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concept, dance

Radhouane El Meddeb


many thanks to

Marie de Heaulme, Salia Sanou and the Centre National de la Danse, Pantin (FR)


lighting and technical coordination

Xavier Lazarini



60 to 90 minutes

“In my family I have always carefully observed my mother and my aunts preparing couscous. Our national dish, served at every occasion: marriages, circumcisions, mourning… One same dish for the different events which punctuate the same existence. One constant: the love of preparation, and the sensuality of the produce in a form of sacredness, of solemnity in this moment of sharing; independent of the circumstances which have brought this meal together.


Through this performance “Je danse et vous en donne à bouffer”, I’m immersed once more in the things I love: dancing and cooking. In handling vegetables, semolina, meat and spices; while giving free rein to my body to get back into dance. The evocative title lets you easily imagine what this performance might be. Seated before my couscous maker, I prepare a couscous and I dance with all the grandeur, generosity and poetry of these two arts. Between tomato concentrate, courgettes, carrots and cinnamon: a leap, a glance, a suspension or a rupture. Between the semolina and a chassé croisé, the dish simmers. “It smells good, there’s singing, dancing… even eating!!!” Close to the idea of synaesthesia, this choreographic offering evokes all the senses. Seated here and there across the performance area, spectators find themselves seized by the perfumes drifting through the air. The deployment of my body follows the slow diffusion of the food’s perfumes; the length of the performance determined by the cooking time. Odour - something rarely approached in live shows for the most part – makes for a delightful confusion of the senses for all guests.” Radhouane El Meddeb




"The French Tunisian artist’s solo performance is an understated and beautifully executed exploration of gender, culture, and the sacred. And it lingers deliciously in the mind." Katie Pelletier, in: The Portland Mercury, 17 September 2015


"In his piece, “Je danse et je vous en donne à bouffer”, he cooks and presents a feast of traditional couscous to the awaiting audience while dancing to and being absorbed in the evocative music of his region. Amidst the exotic aromas of the cooking, the dance captures the style and familial rituals of his cultural background." Nicola Rider, March 3, 2010


"Anyone who’s cooked a big dish while just trying to hold a conversation with someone else can sympathize with the challenge Meddeb set himself while controlling both the room and the cooking process for over an hour". Nim Wunnan, "The Dance of the Cook, the Cook of the Dance", in: Oregon Artswatch, 18 September 2015


"After eating a delicious meal, there is often a flavor you can’t get out of your mind: the cinnamon, the clove. For me, after this performance it wasn’t the spiciness of the stew that the audience was invited onstage to eat, but rather El Meddeb’s facial expressions that I couldn’t stop thinking about. At times impish, then weary, or generous, or lost in thought. Heartbroken. Longing. El Meddeb came to dance through theatre, and here you can see the great boon to his art that this background brings. What is dramatized is not just the performance of food preparation, but also the way the context of the preparation might or might not intrude. This meal was served at his sister’s wedding. At his father’s funeral."  Katie Pelletier, in: The Portland Mercury, 17 September 2015


The premiere of the piece took place in 2008 at the Centre national de la danse in Pantin, France. The piece was performed, among others, at:

Théâtre d’Arles, Arles (FR) | Festival Plastique danse flore, Potager du Roi, Versailles (FR) | Festival Dansem 2009, Marseille (FR) | Woking Dance Festival, Woking (UK) | Liverpool arabic arts festival, Liverpool (UK) | RomaEuropa Festival 2010, Rome (IT) | Académie de France, Villa Medicis, Rome (IT) | Bilbao Antzerkia Dantza (BAD) XII Festival de Théâtre et de Danse Contemporaine, Bilbao (ES) | 104, Centquatre, Paris (FR) | Swedish 10th Theatre Biennial, Gävle (SV) | London Arab Arts Festival, Sadlers Wells, London (UK) | Festival Liteside, Amsterdam (NL) | Terni Teatro Stabile dell’ Umbria Festival Es.Terni (IT) | Prato Fondazione Teatro Metastasio (IT) | La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel (FR) | North Fourth Art Center in Albuquerque , New Mexico (USA) | 104, Centquatre, Paris (FR) | Miami Light project (USA) | Teatro Comunale, Ferrara (IT) | La Filature, Mulhouse (FR) | Festival Tours d’horizon, Tours (FR) | Cuisines en Friche Fiche la Belle de Mai, Marseille (FR) | Hangar 23, Rouen (FR) | TNBA, Bordeaux (FR)





most recent and upcoming tour dates

18 November 2016

17 November 2016

12 March 2016

15 October 2015

14 October 2015

16 September 2015

15 September 2015


Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (USA)

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (USA)

Centre Culturel Jean Houdremont, La Courneuve (FR)

CANGO - Cantieri Internazionale, Florence (IT)

CANGO - Cantieri Internazionale, Florence (IT)

TBA Festival, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (USA)

TBA Festival, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (USA)




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