YOUNESS ABOULAKOUL - MILLE MILES
Youness Aboulakoul © François Stemmer
Youness Aboulakoul © François Stemmer
Youness Aboulakoul © François Stemmer
Shani Breton &
KUMQUAT | performing arts
Gerco de Vroeg)
2 March 2022, Festival Sens Dessus Dessous, Les SUBS, Lyon (FR)
approx. 60 minutes
as from March 2022
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If we could redefine the world and retrace its borders, what would our societies look like? Five dancers and a set design in perpetual movement build a sensitive experience of territory.
Bringing together five dancers, Youness Aboulakoul questions the world, its borders in their spatial and human dimensions and the resonance that our body could have if those were to change. How can we rebuild society, recreate a space for the rebirth of human bonds and learn to live together again? How are the connections between individuals shaped in this border space and what dance gesture would emerge from this "space-in-between"? To the rhythm of electronic and traditional Moroccan music, the bodies accompany and shape the scenography, where the spaces that are created show the different forms of ties that are woven between individuals.
Mille Miles is a set of manifestations of resistance against a world which tends towards confinement on oneself, which subjects us to excessive demands, to stress and tension with the multiplication of borders of all forms. If today we have the opportunity to redefine the world, to redraw new frontiers, what could our world, our societies look like, how will it modify and transform the movement of our body and what dance can emerge from it?
In Mille Miles, the performers’ dance joins the dance of the set design – a choreographer-architecture or an architect-dance – in which spaces are being contoured, appearing and disappearing just like the communities employing these fields. More than ever, the border is highlighted here as a fundamentally fluid area, in constant metamorphosis and entailing the transformation of bodies and spaces. The dancers, whether they wander freely or whether they control their movements, deconstruct and reconstruct their parameter, their dance, their time of existence in a way that allows them to make manifest a sensory experience of the territory, questioning the perception of space and its mobility in new different ways.
Production Cie Ayoun
Co-production Théâtre Jean Vilar, Vitry-sur-Seine (FR) / Les SUBS, en partenariat avec la Maison de la danse, Lyon (FR) / Centre Chorégraphique National Roubaix Hauts-de-France – Sylvain Groud dans le cadre de l’accueil-studio, Roubaix (FR) / Charleroi Danse, Bruxelles/Charleroi (BE) / La Place de la Danse - CDCN Toulouse Occitanie, Toulouse (FR) / Montpellier Danse, Montpellier (FR)
Studio loan La Briqueterie - CDCN du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine (FR) / Chaillot, Théâtre national de la danse, Paris (FR) / CN D, Centre national de la danse, Pantin (FR)
With the support of DRAC Ile-de-France, Ministry of culture (Paris, FR) / Caisse des dépôts Mécénat (FR) / Conseil départemental du Val-de-Marne / AFAC (Arab Fund for Arts & Culture)
6 - 11 July 2020 - residency @ Théâtre Jean Vilar, Vitry-sur-Seine (FR)
7 - 12 September 2020 - residency @ La Briqueterie, CDCN du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine (FR)
17 - 21 May 2021 - residency @ Agora de Montpellier Danse, Montpellier (FR)
1 - 7 July 2021 - residency @ CCN Roubaix-Hauts-de-France, Roubaix (FR)
20 - 25 September 2021 - residency @ La Place de la danse, CDCN, Toulouse (FR)
8 - 12 November 2021 - residency @ Charleroi Danse / Les Écuries , Charleroi (BE)
7 - 11 February 2022 - residency @ La Briqueterie, CDCN du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine (FR)
14 - 19 February 2022 - residency @ Maison de la danse, Lyon (FR)
21 - 28 February 2022 - residency @ Les SUBS, Lyon (FR)
2 March 2022 - Festival Sens Dessus Dessous, Les SUBS / Maison de la danse, Lyon (FR) - premiere
3 March 2022 - Festival Sens Dessus Dessous, Les SUBS / Maison de la danse, Lyon (FR)
19 April 2022 - Théâtre Jean Vilar, Vitry-sur-Seine (FR)
As an extension of his first solo « Today Is a Beautiful Day », Youness Aboulakoul continues his choreographic reflection on the ways in which violence affects the body and resonates in it. His dance shows how violence is embodied and becomes physically present: whether it is a source of stimulation or a source of trauma, what traces does it leave in the memory of one’s flesh? How does brutality mobilise the space in which it manifests itself? By what means is it possible to oppose resistance to violence and what kind of bodies does this opposition create? Since the aestheticization of violence produces the risk of a certain habituation, going as far as the danger of a complete desensitization, leading to the annihilation of critical reflection, the choreographer’s aim is to render the public more aware in relation to this issue as he delivers a vision that actually goes against violence.
