How they achieved verticality – interview with Käfig’s ‘Vertikal’ dancers

Photograph: Laurent Philippe

Before the performance of Mourad Merzouki’s brand new, gravity-defying show, ‘Vertikal’, I spoke to two of the performers from Merzouki’s company, Käfig. Vincent ‘Keys’ Lafif is a break dancer, and Pauline Journe originally trained as a jazz dancer, before turning to contemporary age 20. Having also done a lot of gymnastics, she tries to mix different styles of dance and acrobatics, and to take inspiration where she can, to create her own style. I realised during the performance, that this is what many of the ‘Vertikal’ dancers have done – they each have their own distinct, individual style, but come together surprisingly beautifully. Continue reading

Beyond the limits of gravity – Mourad Merzouki’s ‘Vertikal’ with Käfig review

‘Photograph: Laurent Philippe

In his new production ‘Vertikal’, top French choreographer Mourad Merzouki yet again defies all expectations – he pushes past another set of boundaries and explores a whole new dimension: a world (almost) without gravity. The show is a collaboration with vertical dance company Retouramont, who provided the dancers with rope mechanisms, allowing them to achieve apparent weightlessness. Continue reading

Interview with Mourad Merzouki ~ English version

Mourad Merzouki – copyright Michel Cavalca

Mourad Merzouki is a French hip-hop dancer and choreographer. He is the founder of the Käfig dance company, and the current director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne, near Paris. During this phone interview I learned about Mourad’s roots, what inspires him, the way he works… But above all, I learned about the beautiful message he strives to convey through his choreography. Continue reading

Interview avec Mourad Merzouki ~ version française

Mourad Merzouki est un danseur et chorégraphe de hip-hop français. Il est fondateur de sa compagnie Käfig, et actuellement à la direction du Centre Chorégraphique National de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne. Dans cet interview téléphonique j’ai pu découvrir ses racines, ses sources d’inspiration, son travail au quotidien… Mais surtout, j’ai pu découvrir le message incroyable qu’il souhaite faire passer à travers ses spectacles et chorégraphies.

Mourad est entré de le hip-hop totalement par hasard. Il a commencé le karaté et la boxe à l’âge de sept ans dans une école d’arts martiaux parce que son père voulait. Continue reading

‘Correria Agwa’ by Mourad Merzouki with CCN’s Käfig ~ review

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‘Correria Agwa’ by Mourad Merzouki (in close collaboration with the dancers) is composed of two pieces: ‘Agwa’, the company’s first creation, and ‘Correria’.

The show opened with ‘Correria’, a frenetic, almost breathless performance, based on the theme of running (correria translates as ‘the race’). This theme was made completely obvious by the dancers either actually running on the stage, or miming a running movement which was incorporated throughout the choreography. The dancers would do this in all kinds of different positions (in lifts, on the floor…). Continue reading

Interview avec les danseurs de Käfig ~ version française

‘Agwa’ – copyright Agathe Poupeney

La semaine dernière, j’ai eu la chance de rencontrer 4 danseurs brésiliens de la compagnie Käfig du CCN de Mourad Merzouki. Après avoir assisté à leur répétition de ‘Correria Agwa’, un spectacle que j’ai pu voir quelques jours plus tard, j’ai discuté avec Aguinaldo ‘Anjo’ De Oliveira Lopes, Alexsandro ‘Pitt’ Soares Campanha Da Silva, Hélio Robson Dos Anjos Cavalcanti et Geovane Fidelis Da Conceição.

Presque tous les danseurs de la compagnie Käfig actuelle avaient auparavant déjà travaillé avec une compagnie de hip-hop brésilienne, venue en France en 2006 pour la Biennale de la Danse à Lyon. Continue reading

Interview with Käfig dancers ~ English version

‘Agwa’ – copyright Michel Cavalca

Last week, I was lucky enough to meet four Brazilian dancers from Mourad Merzouki’s Käfig dance company, part of the CCN. After watching their rehearsal of ‘Correria Agwa’, a performance I got to see later in the week, I talked to Aguinaldo ‘Anjo’ De Oliveira Lopes, Alexsandro ‘Pitt’ Soares Campanha Da Silva, Hélio Robson Dos Anjos Cavalcanti and Geovane Fidelis Da Conceição.

Almost all the dancers from the current Käfig company previously worked with a Brazilian hip-hop company which came to France in 2006 for the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

‘Pixel’ by Mourad Merzouki and Adrien M / Claire B, with Käfig Dance ~ review

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Pixel – copyright Laurent Philippe

Last Saturday night, I went to see ‘Pixel’ by Mourad Merzouki’s Käfig, a hip hop show, created in collaboration with the digital design company Adrien M / Claire B.

As soon as the curtain went up, my attention was grabbed by the simple yet beautiful set; the stage was dotted with candle-like lights, which moved around as the dancers performed. Continue reading