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Entre ciel et terre

Extrait

Jaï Production 2023 - Director : Anité-Gbouhi, Lelly Kossa

Choreographer(s) : Afiadegnigban, Kossivi Sénagbé (Togo)

Present in collection(s): Emergences

Video producer : Institut Français du Togo

en fr

Entre ciel et terre

Extrait

Jaï Production 2023 - Director : Anité-Gbouhi, Lelly Kossa

Choreographer(s) : Afiadegnigban, Kossivi Sénagbé (Togo)

Present in collection(s): Emergences

Video producer : Institut Français du Togo

en fr

Entre ciel et terre

Kossivi Sénagbé Afiadgenigban's first solo, Entre ciel et terre (Between Heaven and Earth) reveals the choreographer's inner quest and initiation into adulthood as he ponders his cultural and spiritual identity. Between the Vodun rituals he took part in as a child, the Protestant education he received from his aunt, with whom he was placed, and the Muslim liturgy he took part in at the age of nine under the aegis of an imam who was quick to convert him, the young Togolese felt lost. What was he? Animist, Christian, Muslim? What choice should he make to feel truly himself? In 2012, a major annual ceremony attended by his extended family triggers a desire and a need for him to better understand the foundations of his Vodoun culture. In this solo, the choreographer unveils the initiatory journey within tradition he undertook and, in so doing, the encounter with himself that followed. The struggle, both mental and physical, to choose a spiritual path that may answer his existential questions and enable him to reconnect with himself. 

On the stage, a white rectangle measuring 7 m2 delimits a space that encloses the dancer: the space of lines and right angles, the terrain of the modern world, the world of today, which it would be pointless to refuse. By removing part of the sticky tape, the dancer opens a breach and traces a circle, symbolic of community, protection and continuity with ancestors. Merging one form into another, inscribing one's culture in today's ever-changing world; rooted in tradition and open to the outside world. Connected between heaven and earth. 

Kossivi Sénagbé Afiadegnigban's choreography incorporates gestures and attributes from Vodoun rituals, testifying to his path of initiation. The upright  finger that swings back and forth represents the movement of the avaga, a small rattle used to summon the spirit, the vodun, to guide it so that it rides the adept. As soon as he is in a trance, the adept is covered with kaolin powder - like talc - a symbol of purity that also acts as a connecting element between the carnal body and the spirit that has come to possess it. 

In this extract, at the end of the piece, the dancer makes the circle his own and, through ritual, finds a link with his origins and an answer to his quest. 

Source : Programme Instant Togo - December 23, interviewed by Anne Décoret-Ahiha, May 7th 2024, Lomé (Togo)
Performed At Magic Mirror, Institut Français du Togo, decembre 15th 2023.

Afiadegnigban, Kossivi Sénagbé

Born into an animist family, Kossivi Sénagbé Afiadegnigban was introduced to percussion and dance as a child during vodoun ceremonies and rituals. At a very young age, he joined the Gbenodou traditional dance company. After passing his baccalauréat in 2009, he joined the sociology faculty at the University of Lomé, where, as a member of the Unesco club, he rubbed shoulders with the Togolese artistic scene, including performers and visual artists, while continuing his training in contemporary dance with Kossi Aholou-Wokawui, Patrick Acogny, Bienvenue Bazié, Lila Greene, Nora Chipomire, Serge Aimé Coulibaly and Salia Sanou. In 2014, a serious knee injury brought his career to an abrupt halt. It took him over a year and a half of traditional treatments and massages to regain his joint mobility. From this painful experience, he created his first piece with director Hodin Senyon: En Sursis, a dance/slam duet about disability. He then founded his own company, Sol'Oeil d'Afrik (2015), with which he runs cultural initiatives and artistic projects, particularly in the public space, which he is particularly fond of. In 2016, he obtained a certificate in Traditional and Contemporary African Dance and in the Art of Teaching Dance at the Ecole des Sables - Germaine Acogny (Senegal). In 2017, he created the solo Entre Ciel et Terre, inspired by the vodoun rituals that he explores as landmarks needed to build the identity of Togolese youth. "Vodoun feeds my work in terms of gestures, costumes and energy," he explains. "I draw the energy of my dance from Vodoun ceremonies. At the same time, it's a meeting with my ancestors". Presented at the Carthage Dance Festival in 2019, the piece was reworked the same year during a residency at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Roubaix (Ballet du Nord), France, with wich the choreographer became a regular companion. 

