Over the years and creations, the art of Abou Lagraa has mixed genres and disturbed the tracks to share with us a generous dance, never abandoning the sensitive, the immediate, the thrill. Stretched between East and West, the couple and the loneliness, the roots and the future, the choreographer makes a clean sweep to devote himself to this vein that ran through his pieces without ever emerging: this constantly renewed mystery of femininity. Matri(k)is is a diptych in homage to the figure of the woman, mother, saint and harlot. A new choreography as an extension of Abu Lagraa’s reflection on sexual identity, the figure of the double, dispossession, feminine solidarity and the matrix woman.
Source: Program of the Maison de la Danse de Lyon 2006-07
Born in Annonay, Abou Lagraa began dancing at the age of 16 before entering the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse, Lyon. He began his career as a dancer at the S.O.A.P. Dance Theatre, Frankfurt with Rui Horta and became his assistant on a project at the Calouste Gulbenkian Centre, Lisbon. He was soon noticed and went on to work with Robert Poole, Denis Plassard and Lionel Hoche. His qualities as a performer have been rewarded twice: in 1998 by the 2nd Prize for performance at the Paris International Dance Competition, then in 2009 by the prize for Best Male Dancer, awarded by the International Movimentos Dance Prize. In 1997 he founded his own company, La Baraka.
Once again, recognition came quickly; numerous French venues programmed the young choreographer and he received proposals for collaboration. As a result, after 4 years as an associated artist at Bonlieu Scène Nationale in Annecy, since 2009 Abou Lagraa and his company have been hosted in production residency at Gémeaux Scène Nationale, Sceaux. The fame of the company spread rapidly beyond France's borders and tours followed one after the other, throughout Europe and also in the United States, Algeria, Tunisia and Indonesia… Alongside his work with the company, Abou Lagraa is regularly in demand by large organisations.
In 2001 he devised Fly, Fly for the CCN Ballet de Lorraine. This piece later was subsequently added to the repertoire of the ABC Dance Company of St Pölten in Austria.
In 2003 he devised a work for the second-year students of the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine, Angers, then in 2007 for the pupils of the Frankfurt Hochschule and the pupils of the Centre Méditerranéen de Danse Contemporaine, Tunis.
In 2006 his work entered the repertoire of the Paris Opéra Ballet with Le Souffle du Temps, a piece for 21 dancers, including 3 étoiles (Marie-Agnès Gillot, Manuel Legris, Wilfried Romoli). Then, in 2008, he composed Everyone's One at the invitation of Ballet Memphis (USA).
Since 2009, in association with the Algerian Ministry of Culture and th Algerian Agency for the Cultural Brilliance, he works, with Nawal Aït Benalla-Lagraa, in the elaboration of a “Mediterranean Cultural Bridge", the project of French-Algerian cooperation for the development of the dance and the artistic exchanges which will contain a program of Training and creation. In this frame, he sees confiding for July, 2009, the choreography of Closing ceremony of the 2nd Pan-African Festival of Algiers. In 2010, he creates the Ballet Contemporain d'Alger, under the Nawal Aït Benalla-Lagraa's educational responsibility, with a first piece NYA. The success of which ends in several national and international tours.
This piece was to be distinguished in 2011 when it was awarded the Grand Prix de la Critique as “Best Choreography of the Year”.
In 2016, he becomes the « Dream up » ambassador, an international arts-based education programme set up by the BNP Paribas foundation. This programme will help some 30,000 underprivileged or disabled children and teenagers to develop and find fulfilment by practising an artistic or creative activity.
In 2016, he becomes “Chevalier des arts et des lettres” nominated by the French ministry of culture.
Source : Cie La Baraka
More information : https://www.aboulagraa.fr/
Author, filmmaker and video artist Charles Picq (1952-2012) entered working life in the 70s through theatre and photography. A- fter resuming his studies (Maîtrise de Linguistique - Lyon ii, Maîtrise des sciences et Techniques de la Communication - grenoble iii), he then focused on video, first in the field of fine arts at the espace Lyonnais d'art Contemporain (ELAC) and with the group « Frigo », and then in dance.
