Jeannot Kumbonyeki [CD]
A kombi is the typical private taxi-van that determines the street scenes of Kinshasa and many other African cities. It is more or less the only collective means of transport. In the morning and the evening, the Kinois spend hours in them, packed together and sweating, their lives in the hands of the reckless drivers. In his first solo, Jeannot Kumbonyeki is using this kombi as a premise to talk about everyday reality, public provisions, and the position of artists in his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
‘We anxiously keep an eye on our bags, we make jokes, we discuss politics, how life is too expensive, or the girl in a tight skirt. In some strange way we do still progress, despite the policies of our leaders.’
• Jeannot Kumbonyeki lives and works in Kinshasa. He has danced in the work of Ula Sickle (Kinshasa Electric) and Faustin Linyekula (more more more… future, Sur les Traces de Dinozord), among others.
direction, performance, video Jeannot Kumbonyeki | lighting design Jeannot Kumbonyeki assisted by Jean-Pierre Legout | outside eye Faustin Linyekula | production Studios Kabako/Virginie Dupray | co-production Institut français/Danse l'Afrique danse with the support of la Fondation Total.
Rochdi Belgasmi [TN]
« Une histoire comme la mienne ne devrait jamais être racontée, car mon univers est aussi fragile que tabou… Rien ne me disposait à devenir danseur, mais c’est le destin qui décida ainsi… Et me voila, enfin devant vous… savez vous qui je suis? et savez vous ce que j’étais? Un danseur, n’a pas de vie, il vous divertit... Nous vendons nos talents mais pas nos corps... Nous donnons du plaisir à la vie… Vous buvez du thé, du café... Et nous dansons pour vous »
In this solo production, Rochdi Belgasmi brings the swinging twenties in Tunis back to life. In the evening, the bakeries, fish shops, and butchers’ shops were transformed into café chantants, and men transformed into ‘Ouled Jellaba’. They poured tea, juggled, and sang, but more important than anything else, they danced – as women. Due to the increase in women’s rights, including the right to dance publicly, these drag queens felt increasingly marginalized. The stars of yesteryear were gradually forgotten and were erased from official history. Rochdi Belgasmi is not only presenting an impressive tribute to the qualities of these performers, but also questions the contemporary taboos around gender and sexuality in Tunisian society.
• Rochdi Belgasmi lives and works in Tunis. Ouled Jellaba won the Prix International de la Fondation Rambourg and the Prix du Public at the Festival Tunis Capitale de la Danse.
choreography & performance Rochdi Belgasmi | scenography Marwen Heni | music Oussama Saidi | lighting design Riadh Touti | percussion Assem May | costume design Raja Najar | accessories Sabeur Ajili, Ahlem Jazzar | videos Ahmed Thabet | images Yosri Dahoithi | graphic charter Imen Mahmoudi | support The Arab Fund For Arts and Culture, Théâtre El Hamra (Tunis), French Institute of Tunisia – Ministry of Culture