristan Baudoin et Thomas Dupeyron (Plateau et manipulation) / Taïcir Fadel (recherche et adaptation) / Marc Bizet (Vol) / ICE Alain Abidbol (bureau d'études)
Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work
Production, diffusion Florent Piraud et Alexandra Cahen (Grand Théâtre de Provence), Florence Meurisse et Christelle Lordonné (compagnie 111 - Aurélien Bory), Sanae El Kamouni et Marie Reculon (Scènes du Maroc) Production déléguée Grand Théâtre de Provence [Aix-en-Provence] Coproduction Grand Théâtre de Provence [Aix-en-Provence], Marseille-Provence 2013 - Capitale européenne de la culture, compagnie 111 - Aurélien Bory, Scènes du Maroc, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Le Grand T théâtre de Loire-Atlantique Nantes, Le Volcan scène nationale du Havre, CIRCa Auch Gers Midi-Pyrénées, Théâtre du Rond-Point Paris, Agora pôle national des arts du cirque Boulazac-Aquitaine, la Filature scène nationale de Mulhouse Avec le soutien Conseil Général des Bouches-du-Rhône - Centre départemental de créations en résidence, Assami, Deloitte, Fondation Deloitte et Fondation BNP Paribas
Avec l'aide L'Usine scène conventionnée pour les arts dans l'espace public Tournefeuille Toulouse Métropole La compagnie 111 - Aurélien Bory est conventionnée par le Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication - Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles de Midi-Pyrénées, la Région Midi- Pyrénées et la Ville de Toulouse, et reçoit le soutien du Conseil Général de Haute-Garonne. Elle bénéficie du soutien de la Fondation BNP Paribas pour le développement de ses projets.
La compagnie 111 - Aurélien Bory est associée au Grand T théâtre de Loire-Atlantique Scènes du Maroc bénéficie du soutien de la Fondations BNP Paribas et de la Fondation BMCI pour le développement de ses projets et reçoit le soutien de l'Institut Français du Maroc.