On creation of the Maison de la Danse in Lyon in 1980, he was asked to undertake a video documentation project that he has continued ever since. During the ‘80s, a decade marked in France by the explosion of contemporary dance and the development of video, he met numerous artists such as andy Degroat, Dominique Bagouet, Carolyn Carlson, régine Chopinot, susanne Linke, Joëlle Bouvier and regis Obadia, Michel Kelemenis. He worked in the creative field with installations and on-stage video, as well as in television with recorded shows, entertainment and documentaries.
His work with Dominique Bagouet (80-90) was a unique encounter. He documents his creativity, assisting with Le Crawl de Lucien and co-directing with his films Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux and 10 anges. in the 90s he became director of video development for the Maison de la Danse and worked, with the support of guy Darmet and his team, in the growing space of theatre video through several initiatives:
- He founded a video library of dance films with free public access. This was a first for France. Continuing the video documentation of theatre performances, he organised their management and storage.
- He promoted the creation of a video-bar and projection room, both dedicated to welcoming school pupils.
- He started «présentations de saisons» in pictures.
- He oversaw the DVD publication of Le tour du monde en 80 danses, a pocket video library produced by the Maison de la Danse for the educational sector.
- He launched the series “scènes d'écran” for television and online. He undertook the video library's digital conversion and created Numeridanse.
His main documentaries are: enchaînement, Planète Bagouet, Montpellier le saut de l'ange, Carolyn Carlson, a woman of many faces, grand ecart, Mama africa, C'est pas facile, Lyon, le pas de deux d'une ville, Le Défilé, Un rêve de cirque.
He has also produced theatre films: Song, Vu d'ici (Carolyn Carlson), Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux, 10 anges, Necesito and So schnell, (Dominique Bagouet), Im bade wannen, Flut and Wandelung (Susanne Linke), Le Cabaret Latin (Karine Saporta), La danse du temps (Régine Chopinot), Nuit Blanche (Abou Lagraa), Le Témoin (Claude Brumachon), Corps est graphique (Käfig), Seule et WMD (Françoise et Dominique Dupuy), La Veillée des abysses (James Thiérrée), Agwa (Mourad Merzouki), Fuenteovejuna (Antonio Gades), Blue Lady revistied (Carolyn Carlson).
Source: Maison de la Danse de Lyon
Cie La Baraka / La Chapelle - Abou & Nawal Lagraa
La Baraka is a contemporary dance company (association law 1901). With a repertoire, pieces shot through with pure energy and a hybrid style that borrows from everything that has made up the path of the two choreographers: the other shore of the Mediterranean, contemporary dance, jazz, hip-hop and even yoga postures.
Source: Cie La Baraka - La Chapelle / Abou Lagraa & Nawal Aït Benalla
More information: www.aboulagraa.fr
Choreography : Abou Lagraa
Interpretation : Charles Joël Essombe et Oliver Tida Tida (duo) / Nawal Ait Benalla, Séverinne Allarousse, Sarah Cerneaux, Leïla Pasquier, Morgan De Quelen, Rindra Rasoaveloson, Sonia Rodriguez-Hernandez, Sandrine Maisonneuve en alternance avec Claire Vuillemin
Set design : Dietmar Janeck
Original music : Éric Aldéa et Ivan Chiossone
Video conception : Dietmar Janeck
Lights : Dietmar Janeck
Costumes : Gilles Rosier, Caroline Audrain
Technical direction : Antoine De Gantho
Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : coproduction : Bonlieu Scène nationale/ Annecy (Abou Lagraa est Artiste associé du centre de création. La Cie La Baraka est en résidence depuis janvier 2004), Théâtre National de Chaillot/Paris, Les Gémeaux Scène Nationale/Sceaux, Scène Nationale des Salins/Martigues, La Coursive Scène Nationale/La Rochelle, Maison de la Danse/Lyon
Production / Coproduction of the video work : Maison de la Danse de Lyon - Charles Picq, 2007