Radhouane El Meddeb - À MON PÈRE, UNE DERNIÈRE DANSE ET UN PREMIER BAISER

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concept & choreography

Radhouane El Meddeb

 

performed by

Radhouane El Meddeb

 

art work

Malek Gnaoui

scenography

Annie Tolleter

 

lighting design

Xavier Lazarini

 

sound design

Olivier Renouf

 

costume

Cidalia Da Costa

artistic collaborator

Moustapha Ziane

 

technical direction

Bruno Moinard

sound & plaster

Christophe Zurfluh

management, production

Bruno Viguier

bookings, production

Gerco de Vroeg

duration 50 minutes, no intermission
 

language no problem

 

availability open

touring party 4 pax

freight none

TO MY FATHER, ONE LAST DANCE AND A FIRST KISS

 

"In my dream, I was alone, in a very large space, facing one particular person: my father. At that moment, I confessed.

My father died 6 years ago, without prior notice, alone, in the morning. He left us all of a sudden. No time to bid him farewell… And yet, I still would have liked to tell him so many things, I would have liked to tell him about my life, far away from him, confessing secrets and dancing in front of him… Now he is gone, and will never return." Radhouane El Meddeb

Radhouane El Meddeb signs a touching solo… A moving farewell full of secret revelations of the body. » … « A writing combining refinement, strength, sincerity and sensitivity, plasticity and metaphor » … « An intimate and powerful solo where the unique presence of the body reveals the absence of all others. »  … « profoundly necessary » …

coproduction La Compagnie de SOI coproduction Festival Montpellier Danse 2016, La Briqueterie Centre de Développement Chorégraphique du Val de Marne à Vitry-sur-Seine, Pôle Sud - Centre de Développement Chorégraphique de Strasbourg.

with the support of CND, national art center for dance, artist residency.

"In Venice, one day, at an exhibition, I stopped, dumbfounded, in front of a video. Steve Paxton improvising on Goldberg Variations. It was a big shock to me, an earthquake. One man, dancing alone, stopping his movements to have a look at his audience, dancing, sweating. I was struck.


In front of that video, the figure of my father, my dear deceased father, appeared all of a sudden, as well as that of my own body dancing on that music! I had remained motionless in front of that video for a very long time… It looked as if Steve Paxton and Johann Sebastian Bach’s music had been able together to carry me away to another dimension, in which I could meet my father again and actually stand in front of him.

And then, the feeling of missing my father, the beauty of Steve Paxton’s video and Bach’s extraordinary music have immediately upset me and made me want to dance. « To my father, one last dance and a first kiss », the mirror of a last kiss that I was forbidden, and one last dance that could have been the first, which we would have shared, suddenly appeared to me as obvious.

The kiss comes first, because it initiates both, for my father and myself, a new way of saying things; the dance comes last, because this one usually happens late in the evening, it is the one you have in order to make the pleasure last, and to give way to confessions.


In fact, Bach’s music is carrying confessions, with some bursts of voice and whispers, with its staccato rhythm and by the smoothness which sometimes settles down, just like two people who eventually understand each other.

 

To my father, I wished to tell him all that I could have never been able to say to him, what I had never taken time to tell and what I had never dared tell him.

Fear, and our own culture, the way in which we used to live together had always hindered this need to say things, and when I felt the need to do it, I had a lack of courage and strength, maybe even conviction, because, in the end, what was the point of it all?

 

Today, I know that speaking to him, who is absent and far from me, as if I were confessing myself, telling him all my tenderness, revealing to him how burdensome and bitter the secret and the silence were, and revealing to him, how much dancing has allowed me to exorcize myself.

Nowadays, Bach’s music may express a life lived to the full, that is often clear and sometimes confused and restless, accepted preferences, often painfully. A life that had not been a consequence of a choice, but was simply a lifetime itinerary in quest of intensity and truth. But there is also in this dance and this kiss, which my father had not seen, what I would have been able to announce to him, that his country has gone through a revolution ! The Tunisians have succeeded one day in getting rid once and for

all of the monster, the dictator... 

 

« I dream of voting freely before dying » , he said to me one day...
 

To my father, I wish to tell him about the revolution, about the change and the hope of a whole Arab people for a better world, free and just. With my father, I would like to share the confusion, the threat of an extremist and obscure ideology, the thought of a better future. To my father, I want to scream my anger and my anxieties, in a world that is more and more violent, howling and chaotic.

 

All this, I have done it in my dream, in this huge space where he was facing me.

He invites me to dance my secrets, my enigma and my intimacy.

Dancing my freedom, our freedom.

Dancing threats, danger and the void.

What we are today; and the person I am.

 

I will write my confessions with gestures, like words, and with movements, like sentences. I will tell him my life story. I will also express, through dancing, the hesitation of a sentence that begins, and that is resumed elsewhere, that does not know where to begin with, like the Variations that brush the theme though the pianist’s fingers and give a variety of approaches. Stronger, softer, different, piano, pianissimo. Strong when it proclaims and demands. And sometimes softer, like a murmur, when it confesses.

