MICHEL KOUAKOU / DAARA DANCE (Ivory Coast)

MICHEL KOUAKOU

Michel Kouakou comes from the Ivory Coast and is rooted in both traditional and contemporary African dance. He studied dance, puppetry and acrobatics in Abidjan and was honoured with numerous awards. At the “École des Sables” (Senegal), he completed his training in contemporary dance. As a dancer he has worked with many renowned choreographers, including Germaine Acogny (Senegal), Seydou Boro (Burkina Faso), Bud Blumenthal (Belgium), Kota Yamazaky (New York / Japan), Jutta Czurda (Germany), Giorgio Rossi (Italy) and Arata Kitamura (Japan). In 2003, he founded his own dance company “Daara Dance”, whose productions were already shown in the U.S., the Netherlands, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Ivory Coast and Chad. As a lecturer, he also gives regular work- shops in Europe, USA and Japan. In 2003, he worked as a teacher of modern dance at the Duncan Centre Conservatory in Prague. Michel Kouakou currently lives in New York, where he dances in the “Reggie Wilson Fist and Heel Performance Group” and teaches modern dance in the “Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy” in Brooklyn (New York).

 

DAUDET GRAZAÏ

Native from the Ivory Coast, Daudet Grazaï began his career as a dancer, acrobat and actor at the Compagnie Ki-Yi M’Bock led by Werewere Liking. He also holds a degree in African and contemporary dance from the “École des Sables” run by Germaine Acogny in Senegal. Daudet Grazaï has worked with many prominent choreographers, including Judith Jameson, Koffi Kôkô, Anne-Marie Reynaud, Monte Bernardo, Flora Thefaine, Laurence Levasseur, Marc Veh and Bud Blumenthal.

Furthermore, he was hired by the Compagnie Jant-Bi under the direction of Germaine Acogny, as well as by DasArt, an international program, which is organized by the “Amsterdam School of the Arts”. Daudet Grazaï also danced for the Company Bud Blumenthal / Hybrid (Belgium), the Company Yamo Yamo (The Netherlands), the Company Thor (Belgium) under Thierry Smits and for the Georges Mom- boye Dance Company, with whom he performed at international festivals in France, Belgium, the Neth- erlands, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary and Korea. He also danced in the traditional Guinean piece “Won Tan Nara” choreographed by Moustapha Bangoura and in the French musical “Kirikou et Karaba” directed by Wayne McGregor.

 

„A drop from nowhere“

This duet unravels memories through a mutual initiation of body parts while an unimaginable understanding of each other remains, paving a path towards dropping from nowhere to somewhere.

“A Drop From Nowhere”, a duet for Mr. Kouakou and Daudet Grazai, showed a change of Japanese butoh. Grains of rice filled in a outline of a round on a floor, and in this locus a dual group met, shirtless, in wrapped skirts. Moving a rice as if essay in it furiously, or bunching grains together before pinch them with a karate chop, a group seemed connected even while separate. At other times they grappled in wrestling holds, one gaining a top hand, and afterwards a other.

The play between Mr. Kouakou’s intensity and Mr. Grazai’s gentler rippling, while interesting, wasn’t adequate to reason a duet together. The protocol remained ambiguous – not nowhere, though not utterly somewhere, either.

 

Choreography: Michel Kouakou
Dancers: Michel Kouakou and Daudet Grazaї
Music: By Jocelyn Pook
Costume: Michel Kouakou
Duration: 30 min.

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