By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
An inspiring, issue driven and cutting edge performance by talented dancers over the weekend received a rapturous applause from a near capacity audience at the Alliance Française in Accra.
Titled “Wake Up”, the piece boldly questions the degradation and destruction of the environment with an amazing combination of expressive movements alongside grace, speed, power, rhyme and rhythm that reflected the current state of the earth.
Choreographed by Valerie Miquel, the performance remained entertaining and accessible despite dealing with hard facts that has bedeviled the environment over the past few decades. Unprecedented hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis and the gradually disappearance of the arctic ice is a clear testimony.
“It’s soothing to see artists expressing concern over issues that confront the very existence of living organisms through their work. Undeniably, the choreographer translated the problem of the environment in a highly relatable form”, said Andy Miller, a teacher from the United Kingdom.
Assisted by Julius Yaw Quansah and Vivian Boateng – the dancers, clutching mobile phones and wrapped in rubber bags – managed to take the audience through a journey of self-reflection with rapid and restrained movements that highlighted the current state of the environment.
With near seamless transitions and carefully crafted sequencing, Miquel displayed a rich vision of movement vocabulary that was effectively accompanied by her remarkable talent and strong voice, which reminded the audience to save the environment before it’s too late.
Interspersed with music by Nicolas Baby-Niktus and Werner Goos, she incorporated diverse emotions ranging from yearning, ignorance, recklessness, playfulness and gentleness as the stage was engulfed with energy, purposefulness and warmth.
With a number of dance pieces to her credit, Miquel began her study of classical dance at age six and started dancing professionally at age twelve for Janine Solane’s Dance Company. She has equally choreographed and directed the Uganda National Contemporary Ballet.