« They didn’t think that we represented the Congo »

Interview with Duran Boundzimbou, choreographer, by Olivier Barlet

Compagnie Tieri (Congo-Brazzaville) "L'Homme"
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Your choreography clearly evokes an awakening.
I worked from the Bible, from Adam and Eve, for this show. Hence this impression of an awakening. Adam is alone in the Garden of Eden, isolated. Woman’s creation allows him progressively to couple.
Communication is indeed central.
Yes, but I try to implement it through the dance: not with the words of theatre, but with the body’s movements.
All the music is astonishing.
We created it especially. I didn’t want any synths! It had to enable us to produce African contemporary dance. Some of the rhythms are Congolese, but we made most of them up. That is how the jerky rhythms emerged. I asked the drummers to play that way. We created using juice bottles, tin cans. We created our own instruments and improvised. The rhythms were born out of the work. At times I asked the drummers to suggest things to me. A coming and going emerged between the music and the dance.
There is a hint of Central African dance.
We are all Africans, but I don’t want to limit myself to the traditions. African dance remains the foundation of our work. I get the impression that dancers here in Côte d’Ivoire rarely exploit their traditions in contemporary dance and tend to imitate European dance. I only went to Paris when we won the RFI prize…
What are your influences then?
Traditional Congolese dances: the moye, which I have perfected, and the kingoli, a dance from northern Congo, the nzobi, which is also from the north, and the congo, a dance from the south. We created the other movements. We draw on our traditional heritage, but I think that is our strength!
What do people think of your dance in Congo?
The public didn’t understand it at first because it completely mixes and reworks the different dances’ movements. We had to explain. Now people like it a lot. We were the first to produce contemporary dance, and on an international level. We were the pioneers. Other dancers have now emerged, for example Chrysogone Diagouaya who went to train with Germaine Acogny and is now in Europe.
You didn’t go?
I am going to go now, at the proposal of the CCF [French Cultural Centre]. Then to Montpellier with Mathilde Monnier. I haven’t left the country much yet and I haven’t often experienced this type of confrontation. The Masa is our second outing!
There is a very young dancer in the troupe.
He is seventeen, but he looks younger. It’s not a problem. We train young people and we help them to understand dance and life. They therefore grow up morally too.
What made you want to dance?
I saw a troupe dance when I was at school. That made me want to do the same thing. Then I got backing from the CCF to explore the directions of contemporary dance. That first of all led to a fifteen-minute creation and the director strongly encouraged me to continue. I can work there whenever they are open. It is a good structure and the room is well equipped.
Does the ministry back you?
The Cultural advisers did not back us going to the Masa. They didn’t think that we represented Congo.

///Article N° : 5545

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