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concept & choreography

Radhouane El Meddeb


performed by

Youness Aboulakoul,

Rémi Leblanc-Messager,

Philippe Lebhar,

Arthur Perole



Annie Tolleter


lighting design

Xavier Lazarini


sound design

Stéphane Gombert


assistant choreographer

Moustapha Ziane



Cécile Perraut with

Feriel Ben Mahmoud


duration 60 minutes, no intermission

language no problem


availability open

touring party 8 pax

freight none (1 extra suitcase)

"For a long time Arabs lived on magical rhythms, those of movies of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s... with all their wonder, their cardboard scenaries, and their misleading and tawdry atmosphere. Actors ceaselessly singing, dancing, loving one another on the screens of numerous cinemas and living room televisions. Without any judgement nor restriction we contemplated this world of gloss, glitter and farce, following those demigod's dramas and humming along their songs. Belly-dancing took its place at the climax of the show or movie and the navel became the object of our fascinated gaze.


Nostalgia seeming distant now, when looking back on this golden age, on those years of glory and fake blondness, the dancing of Arabs appears to be the epicentre of tremors to come, the navel seems to vibrate and twist, on the brink, flirting with chaos. The violence of our world has entered the cardboard sets, reversing them and signifying their end, the end of and era that was nothing but an illusion, a sweet illusion, soft and round.


Au temps où les Arabes dansaient... - Of Times, When the Arabs Used to Dance... - is a distant echo of these songs and dances, approached with the tenderness of hope and remembrance, with the fervor of hearts and bodies. And it's also one of the faces of a cruel present, astonishing and gloomy." (Radhouane El Meddeb)


"With Arab man, it is not that obvious. One might want to ascribe to them some fierce and ostentatious virility. But when they start dancing, an undulating drunkenness is gaining on them, that might appear feminine, even lascivious. Certainly. However, not the pelvis. Here, the taboo seems important: the pelvis belongs to women, they alone can allow themselves to invest this part of the body, the bearer of all symbolics of genitalia and fertility. It is in this strict allocation of sensual registers that Radhouane El Meddeb is playing the trouble-maker." (Gérard Mayen)


"Daring and dashing. Dancer and choreographer Radhouane El Meddeb, after a career as an actor, ventured in the field of oriental dance and gathered around him a group of men. Needless to say that the initiative is not without a certain piquancy and even less lacking subtly provocative spirit, qualities that form, among others, the uniqueness of this engaged artist. Entitled Of Times When The Arabs Used To Dance, this piece for 4 performers, happily obsessed with Arab cinema of the 50’s and 70’s and their deliciously artificial party atmosphere, is to be discovered." (Rosita Boisseau - Télérama sortir, 5 - 11 November 2014)


coproduction La Compagnie de SOI coproduction 104-CENTQUATRE-PARIS, Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier Languedoc-Rousillon (Programme Résidences), Centre de Développement Chorégraphique Toulouse / Midi-Pyrenées (Accueil en résidence), La Filature Scène nationale de Mulhouse, la Ferme du Buisson Scène nationale de Marne la Vallée, the WIP Villette.

with the support of Arcadi Île-de-France and DRAC Île-de-France, the Beaumarchais Foundation and the Centre National du Théâtre.


tour dates

15 - 16 June 2018

26 January 2018

10 - 11 January 2018

10, 11, 12 May 2017

28 March 2017

24 January 2017

19 November 2016

15 November 2016

8 November 2016

16 September 2016

12, 13, 14 May 2016

30 April 2016

29 February 2016


17 October 2015

16 October 2015

25 September 2015

19 September 2015

18 September 2015

15 July 2015

28 April 2015

26 March 2015

19 March 2015

18 February 2015

17 February 2015

16 January 2015


18 December 2014

16 December 2014

7 November 2014

6 November 2014

10 July 2014

9 July 2014

4 March 2014

2 March 2014

1 March 2014

22 February 2014

20 February 2014

18 February 2014

Teatro Municipal, Porto (PT)
Théâtre du Garde-Chasse, Les Lilas (FR)

La Coursive, Scène nationale de La Rochelle (FR)

Le Grand T, Scène nationale, Nantes (FR)

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

Festival Tendance Europe, Maison de la Culture d'Amiens (FR)

Tanzquartier, Wien (AT)

TANDEM, Scène nationale - Arras / Douai (FR)

L'Apostrophe, Scène nationale, L'-Théâtre des Louvrais, Cergy (FR)

Beethovenfest, Bonn (DE)

Centre Pompidou, Paris (FR)

Festival Terres de Paroles, Rouen (FR)

Théâtre du Beauvaisis, Beauvais (FR)


CANGO - Cantieri Internazionale, Florence (IT)

CANGO - Cantieri Internazionale, Florence (IT)

Festival MilanOltre, Milan (IT)

TBA Festival, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (USA)

TBA Festival, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (USA)

Shubbak festival, The Place, London (UK)

Le Toboggan, Centre culturel de Décines (FR)

Muffathalle, Munich (DE)

Dieppe Scène Nationale / DSN, Dieppe (FR)

Pôle Sud, Strasbourg (FR)

Pôle Sud, Strasbourg (FR)

La Filature, Scène nationale, Mulhouse (FR)


Le Moulin du Roc, Scène nationale, Niort (FR)

Dansem Festival, Théâtre Joliette-Minoterie, Marseille (FR)

La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel (FR)

La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel (FR)

Julidans Festival, Amsterdam (NL)

Julidans Festival, Amsterdam (NL)

104 - Centquatre, Paris (FR)

104 - Centquatre, Paris (FR)

104 - Centquatre, Paris (FR)

Théâtre de Saint-Gaudens (Pronomades), Saint-Gaudens (FR)

Théâtre Jules Julien (festival CDC Toulouse, FR)

L'Estive, Scène nationale (festival CDC Toulouse), Foix (FR)

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