By John Owoo
(In Abidjan – La Côte d’Ivoire)
Robust dancer / choreographer Agathe Djokam never ceases to surprise audiences whenever she mounts the stage – and she did pull a huge one at the ongoing MASA festival in the Ivorian capital Abidjan.
Performing her latest piece titled “A Qui Le Tour?” at a plush theatre in the Palais de la Culture, the young dancer showcased arresting images as she exposed the threads of life’s experiences with a body overlain by tremors.
In sharing the frustration and depression associated with mourning, the Cameroonian opened the performance at the foyer of the theatre with a skipping rope – and virtually skipped for fifteen minutes and continued the act even as the rope fell off signifying a state of confusion.
As she found her way onto the stage, she descended into her own world and exhibited convulsive body shakes, quivering and self-torture while managing to sustain alternation between calmness and anguish.
With distinct movements – all of which depicted distress and torment – the dancer who was clad in black, effectively employed her body not only to show or expose the feeling of anxiety but equally illustrated how to manage, cope and dispel it.
In a performance that witnessed constant movement on stage, the Hung Dance Company from Taiwan delivered a piece that is quite unclear but engulfed the theatre with fast moving scenes that caught eyes with every move.
Dubbed “Boundless”, the production radiated agitation and turmoil – indeed, conflict is clearly invoked through clenched fists, flying legs, wild stares, shadowy battles and sexually aggressive drives that come into play severally and jointly.
Choreographed by Lai Hung-Chung, the piece was characterized by long sequences in which dancers fall and bounce back on their feet with lightening speed while images move in a rather fast yet in near unsystematic manner.
MASA is a cultural platform for promoting African Performing arts with the objectives of supporting creativity and quality productions while facilitating the movement of artists and their works within the African continent.