 

The dance itself will be written, as it were, on music paper, very fine, at edges, and music will be there to support, cover, carry and give me strength and courage. It is already tinged with the bittersweet taste of nostalgia, not like folklore or like going back to our beginnings, but like a beloved’s voice still ringing in our ears, an intonation, a way of saying words, a way of whispering in someone’s ear, all that Bach’s music contains." Radhouane El Meddeb

DATES
 

22 February 2019

Theater Freiburg, Freiburg-im-Brisgau (DE)

10 May 2018

Festival Fabbrica Europa / Stazione Leopolda, Florence (IT)

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21 November 2017

Dansem Festival / Théâtre Joliette, Marseille (FR)

18 November 2017

NEXT Festival / De Kortrijkse Schouwburg, Kortrijk (BE)

27 July 2017

Festival Bolzano Danza / Teatro Comunale, Bolzano (IT)

18 March 2017

La Ferme du Buisson, Scène nationale, Noisiel (FR)

15 March 2017

Pôle Sud, CDCN, Strasbourg (FR)

14 March 2017

Pôle Sud, CDCN, Strasbourg (FR)

8 March 2017

La Biennale de la danse du Val-de-Marne / La Briqueterie, Vitry-sur-Seine (FR)

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2 July 2016

Festival Montpellier Danse, Montpellier (FR)

1 July 2016

Festival Montpellier Danse, Montpellier (FR) - premiere

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PRESS

« His work has an integrity and a theatrical spacing that makes for absorbing viewing » New York Times

« Radhouane El Meddeb signe un solo touchant (…) Émouvants adieux funèbres, tremblants et plein de secrètes confidences de corps ! Geneviève Charras, L’amuse danse !


« Le dos d’El Meddeb est nu. Il remplace le visage, car ses plis, ses articulations, ses contractions et étirements sont aussi riches et détaillés que toute mimique faciale. Les épaules, les bras, les omoplates, les poignets et les mains forment des sculptures, des paysages, des signes. On n’a pas vu de composition dorsale aussi subtile et évocatrice depuis que Raimund Hoghe nous dévoila les siennes.
(…) L’intense clarté des images ne se dément jamais, comme s’il mettait en mouvements un poème de Mahmoud Darwish. Quelques fragments des Variations Goldberg traversent l’espace, légers comme des cumulus. A l’œuvre, les doigts de Glenn Gould. C’est l’improvisation de Steve Paxton sur le fameux enregistrement qui inspira à El Meddeb ce baiser chorégraphique, comme on peut rêver de s’envoler sur un tapis sonore, pour parler aux défunts. Et si le père pouvait voir son fils ainsi, il se rendrait compte de la maturité acquise de Radhouane chorégraphe qui affirme de plus en plus une écriture alliant épure, force, sincérité et sensibilité, plasticité et métaphore. » Thomas Hahn, Danser Canal Historique

 

« De son exil choisi, le chorégraphe danse donc ce qu’il n’aurait pu danser en Tunisie. Mais toujours avec pudeur. Avec une douleur qui le tient à l’écart de la provocation, quand bien même il dénonce sans s’en cacher ce qui dans ses deux pays part à la dérive. « Vivre loin de ma famille et de mon pays est une peine dont je ne ma remettrai jamais. J’aime ma vie en France et ne pense pas en changer, mais je sens dans mon corps un chagrin. Dans ma danse, aussi. » La Tunisie dans les hanches, Radhouane fait un pont entre les deux rives et de la Méditerranée et entre les époques. Celle de son père, où l’on rêvait d’une Tunisie libre. Et celle des jeunes générations. Malgré sa déception postrévolutionnaire, il trouve dans cet entre-deux la force de se tenir debout et de nourrir ses gestes et ceux de ses interprètes de sa sensibilité voyageuse. De sa nostalgie dans l’espoir d’une démocratie vraiment juste. En France comme en Tunisie. »  Anaïs Heluin, Le Point Afrique

« Le chorégraphe Radhouane el Meddeb livre avec A mon père, une dernière danse et un premier baiser un solo intimiste et puissant où l’unique présence d’un corps dévoile l’absence de tous les autres. (…) Mais bien au-delà de sa seule intention biographique la pièce tisse autour de lui une délicate pudeur, et la scénographie épurée est toujours auréolée de la présence envoûtante du danseur qui choisit avec justesse de ne donner à voir que le cheminement d’un seul geste. Radhouane El Meddeb nous livre ici un solo austère mais profondément nécessaire qui se déploie dans un temps suspendu, essentiel pour que se déploie l’émoi d’un corps traversé par le mouvement. »
Wilson Le Personnic, Ma Culture

 
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