An interview with Käfig’s Amélie Jousseaume

Pixel – copyright Agathe Poupeney

One of Käfig’s brilliant hip hop dancers, Amélie Jousseaume, very kindly invited me to ask her a couple of questions whilst she got ready for the show.

How does the choreographer [Mourad Merzouki] work? How does he convey his ideas to you?

For this piece we worked slightly differently, because he’d already done some work with the digital designers [Adrien M / Claire B], who had suggested effects and video material. Together they tested things to see what would work well gestually with these effects.So when we started the creative residency (a period of time in which we are researching moves and then deciding what we will do for the show), we were following ideas Mourad gave us. Since he’d chosen each of us for our specialities, during rehearsals he would ask us to dance in a certain style with a certain video, and he’d keep what we had to suggest. So there’s a lot of improvisation involved; once we had the ‘direction’, we fitted things to the music and to the video.

So the digital effects were chosen first and the choreography made for them?

It was a back and forth between the two: some effects had already been chosen, we improvised based on what had been suggested. But as we created a lot of choreography, the digital artists suggested video material based on that as well; it was an exchange.

How is working in this company different from working in others?

Concerning the creative residency, it’s pretty much the same; 8-hour rehearsal days, researching choreography… The big difference is the touring; this show is touring a lot, and we have a much higher number of performances than most artists on the show have ever known with other companies; it’s very intense.

Käfig works a lot to promote the transmission of dance – what kind of projects have you been part of?

In the different places we go to, we sometimes have requests for educational or teaching sessions. Dance schools, theatres, or schools that have a partnership with a theatre, usually make these kinds of requests. They’ll ask us what kind of workshops we can suggest; sometimes they really want to work on the digital side, sometimes they ask for an initiation to hip hop …

How do you think hip hop can express different things to other kinds of dance? What’s special about hip hop?

I think there are as many styles of dance as there are people, and feelings to express. People choose the type of dance that suits their personality best, or depending on their physical capacities; so they choose the dance that’s the closest to what they are. The advantage of hip hop is that it attracts a lot more men; it’s more of a masculine audience compared to other dance forms. It’s also very popular, as it’s less elitist than for example ballet or contemporary. Hip hop started in the streets, which makes it open to everyone.

What emotions do you think come through in the show?

We’ve heard that people find ‘Pixel’ very magical and poetic. They say they have the impression of traveling and really letting themselves be carried away by the performance. The images are very strong, but at the same time not specific, so everyone can find their own story to it.

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