By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
W.O.M.B. – a dance piece choreographed by Julienne Doko that reflect on various issues relating to the female body was recently performed in a number of venues in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.
Monitored online by www.artsghana.org, the piece, which involved two other female dancers – Naa Ayele (Ghana) and Meire Santos (Brazil), explored the female creative force and how it manifests itself through movement.
Employing subtle body movements, W.O.M.B. equally touched on the subject of acceptance – indeed, accepting pain, altered body shapes, changes in skin elasticity and the inner / outer transformation of women as they paid glowing tribute to parenthood and the ability to create life.
Interspersed with agitated movements, the trio interrogated stereotypes through the piece, which was strewn with highly effective imagery while commenting on “stretch marks” – which has assumed negative connotations over the years – despite it being acquired through the process of childbirth.
With a rather bare scenography characterized by lemons littering the stage, the dancers showcased movements that are poignant and compelling while revealing energy, emotion and interwoven layers of well-structured images that managed to keep the attention of viewers.
Clad in low-cut blouses and boxer shorts with colourful African fabrics designed by Charlotte Østergaard, the combination of choreography by Doko and music from Gert Østergaard Pedersen gently echoed and powered messages being transmitted through the performance.
Originally from the Central African Republic, Doko grew up in France where she trained in ballet, jazz and hip hop at different schools in Paris. She equally studied different traditional and contemporary styles of dance such as jazz, traditional / contemporary African / modern dance, samba and Afro-Brazilian in Universities in France, Canada and the United States.
Trained at the Noyam African Dance Academy in Ghana, Ayele has performed in several major dance pieces choreographed by Ghanaian dance guru Prof F. Nii Yartey and toured in Europe and other African countries while working on diverse projects in a number of countries.
A graduate in modern and contemporary dance from Escola de Dance / FUNCEB in Salvador Bahia (Brazil), Santos’ knowledge about Samba and Afro-Brazilian traditional dances makes her the top reference in Brazilian dance in Copenhagen. Indeed, she created Casa da Cultura Afro-Brasileira, which she directed for over a decade.
The performances were funded by Statens Kunstfond, Bikubenfonden, Gramex / Copydan and Nordic Culture Point, Mikkel Søndergaard Kryger and prfrm – produktion og formidling af scenekunst.
Pix – Julie Malmstrøm