Dance is on the move in Africa. And, as this Masa clearly demonstrated, is attracting more and more attention, as it sparks new interest on both the continent and in Europe. Buyers and audiences flocked to the shows at the French Cultural Centre in Abidjan. An evolving art in search of a new choreograhic language that reflects the complex realities of the day, dance is in the process of reinventing itself in Africa.
Overall, the eight companies from six different countries who were selected and performed at the Festival-market bore witness to the difficult quest for new forms, amidst the traditional repertories, which can be ossifying, and overseas artistic influences, which they obviously do not just want to copy flatly. Whilst their technical and choreographic skills were highly varied, all the companies displayed a degree of inventive experimentation. Particularly the famous South African company Moving Into Dance, the Kenyan trio Gaara, and three young Ivoirian companies (J-Ban and Tchétché at the official Masa, and the company Ivoire Danse, directed by Georges Momboye, presented at the Masa fringe festival).
Well beyond the (false) debates about the identity of contemporary African dance, the choreographic creations presented at the Masa 99 reaffirmed the plurality of approaches, and, above all, the growing desire to maximize on theatrical resources (live music, a greater experimentation with lighting, costumes, and stage direction).
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