ONE STAGE, MANY DANCES
Memories of the just concluded contemporary dance festival still linger in the minds of entertainment lovers in Lagos. The four-day event saw a harvest of contemporary dances from eight companies from Nigeria, Germany, Mozambique and Congo respectively.
The festival equally featured dance workshops and performances at such venues as the Arts Theatre, University of Lagos and the French School, Victoria Island Lagos, the Arts Theatre of the University of Lagos was filled with students and guests who turned up in large numbers to watch the performances.
During the opening ceremony, Squad 1 Productions from Nigeria entertained the audience with performances entitled Echoes. They used mortar as a symbol of strength in virtually all the dance steps. Seen in black tops and blue trousers to match as costumes, the dancers told the story of every day struggle; the perspective of men and women, either rich or poor.
They depicted the vibrations of the inner mind in reality of one's outer world. Echoes is a dance piece straight from Nigeria with energetic drumming and mind blowing dance moves combined with mystic roots of the continent.
Next to perform was Horacio Macuacua Company from Mozambique which came with Orobroy, stop!. The dance was performed by two men and a lady. Orobroy which means Thought in the language of the gypsies and the thought in the work clearly leans towards the movement and nomadism of aesthetic shapes and their new contemporary forms. Flamenco music and dance form reflect other physical languages from contemporary to hip-hop aside creating a mutant dance with the sharp, crackling stamps of feet pounding the floor.
There is a touch of irony when the three artistes put on monkey masks and formed a line. One of the dancers stood up to signify the evolution of man and an outline for all the dances.
In his welcome address, Jean-Michael Dumon, Ambassador of France to Nigeria said the festival has contributed greatly to the promotion of contemporary dance in Nigeria and beyond.
' Over the years, the festival has brought dancers and groups from both African and European countries while some Nigerian dancers had the opportunity to perform alongside prominent French choreographers. This year's edition has provided opportunity to six professional Nigerian dance groups to present the result of their last work where they will display vigorous performances explained Dumon.
For Marc-Andre Schmachtel, Director, Goethe-Institut, the DMD has created a platform for professional Nigerian dance practitioners to meet and exchange ideas with their foreign counterparts. Also Prof. Duro Oni, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos disclosed that it was a great pleasure for the university to collaborate with the organizers.
The second day saw Ezrealart (Nigeria) perform a dance entitled Danse Meets Dance while Ashiedu (Nigeria), Casa (Unilag) and Amulegboja Dance Company (Nigeria) presented Women, Drops, and Imole respectively. The third day had performances from Alajota dance Company (Nigeria), and Studio Maho (Congo) entitled Naked home and On the steps respectively.
The final day had performances from students of the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos. Later Gintersdorfer and Klaben (Germany) thrilled a dance piece entitled Logobi Lagos. Logobi is a street dance from Ivory Coast. The dancers used speech and gesture to impress the audience. The two dancers, a German and an Ivorian met on an empty stage and entered into a dialogue.
The Ivorian dancer described African dance tradition and street dance as a replica of Logobi and Coupe Decale in German while the German translates and demonstrates the concept of contemporary European dance to English language.
In a chat with Daily Sun, Bunmi Mayowa, a student disclosed that she had benefited a lot from the dance festival because it has afforded her to learn various styles and techniques of dancing which she would plans to put into practice.