Shihya Peng and Marco Di Nardo in Wang-Ramirez’s “We are Monchichi.” Fred Fouché photograph courtesy Maison de la Danse.
Copyright 2018 Anne-Charlotte Schoepfer
(First paragraph of English version follows first paragraph of French version below.)
LYON (Rhône-Alpes), France — Un propos fort couplé d’une mise en scène douce et enfantine : c’est le pari réussi des chorégraphes Honji Wang et Sébastien Ramirez de la compagnie éponyme. “We are Monchichi” c’est l’histoire de la rencontre entre deux danseurs étrangers, deux nationalités différentes qui doivent cohabiter et où vont se nouer et se dénouer les corps. C’est aussi l’histoire de deux immigrés débarquant en France qui doivent s’habituer aux clichés liés à leur pays d’origine. Cette pièce de 55 minutes, vue à la Maison de la danse le 22 Octobre — et reprise pour le Théâtre de La Ville le 21-25 novembre (Espace Cardin) et le 5-9 mars (aux Abbesses) — est adaptée à un jeune public. D’ailleurs la salle était remplie d’enfants et de familles ce soir-là….
LYON (Rhône-Alpes), France — A complex idea treated with a subtle and child-like direction: Such is the gamble in which the choreographers Honji Wang and Sébastien Ramirez and their eponymous company have emerged triumphant. “We are Monchichi” is the story of an encounter between two dancers foreign to France, two distinct nationalities which must cohabit and which tangle and untangle their bodies over the course of the 55-minute work. It’s also the story of two immigrants disembarked in France who must habituate themselves to the clichés associated with their birth countries. The piece, seen at the Maison de la Danse October 22 — and reprised at the Theatre de la Ville November 21-25 (Espace Cardin) and March 5-9 (Abbesses) — is perfect for a young audience. And indeed, the audience for the performance I caught was packed with children and their families….
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Emilie Sudre in Anthony Egea’s “Soli 2.” Photo © & courtesy Jean-Jacques Mahé.
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2009, 2016 Paul Ben-Itzak
(Originally published May 27, 2009.)
PANTIN (Seine-Saint-Denis), France — Apparently to goose his party’s standing for the June 7 European Parliamentary elections, French president Nicolas Sarkozy just announced he’s going to send a couple hundred more police over here to this department (as French counties are called) on the outskirts of Paris to take back several areas which in his view have been over-run by gangs. I have a better idea: Instead of simply squashing all that youthful energy, how about re-channelling it into constructive, creative activities and ends? I propose sending those young citizens over to the Centre National de la Danse. Even if, when one enters its newish, somewhat cold concrete building on the banks of the Ourcq canal just outside the Paris perimeter, it may seem more like a library or hushed sanctuary than a place where dance students flock to get their technique pushed and dance fans to seek inspiring performances.
Justement, as the French say, it occurs to me that the audience at the CND May 27 for the opening of Anthony Egea’s putatively hip-hop solo “Soli 2” was predominantly white (the youth in Seine-Saint-Denis are predominantly colored, French of North African or other African descent) and, except for the kid two seats over from me who finally stopped squirming when the dancer Emilie Sudre took off her top (tastefully — her back was to us for most of this segment, and more about that beautiful back in a minute), predominantly older. And considering that this was a hip-hop solo and the lady was busting to move, markedly sedate. (Sometimes at the CND, I feel more like I’m in a science laboratory than in what is theoretically in part a national hub of experimentation for an art vivant; no hubbub here, bub!) But what if a bunch of those excitable youth from all over Seine-Saint-Denis were bussed over to the CND?
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