Indeed, in 2008, on Nawal Ait Benalla-Lagraa's initiative, Abou Lagraa left to Algeria to try to find his roots, his past. As evidence the 2 artists decided to work on it, to commit themselves by creating "The French-Algerian Mediterranean Cultural Bridge" there.
Meeting the dancers of the Contemporary Ballet of Algiers, getting involved in working with them (the outcome being the creation of Nya in 2010 then Universe Africa – tribute to Nina Simone in 2012) rediscovering the daily life in a country where so much remains to be done, all this could not leave Abou Lagraa untouched. He is indeed so similar and yet so different.
El Djoudour is the third creation with the Algerian dancers.
For this show, Abou Lagraa drew his inspiration from his Algerian roots. As a western dancer and choreographer, French, North African, he would like to focus this creation on his own perception of the body in Muslim culture (and not of the Muslim faith), a body marked by modesty and respect of privacy.
Strongly marked by frustration with separation between men and women, Abou Lagraa shows in El Djoudour a range of relations between the two sexes, far from the usual clichés.
The show opens on an empty space, a public square (" El Fada " in Arabic) structured by metal racks that define the space of men and women. Lagraa shows the tensions from the frustration of not being able to share the same space, to touch each other. The bodies confront themselves, are free, the lines move, sensuality is revealed.
To guide his creative process, Abou Lagraa refers to two basic elements of oriental culture: water (instrument of purification and source of life) and earth (the one from which we come from, which feeds our roots). The dancers are as protected by land and water, wrapped in a symbolic garment that allows finally them to touch each other, preserving their modesty and their freedom.
This body language honours the original features of generosity, sharing and brotherhood of the oriental culture.
The dance in El Djoudour reveals the ambivalence between feminity and masculinity, it’s a dance of body states, a total commitment.
The composer Olivier Innocenti's subtle music supports this idea of “no man’s land”. Algerian singer Houria Aïchi honors and refers to the sacred past. Contemporary music mixed sacred songs provides the link between narrative and abstraction, the organic and the spiritual, the past and the present. These collaborators joined Abou Lagraa’s never-ending quest which is as spiritual as it is artistic. He’s looking for poetry of human relationships.
El Djoudour comes from the choreographer’s roots, his personal history and his vision of Muslim culture while operating a syncretism with other horizons represented by fourteen dancers with different stories and personal experiences, from multiple ethnics origins (Algerians, Indians, French, Cameroon, Sweden, Comoros). This diversity of body proposes a new interpretation of the body in the oriental culture.
El Djoudour is like a mirror in which we can look at ourselves to see and love others.
Source : Abou Lagraa
En savoir plus : www.aboulagraa.fr