Compagnie Käfig | Créteil
artistic direction, choreography: Mourad Merzouki
concept: Mourad Merzouki and Adrien M / Claire B
digital production: Adrien Mondot & Claire Bardainne
music: Armand Amar
assistant to choreographer: Marjorie Hannoteaux
sets: Benjamin Lebreton
costumes: Pascale Robin, assisted by Marie Grammatico
paintings: Camille Courier de Mèré, Benjamin Lebreton
lighting design: Yoann Tivoli, assisted by Nicolas Faucheux
photos: Agathe Poupeney, Patrick Berger, Laurent Philippe
premiere: Maison des Arts de Créteil, 2014
executive producer: Centre Chorégraphique National de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne/Compagnie Käfig
co-production: Maison des Arts de Créteil, Espace Albert Camus – Bron
with the support of: Compagnie Adrien M/Claire B
dancers: Rémi Autechaud dit RMS, Kader Belmoktar, Marc Brillant, Antonin Tonbee Cattaruzza, Elodie Chan, Aurélien Chareyron, Sabri Colin dit Mucho, Yvener Guillaume, Amélie Jousseaume, Ludovic Lacroix, Ibrahima Mboup, Julien Seijo, Paul Thao, Sofiane Tiet, Médésségnanvi Yetongnon dit Swing
The Centre Chorégraphique National de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne / Compagnie Käfig – directed by Mourad Merzouki is funded by the Ile-de-France Regional Cultural Affairs Office - Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Val-de-Marne Department and the City of Créteil.
We are constantly exposed to images, videos and digital media. Screens are everywhere. One only needs to walk down the streets of big capitals of some countries to imagine what will be the city of tomorrow: a large exposure to images... The project “Pixel” was born when I first met Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne and from the fascination I felt at that moment: it was just like I wasn’t able to make the difference between the real and the virtual world, thus I rapidly decided to try using the new technologies with and for dance. The first experience mixing dance and interactive video has been breathtaking for the performers who are part of the project. With the same curiosity that inspired me, I faced, during this new adventure, an impalpable world created by the light projection developed by the Adrien M / Claire B Company. The challenge of making both worlds interact with each other and of striking a subtle balance between both techniques so that dance and abstract representations answer each other without one getting the upper hand, destabilizes me again with the way I approach gesture. I follow that quest for motion which I keep developing and improving at each of my creations, with new constraints and new playing partners. How does the dancer perform in a space made up of illusions on a 3D-set, when video may by turns accompany motion as well as hinder it? Besides video projections, I wanted Armand Amar’s music to fit closely to the choreography and the images... Accompanying the performers, his music brings out the energy as well as the poetry lying in the dancer’s body… I wanted to open up the way where the synthetic world of digital projection interacts with the dancer’s reality. Each artist has playfully immersed in an unknown world, with a sharing mind, relying on hip-hop virtuosity and energy, mixing up poetry and dreams, to create a show at the crossroads of arts
Born in Lyon in 1973, Mourad Merzouki began practicing martial arts and circus arts as early as a 7 year old. At the age of 15, he encountered hip-hop culture for the first time and through it, he discovered dance. He quickly decided to develop this form of street art while also experimenting with other choreographic styles, particularly with Maryse Delente, Jean-François Duroure and Josef Nadj. The wealth of his experiences fed his desire to direct artistic projects, blending hip hop with other disciplines. In 1989, along with Kader Attou, Eric Mezino and Chaouki Saïd, he has created his first company Accrorap. In 1994, the company performed “Athina” at the Lyon’s Biennial Dance Festival, and this piece was a triumph that brought street dance to the stage. In order to develop his own artistic style and sensitivity, Merzouki established his own Company Käfig, in 1996. In 2004, he was awarded the prize for best young choreographer at the Wolfsburg’s International Dance Festival, together with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Tero Saarinen and Maurice Béjart. In January 2006, Compagnie Käfig began a period of residence at Espace Albert Camus in Bron. The theatre became the venue of the Karavel Festival, created in 2007 under the leadership of Merzouki. In parallel, he spearheaded the inception of a new center for choreographic creation and development: Pôle Pik opened it’s doors in Bron in 2009. In same year, Merzouki was appointed director of the National Choreographic Centre in Créteil et du Val-de-Marne. He continues to develop his projects there, with an accent on openness to the world. During the past 20 years, he has created 24 shows and his company gives on average of 150 performances per year out of France. In 2012, together with Dominique Hervieu, he was co-artistic director of the Parade of the Lyon Dance Biennial. In 2013, he has received the Medal of the City of Lyon, while he holds the title of Knight of the Legion of Honour and Officer of Arts and Letters, named by the French Minister of Culture. Merzouki is a creator of the Dance Day Message for 2014, for WDA ITI UNESCO.
Merzouki’s first fully independent work was entitled “Käfig“, that means “cage” in Arabic and German, and later becomes the name of his dance company. It points to the choreographer’s receptivity and openness and his refusal to become locked into a single style. On a deck surrounded by a net, a hip-hop dancer and a contemporary performer challenge each other in order to improve their dialogue. The message is clear: hip-hop is extending its territory without losing itself. The House for Dance in Lyon, directed by Guy Darmet, supported the project and since then, collaborated with most of Merzouki’s new productions. Some years later “Recital”, an unusual dialogue between dancers and musicians, leaded by the image of a classical concert, launches the Company Käfig’s style. Merzouki hangs a bunch of violins over the stage and choreographs the unlikely members of an orchestra. An international tour, that will include 40 countries, brings worldwide fame to Käfig. Teaming up with South African choreographer Jay Pather in 2000, he creates “Pas a pas”, an explosive mix of traditional Zulu dances and hip-hop. In 2001, “Dix versions” outlines the hip-hop singularity of seven performers. This piece was performed at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Festival in USA. For the Year of Algeria in France in 2003, he created “Mekech Mouchkin – Y’a pas de probleme”, with dancers from Algeria. Later he created “Corps est graphique”, than “Terrain Vague”, and “Agwa” for the Lyon’s Dance Biennale. Between 2006 and 2009, Compagnie Käfig was in residence at Espace Albert Camus in Bron. In 2010, Merzouki creates “Correria”, the show that will tour the world, from Japan and Korea, to Canada and US, Europe and Australia…The production “Boxe Boxe”, gives him the opportunity to reconnect with martial arts, his initial training. This piece is also the opportunity to explore new areas of research by surrounding himself with the string quartet. Later works includes “Yo gee ti”, “Kafig Brasil”...
Blissful, flabbergasted, direct pleasure and unconditional amazement. A kind of emotional kidnapping with only one possible outcome: letting go... Merzouki’s hip-hop is sophisticated, well-designed as usual, it has taken on another aspect, sometimes a velvet one, an elastic density. As if pixels had been transplanted in the very core of dancers’ muscles to transform them into gliding mutants. As far as the show content is concerned, it has been refined, leading to new circuits and surprising spatial subdivisions.
© Le Monde
This show is absolutely astounding. This has never been done on stage before. Dancers are performing in a 3D-digital set that changes depending their movements, on a floor that sometimes shifts under their feet or in front of a big screen, they achieve aerial and acrobatic feats. Not only hip hop dancers are part of the show but also circus artists... The audience was literally in ecstasy during the curtain calls!
© France Inter