By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
A peculiar silence engulf the outdoor stage at the Alliance Française in Accra – as a rather cold breeze – a product of low lying clouds that moved into the city from the Gulf of Guinea create a cool atmosphere.
Alongside highly dimmed lights, six dancers move on stage with controlled precision, probably just as prescribed by the choreographer. They gradually engage in monologues that remind mankind or our duties to mother nature.
Choreographed by French dance connoisseur Valerie Miquel, “Back to our Roots” employs a dramatic fusion of movement, text, music, video effects and sound that effectively evolve into a production that comments on one of the critical issues facing the world at large.
“Miquel seduced us with “Wake Up”, now she has mesmerized us with “Back to our Roots”, which is conveying a vey important message to world – I am looking forward to yet another production from this wonderful choreographer”, said Naa Kwale Quartey, an artist / fashion designer in Accra.
Undeniably, “Back to our Roots”, is tenderly moving and compelling. It is a dance theatre with so much energy, emotion and interwoven layers of well-structured imagery that managed to keep the cheering audience on the edge of their seats.
Interspersed with energizing solos and duets, the six dancers comprising Miquel, Fatima Fadel, Cherryl Nortey, Omoyemi Davies, Pucky Lucky and Emma Amerwornu revealed their talent and expertise as this intellectually satisfying and visually stimulating production progressed.
With colorful costumes, some of which have fanciful designs, they move in coordinated precision – fore arms flaying, heads turning, legs shooting high in the air – alongside gestures that question our respect to nature and the consequences that seem eminent if we fail to do so.
With video effects by Delphy Photography, they equally employ traditional drums and giant calabashes that effectively blend with smart variations from the choreography. In the process, the dancers move in and out of the stage with swiftness that tends to go in sync with the rather strong and consistent dancing.
An acclaimed choreographer/ dancer, Miquel who is the vice president of CID-UNESCO, has received many awards for her work and is respected for diverse productions including “Kadogos”, “The Power of Hope”, “Cry for Women’s Dignity”, “Solidarity” and “Wake Up”.
Alliance Française in Accra supported the production.