“Inspired by my many trips to Africa, where I had been able to observe these women and men who were almost naked, strolling elegantly and proudly, worthy of the most exquisite photos of art. I wanted to put the spotlight on the story of these pure-hearted people, that life doesn't seem to have taken a dig at, regardless of their burden or their troubles. The only thing that matters is this course towards this line; the line of life, that always finishes by taking shape even when all hope has gone. Here, in “Empreintes Massaï” weakness and strength are set against each other. Inspired by the Massaï dances with their body movements that stretch to the sky, and the ritual dances that redraw new contours of the body, the dancers move towards contrasted body movements: feet anchored to the ground seek the equilibrium point of the body stretched towards the sky. The entire show is based on this quest for balance and the notion of imbalance: two musicians, transporting a multitude of musical instruments, cross the stage, dancers, who are carrying long and slender jugs on their heads as if used to lengthen their silhouette, are propelled over and beyond their limits.
And, finally, on the dance floor, lines and shapes appear, to come together or to separate.
Every single resource and every single situation of these bodies in movement are used. The elegance of the body movements contrasts with a quest for a body imbalanced, a quest for roots… an allusion to current-day Africa, which, more than anything else, wishes to share its beauty, its elegance and its cultural richness. » Georges Momboye
Source: Maison de la Danse performance programme
Born in Ivory Coast and trained in classical, jazz and modern jazz dance, Georges Momboye began his performing career as a member of traditional companies such as Les Guirivoires, Ensemble Koteba and the Ivory Coast National Ballet. He soon felt himself cramped by traditional performance and sought other choreographic experiences in France, the United States and Canada, with artists such as Alvin Ailey, Brigitte Matuizi, Rick Odums, Elsa Wolliaston and Gisèle Houri.
In 1992 he decided to move to France and create his own company Yankady, “creative freedom” in Malinke, which was renamed the Georges Momboye Company in 1996. The company's resolutely-declared aim is to disseminate a representative artistic expression of contemporary Africa, which he defines as “young African dance”. The repertoire mingles contemporary, African and hip-hop technique, and includes two re-interpretations of Russian ballets (“l'Après-midi d'un faune” and “The Rite of Spring”), commissioned by the Biennale of Val-de-Marne, and pieces for a young audience (“Claire de Lune”). An internationally-recognised artist, he teaches dance courses in Europe, the United States, Asia and Latin America. In Paris in 1998, he founded the Centre de Danses Pluri-africaines et des Cultures du Monde, also known as the Momboye Centre, with support from UNESCO's International Dance Council. This is a key venue for discovering dance coming out of the African continent as well as being a venue for comparisons and exchanges.
Further information :
Digital resource - Médiathèque du Centre national de la danse
Georges Momboye Dance Company