La Baraka company
Algerian Cultural Agency and United Communes of Annone
French Choreographer of Algerian descent Abu Lagraa is well-known among modern dance lovers of France. Winner of many awards, Abu Lagraa is a dancer, pedagogue, founder and leader of La Baraka company and author of many musical/choreographic pieces that have toured in Europe, America, Algeria, Tunisia and Indonesia. The diptych for 10 dancers Nya is the first work by Lagraa to be presented in Moscow. In the first part the dancers are exploring the space of Ravel's music and in the second one they perform to the accompaniment of the Algerian songs by Uria Aichi. By blending together a variety of rhythms and cultural domains the choreographer brings his dancers to the state of ecstasy with the purpose of revealing their common nya which in Arabic means faith in life.
Nya is Lagraa's first installment within the framework of the long-term project he is carrying out in Algeria.
It is a mix of hip-hop and modern dance. Two years ago the choreographer traveled to the former French colony where hundreds of young hip-hoppers went through his casting whereafter just ten were selected to go into many-month rehearsals with Lagraa. Now they make the troupe of Algerian National Ballet. Nya means faith in life in the absence of which there is no faith in dance that inspires Lagraa in all his creative endeavors. The first part of the diptych is based on Ravel's Bolero. The music doesn't start at once. It takes time to evolve from the sounds of the Oriental town, car honks and inviting shouts of market hawkers. The dancers in colorful loose T-shirts storm in from this off-stage world to dive into the slow yet persistent rhythms of Ravel's music. They are drifting up and down the empty stage swinging between the two worlds and ultimately reaching the state of ecstasy.
If in the first part the dancers are exploring the refined European music; in the second one they appear as well-coached performers of modern dance dressed in elegant black outfits with turquoise lapels. Having acquired these new identities they seem to be longing to go back to the old world that gave birth to all of them. The second part of Lagraa's ballet is danced to the Arabic songs reflecting strong Sufi motifs and performed by Algerian singer Uria Aichi. Alternating solo and group numbers the dancers are kind of weighing up the powers of individuals whereby the performance becomes a choreographic meditation on the correlation of the collective and the individual. And only in the final scene the trickling water downstage seems to bring peace of mind just like water in an oasis in the African dessert gives peace to a wayfarer.
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