Correria / Agwa
“What do you get when you mix one Frenchman trained in circus skills, martial arts, and hip-hop with eleven male street dancers from Rio de Janeiro’s notoriously perilous shantytowns?” asks a Boston Globe critic. “The answer is Compagnie Käfig, a.k.a.: the cure for pretty much anything that ails you. This elixir de la danse, though billed as a hip-hop company, defies easy categorization. The program of two pieces, each choreographed by the troupe’s Lyon-based artistic director, Mourad Merzouki, in collaboration with the dancers, is not exactly a street spectacle brought indoors. Nor is it a formal dance concert. Rather, it’s a joyous hybrid of the two worlds … .” Correria (2010), Portuguese for “running,” exposes audiences to a race just like the one that governs many people’s daily lives. The often-frenetic pace of the choreography accentuates the movement of legs — on the stage and through the air. Agwa (2008) uses water, a vital natural resource and a symbol of renewal, as its point of departure, but the dance is really a celebration of vitality. “Hundreds of clear plastic cups serve both as brilliantly simple set design — the cups are neatly placed in vertical strips across the stage, or stacked like fragile sculpture — and as props juggled precariously, like uprightly undulating Slinkys,” the Globe reviewer observes. “The dancers — standouts, all of them — are gleeful and charming when they groove and slide, and simply jaw-dropping when they pitch and fly.” Merzouki, a native of Lyon, began learning martial arts and circus skills at age 7. By 15, he had discovered hip-hop and started exploring various kinds of dance. He created Compagnie Käfig in 1996.
Penn State International Dance Ensemble Endowment
This tour of Compagnie Käfig is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.