This second project – which is also the choreographer’s first group performance – seeks to expand the aforementioned theoretical intentions without necessarily proposing a “continuation”. Mille Miles thus focuses on the notion of border and on its potential to generate conflicts, tensions and oppositions. Youness Aboulakoul projects the limit, as contained in the notion of border, in its physical, symbolic and imaginary dimensions in order to emphasize all its ambivalent possibilities. Dividing line or threshold of transgression, the limit contains just as much as it restrains, it protects just as much as it rejects, it allows the passage just as much as it bans the crossing of the border. It is simultaneously visible and invisible, tangible and unperceived, marked on the ground and instilled in one’s intellect. These paradoxes are all the more reinforced in this performance as the choreographer intends to highlight current events; at a time when important mass migrations are taking place, the notion of frontier is seen as a political, social and cultural issue of major concern.
As long as it can shape itself in the form of a horizon or of an imaginary line that moves just as much as we make it move, the frontier is an object that naturally privileges the act of creation. Constituted as an ultimate transitory space establishing the passage from one territory to another, it opens the path to a form of unknown that favours the production of dreams, fantasies and psychological projections. At the same time, it also represents a prohibition susceptible of generating anxiety, fear and mistrust, gradually becoming an agent of withdrawal into oneself. Simultaneously designed as a factor of opening and a means of enclosing, a tool for unification as well as for disconnection, the border can be compared to a synaptic space, an area that is at once intermediary and to a certain extent indeterminate, a place where everything can be invented.
At the border, time and space are both moulded into new forms. They seem to be suspended and we evolve on their surface as if they were wires.
Throughout this process, hybridization constitutes an operation that the choreographer highly privileges in order to activate a fantastic universe composed of human beings and objects, of characters that are half-objects, half-human beings who are trying to coexist, communicate and live together. Within the dynamics between real and unreal, between nature and culture, it is the dramaturgy of the ambiguous that one sees developing, revealing both the wondrous and the dreadful.
Dramaturgical and scenography-related aspects
Treating the border as an interstice favorable to transformation, the intention of the performance is to make play within the same game the terms of different oppositions which find, via stage, multiple occasions to become bodies (fiction /reality, stage /public, human /object…). Suppressing the limits between corporeity, light, sound and objects, the purpose is to put in place a marvelous, fantastic landscape where common categories of perception are shaken.
Furthermore, the incessant displacement of frontiers will be materialized throughout retractable wires, similar to those found in the museums in order to organize the flow and lead the circulation. The dancers will manipulate them live, tracing lines of different colors as they like, witch they will connect, follow, cross, thus tempting to reshape the contours of their respective territories and reorganize the geography of the stage set.
From the point of view of the bodily states and of the physicality here in view, our research focuses on the following notions:
- the continuity: the fluidity, the line that traces its contours, the passage, the transfer
the discontinuity: the breach, the broken line, the blockage, the control, the suspension
The writing is equally directed by a principle of contamination. Each action entails a whole series of consequences that are meant to be heard and felt from one corner to another of the stage, so that the gestures of each of the performers respond mutually in a system of echoes and resonances. Assembled harmonies, juxtaposed synchronisations – there is a collective writing that flourishes through the act of sharing.
This logic is nonetheless contradicting itself when it comes to treating the border as a place of control, potentially violent. The choreographic writing integrates the gestural language of tension: to repel, to constrain oneself, to activate oneself as an obstacle, to survey oneself, to control oneself, to defend one’s perimeter or simply overcome one’s fear to transgress the border.
The spatialization of sound will be at the heart of the composition for Mille Miles. Together with Zouheir Atbane we would like to express sound as a form in movement, a form that will allow the spectator to perceive the architecture of space differently. I would indeed try to move the spectators from their static position to a full immersion in the soundscape, inviting them to cross the border the fourth wall.
The sound creation of the piece results from the encounter between two musical universes that I find of interest:
The first one concerns the electronic music of the early 1970s which, in a way, marked the alienation of the modern world from technology. It is a form of music that has pushed back boundaries, allowed a new territory to be gained and given the possibility for a new sound space to exist. Repetition, distortion, modulation, echo, these are strong features that characterize this electronic sound universe.
The second concerns the music of Ayta (Aïta), which is among the oldest Moroccan musical genres. It is a genre that was born following the arrival of the first Arab tribes of the east in Morocco, the meeting between two cultures, Arab and Berbers gave birth to Al AYTA. It is a musical genre that has evolved in form (instruments, structures and sound scores) and in content (the nature of the songs) according to the space and the political situation in which these tribes lived.
From a nomadic life, to central political stability, then from colonial occupation to independence, all these facts have participated in the evolution of Ayta (Aïta) and the role that this musical genre played in Moroccan society.
I would like Zouheir to bring together these two musical universes that represent two very different sound territories, explore the space of their intersection, their rhythms, push their limits and be inspired by them to create the original music of Mille Miles.