Sponsored in part by the Center for World Arts, University of Florida. Funding for this presentation was provided, in part, by the University of Florida Office of Research and Graduate Programs through the Fine Arts Scholarship Enhancement Award Fund.
In an astonishing documentary about creative fomentation in Africa, nine choreographers from Senegal to South Africa tell the stories of an emergent art form and their diverse and deeply contemporary expressions of self. Stunning choreography and riveting critiques challenge stale stereotypes of “traditional Africa” to unveil soul-shaking responses to the beauty and tragedy of 21st century Africa.
Dominant media images of Africa commonly project a vast, undifferentiated land steeped in tradition and ensnared in a web of poverty, HIV/AIDS, and political turmoil. Personal and humanizing attention to Africa often hinges to the ironic beneficence of international rock stars. Where are the stories of fiercely creative African individuals and what do they have to tell us about their lives? Meet Movement (R)evolution Africa’s choreographic trendsetters. Hailing from Senegal to South Africa, the perspectives and creative processes of these dancers and choreographers present fresh images of Africa, and bring to life the continent’s contemporary identity. As they juxtapose reflection, rehearsal and performance, the artists open a window onto the emergent choreographic landscape of Africa in the 21st century, and ignite a new understanding of today’s Africa and the global society of which we are all a part.
Combining innovative narrative techniques and striking footage of dancers at work in the studio and on stage, Movement (R)evolution Africa explores an astonishing exposition of choreographic fomentation. The choreographers reveal emotionally complex and deeply contemporary expressions of self. Faustin Linyekula, exiled survivor of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eight-year war, muses whether his body his only “true country.” Germaine Acogny, mother of Senegalese contemporary dance, exorcises the assassin in herself as she creates a work on the Rwandan genocide. Through her choreography, Ivorian Béatrice Kombé explores love and union in the context of life in a country that has abused the trust of so many of it citizens. Nora Chipaumire excavates her painful Zimbabwean past in the context of a jarring American present. Sello Pesa explores traditions as abstractions, while Madagascar’s Ariry Andriamoratsiresy offers new ways to think about the meaning of “African” in “African dance.” The Burkinabe choreographers and directors of Kongo Ba Téria, Lacina Coulibaly and Souleyman Badolo, crystallize a riveting response to desertification. Choreographers Rosy Timas and Elisabete Fernandes render comic slices of urban and rural life in Cape Verde while questioning the staging of female sensuality. Renowned African-American choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar engages the viewer in empathy-filled first-hand interactions with the featured African choreographers.
The sum of these artists’ stories is a deeply human encounter with creativity that positions African choreographic innovation as a veritable aesthetic revolution.
To help you navigate this year’s Festival, we’ve put together a few clusters of activities—performances, workshops, talks, and screenings—that center on a theme, region, or particular artist’s work. For more events related to Contemporary African choreography, explore the connected projects below.