Africa dances in Marrakech

The ocher city is preparing to receive “The Biennial of dance in Africa” during the “On Marche” festival. The event will bring together a hundred professionals around a program that will raise it to the rank of prestigious events in the world.

If Marrakech is unfortunately no longer the African capital of culture, dancers and choreographers from the continent will continue to meet there, from March 20 to 28, for “The Biennale of Dance in Africa”. Main platform for discovering the choreographic creation of the dark continent, this Biennale is the scene of novelty and creativity. Indeed, if the western (Europe and America) or oriental (Asia) stages are the pioneers of contemporary dance and, let’s say it straight away, ahead of Africa by a few lengths, they seem to reach saturation, by the profusion of the creation and abundance of professionals and the means deployed.

In Africa, most of the creativity in dance remains to be explored. Faced with the scarcity of opportunities, ideas are jostling, new projects are struggling to come out and new talents must be patient to break through. In the meantime, it works continuously …

The Biennale of dance in Africa remains for now the showcase of choice to present confirmed projects and to allow the meeting and the exchange between professionals from around the world, around this new breath of creativity injected by the African scene . Marrakech will therefore be fortunate to have a concentrated glimpse of this abundant creativity, during the fifteenth edition of the “On Marche” festival.

A revival of dance

If you have never heard of “The Biennale of dance in Africa”, it is probably because it is the revised and redesigned version of the Triennial “Dance Africa dance!”, Which does exist since 1997 and is said to be one of the emblematic pan-African events on the continent. Traveling the whole black continent, the latest edition of the Triennale was held in Ouagadougou in November 2016, led by the Center for Dance and Choreography “La Termitière” and the EDIT school. For a week, 42 ​​dance shows presented by companies from 13 African countries, punctuated the daily life of the mostly local public.

By migrating to a Biennale, the event is transforming both the programming and the artistic orientation. With an artistic committee made up of recognized professionals, physically involved in the African scene, and sincerely eager to develop contemporary dance in Africa, the Biennale displays a frank desire for emancipation and takes off by separating from French co-production, while keeping a “facilitator” partnership with the French Institute. On the list of personalities invited to rectify and reconceptualize the event, we find the well-known names of the Moroccan Taoufiq Izediou, the Congolese Faustin Linyekula and Virginie Dupray, the Tunisian Hafiz Dhaou, the Burkinabais Salia Sanou, the Mozambican Quito Tembe, the Senegalese Alioune Diagne, South African Gregory Maqoma and Nigerian Qudus Onikeku.

We walk to the city…

This is the fifteenth year that we walk in Marrakech. The contemporary dance festival resists and persists, despite the indifference of the governing institutions and the absence of a statute regulating contemporary dance, which is often tossed between theater and popular heritage dances. Its director, Taoufiq Izeddiou, continues to fight for recognition of contemporary dance as a pillar of art in Morocco, especially since the Moroccan choreographers and dancers shine brightly abroad, evidenced by the success of his latest show “Botero en Orient”, born from a French residence and currently on European tour.

By hosting La Biennale de danse en Afrique, of which he takes the reins, Taoufiq Izediou confirms, if need be, the importance of dance in the Moroccan cultural paraphernalia and works hard for a memorable edition. On the program of the Biennale, dance pieces by world-renowned choreographers, ceremonies of homage to the pioneers of dance on the continent, a focus on young emerging names and projections of videos and films retracing the history of dances. African women. In the margins, conferences, meetings and masterclasses, as well as performances in public space will be given.

In addition to the visibility that will be given to Moroccan choreographers and dancers, the excitement that Marrakech will experience is able to democratize access to dance and professionalize the field that flounders in amateurism for the majority of young Moroccan dancers. While waiting for public institutions to mobilize to support contemporary dance as a discipline in its own right, private partners are strongly invited to take a closer look at this center of creativity that has been ignored for too long

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