TCHEKPO DANCE COMPANY (Benin, Germany)

Tchekpo Dan Agbetou, dancer, choreographer, was first exposed to dance in his native countryBenin/West Africa, where he explored traditional techniques. As an adolescent he lived inParis,FranceandNew York Citywhere he studied at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and Steps on Broadway, where he learnt styles such as Modern and Jazz. His original style would eventually become a fusion of Modern, Jazz and contemporary African dance. Tchekpo takes part in many international workshops and festivals.

In 1991 he founded the Tchekpo Dance Company inFrance. From here he would move toBielefeld,Germanyin 1995, where he opened the center for dance and creativity DAN’S ART and to this day he continues to work with this company. His productions have been successfully shown since not only in Europe but also in Asia, Africa and theUSA.

In 2002 he took over as artistic director for the “Dance Festival Bielefeld”. By the way “Aura” also participated in this festival in 2006.

In 2006 Tchekpo launched the Festival of Contemporary Dance fromAfrica, the “Biennale Passages,” which takes place every two years, and which has since been recognized as one of the best festivals to promote new styles of dance.

In 2009 another festival was brought to life, the biennale “artists in fusion”. This festival brings to- gether contemporary artists from different fields and allows them to merge their styles and perform their creations.

 “Three levels”

Is the body the instrument that allows us to bring our ideas and dreams on stage?

How does the body depend on the soul?

Is the body really the mirror of the mind?

With these questions, the choreographer Tchekpo Dan Agbetou approaches in his new piece the interaction of body, feeling and soul. THREE LEVELS asks to what extent this interaction is guided emotionally and whether the Darwinian survival of the fittest depends on it.

In “Three Levels” five very individual dancers and choreographers of the same generation come together to translate those questions into a contemporary dance language and try to jointly find an answer. Their journey to the mysterious heights where body, feeling and soul meet, promises adventure and knowledge.

Tchepko Dan Agbetou wants to question the eu- ropean notion of the African body, because he sees behind the stereotype the differences, that regions and ethnic groups produce. The five African dancers from THREE LEVELS are the living proof of his thesis.

Concept: Tchekpo Dan Agbetou
Choreography: Tchekpo Dan Agbetou in collaboration with the artists
Choreographic Assistant: Ulla Agbetou, Michel Koukaou
Dramaturgy: Gilda Rebello
Dancers: Michel Kouakou (Ivory Coast/ USA), Pape Ibrahima N’Diayes „Kaolack“ (Senegal/ Czech Republic) Doudet Grazai (Ivory Coast / France) Lebeau Boumpoutou (Kongo-Brazzaville/ Burkina-Faso) Nestor Kouame (Ivory Coast / France)
Stage design, lighting, sound, video: Chris Umney, Tchekpo Dan Agbetou
Costume: Sabrina Strunk, Ulla Agbetou
Music: Chris Umney
Produktion: Tchekpo Dance company
Co-production: DansArtTanznetworks
Duration: 70 min.

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