Nourished by the tradition of modern black American dance, and drawing on the music, aesthetics and narratives of African-Americans, Asha Thomas has taken her inspiration for the solo Sojourn from the concept of “Sankofa” which, in the Twi language (Ghana), means “returning to the past to go forwards.” This is an important project for this choreographer who came to prominence in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, before multiplying encounters on the contemporary French scene which punctuated her researches and accompanied a career that has been marked by a large variety of aesthetics. To relocate the right distance and the texture of the dance memories inscribed within the body, the choreographer has taken her inspiration from the technique of Mabeye Deme, the Franco-Senegalese photographer who places his lens behind an old piece of tent canvas, as a sensitive membrane capable of catching and revealing intimate moments in the flow of life. Sojourn is Asha Thomas’ view of her own story as an artist and the woman she has become, through the filter of the present.
Source: programme of the CND
Asha Thomas (Atlanta, USA) graduated from the Juilliard School in New York under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy. From 1999 to 2007, she joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company as a principal dancer.
Since her arrival in France in 2007, she has performed for different companies: Compagnie Salia nï Seydou, Compagnie Traces / Raphaëlle Delaunay, Richard Siegal, Prue Lang, Philippe Ménard, Boris Charmatz and Olivia Grandville.
She decided to start her contemporary dance company, Compagnie Ima, in 2010. That same year, she created a solo inspired by flamenco entitled Mi Peñita Negra which was presented in France, Germany and Morocco. Her piece Ghazals, a duo inspired by the mystical verses of the Sufi Hafez, is co-produced in 2014 by the CNDC Angers and Châteauvallon-Scène nationale. In October 2016, her last piece CLAY, a collaboration with flamenco dancer Yinka Esi Graves, had its premiere in France followed by performances in England and Spain in the contemporary Mes de Danza festival. Also in 2016, she created with the American singer, Crystal Petit, a cabaret show, LIGHT, with American dancers, singers, and musicians based in France.
Source : website of the company Interscribo http://www.cinterscribo.com
Centre national de la danse, Réalisation
Since 2001, the National Center for Dance (CND) has been making recordings of its shows and educational programming and has created resources from these filmed performances (interviews, danced conferences, meetings with artists, demonstrations, major lessons, symposia specialized, thematic arrangements, etc.).
Choreography : Asha Thomas
Interpretation : Asha Thomas
Artistic consultancy / Dramaturgy : Dramaturgie Leslie Menahem - Regard extérieur Youness Aboulakoul
Original music : Mathieu Gaborit aka Ayato
Lights : Loris Gemignani
Costumes : Jeanne Guellaff
Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Production-diffusion Laurène Blanckaert