By John Owoo
(In Abidjan – La Côte d’Ivoire)
Dance segment for the 2020 edition of Abidjan Market for Performing Arts Festival opened last night in Abidjan with a variety of groups spread over the African continent.
In a memorable performance at Salle Kodjo Ebouclé, located within Palais de la Culture, the Hakili Sigi Dance Company from Burkina Faso brought a magnetic presence, technique and abundant personality to a duet that simply sparkled like the sun.
Choreographed by Lacina Coulibaly and performed alongside Ibrahim Zongo, the pair perfectly synced sculptural poses while moving in slow motion that often end with their bodies in a supple flow, which is powered by a glowing inner strength.
Employing subtle movements, the duo unfolded the piece titled “Sen Koro La” with highly expressive movements that were effectively bookended by grandiose sequences, which bonded with the spotlights shinning faintly on the stage.
Performing bare-chested with white loincloths on their waists, the two dancers radiated energy in a flurry of moves as their well-crafted bodies – obviously from bodybuilding – transmitted messages on the evocation of sacred choreographic universe and traditional African rites.
Accompanied by diverse recorded music including “Mmensoun” from the OPUS one album composed by Ghanaian musicologist Nana Danso Abiam, Coulibaly and Zongo worked their way into the hearts of members of the audience with nimble actions that gradually turned into swift ones.
Oshala Dance Company from Benin engaged the audience with a choreographed Voodoo dance that showcased the traditions of Voodoo through ritualistic music, dance and magical / mystical performances.
With colorful costumes and Vodoo paraphernalia serving as scenography, the musicians displayed wild rhythms that flowed from an array of traditional drums while vigorous and animated dancers / singers crisscrossed the stage.
They equally presented enthusiastic, frantic and acrobatic dances as well as beautiful, harmonious and rhythmically infectious sounds that encircled the theatre alongside enigmatic and varied percussion.
The 2020 edition of the festival, which was opened by the Ivorian Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan, ends on Saturday March 14. Over one hundred groups and artists are expected to perform in various locations during the festival.