On his return to Nigeria, while working on the opening of a creation and training center, the Q Dance Center, in Lagos, the Nigerian dancer and choreographer Qudus Onikeku aspires to create a piece devoid of "machine" scenography, which can be performed anywhere and which is less a performance than a moment spent with people (and not spectators).
When the Fondation Zinsou commissioned him for a piece on the theme of African music from the 1950s to the 1970s, for the 3rd edition of its event “Dansons Maintenant!" he chose the world of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. The lyrics of the piece Gentleman inspire him with the title of the piece: "I no be a gentleman at all / I be an original Africa man" and push him to question his original affiliations when, back in Africa, the implicit injunction of his asserting oneself as “African” is no longer necessary.
Dabbling between dance, performance, stand-up, singing and a dance class, Africaman Original unfolds within a framework whose content and duration depend on what the place, the city of representation suggests and the relationship that engages or not with the public. The first piece by Qudus Onikeku created on the African continent, it inaugurates a reflection by him on the spectator considered as a participant, on his own positioning as an artist which is subsequently reflected in other projects: collaborations with the platform Afropolis; choreographies: Spirit Child (2019), Out of the World (2022 – 2023). Since 2015, Africaman original has toured internationally: Libreville, Bayreuth, Los Angeles, Brussels, Paris and in different contexts: literary festival, plastic arts festival, gallery… It was given again in September 2022, in Atlanta.
Source: Interview with Anne Décoret-Ahiha, September 2th, 2022.
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In 2016, he created a performance lab with the Nigerian dance hub QDanceCenter: « QDanceSession ». The same year, he created two pieces: « We Almost Forgot » and « An African Ballet ».
In 2017, he choreographed a short feminine quartet « Invocations » for the opening of Lagos Contemporary Dance Festival, then the piece “A Brief Moment of Truth” for the TEDxLagos.
Sources: Maison de la danse show program ; Qudus Onikeku 's website
Issac Lartey is a capoerist, choreographer and videographer.
Born in Ghana in 1973, he grew up in Paris. In 1992, he discovered capoéria and was introduced to Mestre Beîja-flôr in Paris and during study trips to Brazil. In 1994, he obtained a degree in visual arts philosophy of art at the University of Paris I Sorbonne. After a master's degree in Aesthetics on the process of recognition of classical and contemporary African art in the West, his work as a visual artist develops around questions of cultural identity and transmission of memory, with the cultural area as its central subject. “Afro Atlantic” and its diasporas. Recognized since 2001 by the Historical Association Senzala de Santos de Mestre Sombra (Santo, SP, Brasil) and the Paulista Federation of Capoeira, he teaches capoeira in Paris within the associations Vadiaçao and Capoeira Paname and gives professional specialization courses ( capoeira and acrobatics) at ENSAC (National School of Circus Arts in Chalons) and at the Académie Fratellini. From 2001 to 2007, he participated as a capoeirista and acrobat in numerous choreographic projects, notably with the Montalvo-Hervieu company. In 2006, he created the company D’1autre Monde, whose purpose is to explore the body vocabulary of capoeira, its spiritual and poetic universe and to bring it to life on stage. Trained in the tools of digital video, he produced dance video projects: The Best Capoeira Ever, 2006. He then specialized in video for the stage and scenography: interactive video projections, videomapping. His piece Incorporation(s) created in 2008 aims to bring to life on stage what appears spontaneously in the traditional Roda and to show the involvement of the body as a place of incorporation of memories. Supported by the CCN de Créteil, the Académie Fratellini and the Musée du Quai Branly, it toured from 2008 to 2012.
Performer of Trille, choreography Riina Koivisto, Compagnie Kivitasku (2009) and Je ne suis pas d’ici/vengo de lontano, choreography Sveva scognamiglio (2016), he obtained in 2017 the D.E. Contemporary Dance. That same year, he participated in a European certification program for the teaching of capoeira with the federation of sport for all (FSPT). Since 2009, Issac Lartey has been collaborating with the Nigerian dancer and choreographer Qudus Onikeku for the scenography and projections of his pieces My exile is in my head (2010) Still/Life (2011) and Africaman (2015). He also participates in the Dancing Cities and The New Masquerade projects in collaboration with YK_projects and Faustin Linyekula /Studio Kabako in kisangani (DR Congo) in 2014.
Fondation Zinsou has recorded all the performances given during the festival "Dansons Maintenant !" "that was organized in 2011, 2012 and 2015 in Cotonou, Benin. Interviews of dancers and choreographers invited for the festival were also realized.
These recordings and interviews have been uploaded on Numeridanse as a courtesy with the aim of making them reachable by many people as possible, taking into account their scientific nature and their contribution to the dissemination and promotion of contemporary African art, more particularly the field of contemporary African dance.
Directed by Marie-Cécile Zinsou, the Zinsou Foundation opened its doors in June 2005 in Cotonou, Benin. A pioneer in West Africa, it works to promote contemporary art in Africa. Platform and exhibition center for contemporary African artists particularly Benin artists, in the Ouidah Museum and in the Lab, at Cotonou, the Foundation also acts for the promotion of education and social development through cultural and educational activities aimed in particular at young audiences, with the major challenge of free accessibility . In 2011, the Zinsou Foundation exhibited Antoine Tempé's dance photographs and invited choreographers to create a work in situ, in resonance with the images of exposed bodies. The success of this event entitled “Dansons Maintenant !", (Let's Dance Now!) convinces the Foundation to organize a second edition, in 2012, dedicated solely to dance, around the theme of urbanity. In 2015, a third edition took place, in conjunction with the “African Records” exhibition devoted to African music and photography from the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s, which provided the motive for new co-productions of performances. The three editions of "Dansons Maintenant ! " 2011, 2012 and 2015 have all been recorded on video (shows, restitutions of workshops, interview) and make an archive collection of 120 videos.
The extracts from the Archive collection of "Dansons Maintenant !" have been made available free of charge by the Zinsou Foundation.
Choreography : Qudus Onikeku
Interpretation : Qudus Onikeku
Original music : Fela Kuti
Video conception : Issac Lartey
Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Fondation Zinsou
Production / Coproduction of the video work : Fondation Zinsou.
En savoir plus - "Archives Dansons Maintenant !" - Fondation Zinsou
The deposit of the video archives of "Dansons maintenant !", belonging to Fondation Zinsou was made possible thanks to the Centre National de la Danse Research award in dance, granted in 2021 to Dr Anne Décoret-Ahiha for her research project "Consolidation of the African choreographic field: focus on Benin" and with the kind permission of the artists.
Mexican Video Dance
DANCE AND DIGITAL ARTS
Roots of Diversity in Contemporary Dance
Carolyn Carlson, a woman of many faces
This Parcours questions the idea that contemporary dance has multiples techniques. Different shows car reveal or give an idea about the different modes of contemporary dancer’s formations.