« There’s no point in denying outside influences. It’s better to work around them ».

Interview with Ariry Andriamoratsiresy, Choreographer, by Olivier Barlet

Compagnie Rary (Madagascar) "Mpirahalagy Mianala" ("several who form a whole")
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How did you get into dance?
The company’s been running for five years now. I got into dance through the Tsingury dance company, which had been to the Rencontres in Luanda. Then I finished my university studies with a dance option, ran dance classes and set up my own company. The women are from the first classes, the men later. In my early choreographies, I was too rigid! Reading the reviews taught me to listen to suggestions. On this creation, I suggested a theme to the dancers and musicians and we shared the work. I used a lot of interviews since it’s based on the kind of relational problems we all have. The girls started the creation and the men contributed the spectacular aspect.
The stage design is very evocative.
I had thought of using a wooden suitcase as a wardrobe lying on the ground with the dancers to come in and out of … since the heart is like a box that opens to let our emotions pour out. But it wasn’t really workable so we thought of using a wooden plank but it was too heavy for the girls … then a table. During rehearsals, we thought of adding a level on the bottom and it ended up being the shelves you saw. It represents today’s world on an organisational and spiritual level with its cubic, square and rectangular forms. The difficulty lies in adopting the human being’s roundness, like the earth, the moon, red and white corpuscles, molecules, etc.
What is the significance of the title?
« Two brothers go hunting ». It’s a Malagassy proverb that says that if you hunt, you should always stick together because that’s how you’ll be successful. Malagassy philosophy suggests living within the rectangle but adopting a circular form. In the show, people go hunting but stick together. The movements are strongly influenced by animal life, this language is destined to have a strong effect on the whole world, now and in the future.
Water seem to play an important role.
I wanted this energy to have a calming effect! Africa is always associated with tam-tams and powerful black bodies. Why not offer another image which shows that we master another universal form of energy? Madagascar is surrounded by water and has a calming effect.
The lighting and music are along the same lines.
Yes. I suggested that the technician use a green heat-resistent filter. This represents vegetation on the seafloor. To keep a Malagassy flavour, we worked with Linda Volahasiniaina and Michel Rafaralaky, two young contemporary musicians who play traditional Malagassy instruments. I find this music extremely inspiring. It gives me the energy to be myself.
What kind of conditions do you work under?
The intermittants du spectacle doesn’t exist here! We have to work to eat! We have trouble paying the rent on the rehearsal studios and we fought to show that our work can have an influence on dance in the future. The Ministry for Culture knows about but can’t provide enough funding for us to flourish. We’ve had this room for for the past two years now, and this gives us the energy we need to be creative. But there is no specific funding for dance. However, with Masa and the Rencontres in Tananarive, people are becoming aware of our existence.
How did the Rencontres change things?
It helped contemporary dance evolve and made it fashionable. A dozen or so companies have sprung up, and three or four of these are trying to provide one creation per year. But the companies have a tendency to copy each other. Various awards have contributed to this – the companies start dreaming about international tours and this kills creativity since they all try to do the same thing! When one company is successful, there is a tendency for the other companies to copy it. In the end, seeing other people’s qualities but still using your own qualities is a personal battle. You shouldn’t deny outside influences, it’s better to work around them.

Translator’s note: the status of intermittants du spectacle is particular to France and ensures that anyone who makes their living from the performing arts (often on short-term contracts or « intermittent » work) has a right to social security and unemployment benefits.///Article N° : 5544

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