PREMIERE AT THE BIENNALE DE LA DANSE DE LYON. SEPTEMBER 2020.
This piece is the result of five years of continuous movement research around body memory with young dancers in Nigeria, all undertaken since my return from Paris to my hometown Lagos. There, I ventured to train, inform and inspire a new generation of dancers, with whom we have built strong trust relationships, strong enough to create a collective piece that will showcase the depth of the west African youth culture and its pure and uncompromising joy.
Re:incarnation is the work of this brand new generation of Lagosian artists and young dancers. Without any classical or occidental training, it will be marked by the urban chaos of the Nigerian economic capital, Lagos the mega city, and take as a point of departure from the current Afrobeats Dance and Music, that is presently in motion, initially from Nigeria and quickly becoming a global phenomenon.
Afrobeat music plays a leading role here. The afrobeat that is best known in Europe is the one that emerged in the 70s from the meeting of jazz, soul-funk and high-life with the traditional West African music, thanks to Fela Kuti – a musician that was cradled by the Black Power and panafricanism movements. Today, afrobeats bares new influences from different inspirations. Dancehall, hip-hop and funky house have started off a musical revolution that flows into the bodies. Imagine an orchestra: the basic tempo inexorably comes back. Inside this
undisturbed cycle, the groove plays with a different temporality.
Paying tribute to this richness, choreography will be written with a highly musical structure. I found it interesting
that these young people re- apropriate this energy of the 60s and 70s, to reactivate it, renew it, re-incarnate it in the present, consciously or unconsciously loaded with past and current social struggles. This piece is a way to continue my quest into body memory and to seek a contemporary choreographic vocabulary that is peculiar to this new generation of dancers. Coming from the Yoruba culture and philosophical approach, I would like
to place at the core of the piece the Yoruba central concept of re:incarnation (birth, death, re-birth) which offers a distinct way of thinking about time and space in a cyclical manner. The temporality will thus be based on points of intensity rather that a chronological progression.
With this piece I want to gather nine dancers from different cities in Nigeria, those that I have worked with the past years and identified in the course of the three editions of DanceGATHERING Lagos, so as to let this new generation of Nigerian dancers come together around a shared creation process – while I continue my
mentorship with them in pratical terms.