In 2018, Kossivi Sénagbé Afiadegnigban took part in the creation of Bintou Dembele, guest choreographer at the Fari Foni Waati#2 laboratory and festival in Bamako, Mali. Aware of the difficulty African dancers have in gaining access to choreographic training, he created the same year the first edition of DTCA (Traditional Dance and Creator of Today), a training programme lasting several weeks led by renowned choreographers and open to all dancers. In 2021,  he began a new creation, Vonvonli (L'Ombre de la peur) for five dancers (co-produced by the Institut Français, Togo Créatif (Institut Français du Togo, the Goethe Institut and the European Union), which was premiered in January 2022 at the Festival International de Danse de Ouagadougou (Fido) in Burkina Faso, before being revived in 2023 for an African tour (Togo, Tunisia, Côte d'Ivoire and Mozambique). In the same year, he  embarked on a new choreographic project combining dance and video: Agbedo ("life's work" in the Ewe language) explores the physical commitment of craftsmen in the exercise of their trade (premiering in July 2023 at the Institut Français du Togo). 

Sources: Document Compagnie Sol'Oeil d'Afrik, Interview with Kossivi Sénagbé Afiadegnigban by Anne Décoret-Ahiha, Lomé, June 12th 2019.

Anité-Gbouhi, Lelly Kossa

A 2009 graduate of the Institut Supérieur de l'Image et du Son in Ouagadougou, Lelly Kossa Anité-Ghouhi began her career as a scriptwriter on TV series and feature films in Burkina Faso and Togo. Director, she won the Grand Prix de la Semaine Nationale du Cinéma Togolais in 2022 with her short film Parfois le destin. Delegate of the Blitta Documentary Film Festival, Togo, from 2017 to 2022, and representative of the Espoir-Fife Film Festival on the Togo edition, she is currently production manager of the European program Togo Créatif, at the Institut Français de Lomé. She filmed the shows programmed for the Instant Togo Festival, which took place in Lomé, Tsévié and Agbodrafo in December 2023.

Sol'Oeil d'Afrik

Founded in 2015, Sol'oeil d'Afrik is an artistic and cultural association born of the desire of young Togolese dance professionals to promote traditional and contemporary African dance. Its mission is to provide a framework for learning, meeting, exchanging and sharing for the professionalisation and fulfilment of African youth in relation to the rest of the world, in the fields of the arts, culture and education. Since its creation, Sol'oeil d'Afrik has been developing professional training projects, choreographic creations and cultural mediation projects.

Entre ciel et terre

Artistic direction / Conception : Kossivi Sénagbé Afiadegnigban

Interpretation : Kossivi Sénagbé Afiadegnigban

Artistic consultancy / Dramaturgy : Sylvain Groud

Original music : Ivalmok

Additionnal music : Slave song (Mushroom Boyz)

Lights : Jean-Paul Sarri

Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Sol'oeil d'Afrik, coproduction Centre Chorégraphique National de Roubaix / Sylvain Groud

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Institut Français du Togo

Duration : 35 mn

Partners

This video was registered thanks to the support of the Institut Français, the Metropole de Lyon and the City of Lyon as part of the 2023 - 2024 project "Development of a digital resource on African choreographic creation and a tool for artistic training, art criticism and cultural mediation in Benin and Togo" led by Dr Anne Décoret-Ahiha.

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