Acclaimed Swiss contemporary dance artist Foofwa d’Imobilité and his company bring two innovative dance pieces to Southern Africa in September 2010. ‘The Making of Spectacles’ and ‘Pina Jackson in Mercemoriam’ will be performed in Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg, as well as Maputo and Antananarivo. Company members include Ruth Childs, Filibert Tologo and Anja Schmidt. Their visit forms part of a tour presented by Pro Helvetia Cape Town, the Swiss Arts Council.
In ‘The Making of Spectacles’, audiences are invited to collaborate with the artistic team in order to compose a unique performance. The elements presented – dance phrases, dramatic scenarios, music, lighting design, and costuming – are carefully crafted in advance and offered as tools to the spectators for the creation of a dance to their taste. After playful, democratic voting, where humour is invited, the spectators can enjoy the synthesis of their group decisions.
“My work as a choreographer” says Foofwa, “has had me ‘dancerunning’ through the streets of Cairo, counting votes of the audience as they chose the outcome of a dance, and using my face to animate a Francis Bacon painting. I am interested in finding the appropriate form in order to express a particular concept, and as a result, my pieces are very different in look and structure.”
Foofwa, born Frédéric Gafner in Geneva, was a student of the late Merce Cunningham, one of the great creative forces of American dance. His solo and collaborative works have earned him numerous international awards, including a New York “Bessie Award” (1995) and more recently an individual Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York (2009). His work also has graced the stages of the Paris Opera, the Fenice Theatre in Venice, Italy, the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York and over 40 other cities in Europe.
Because he employs various theatrical modes and his choreography is full of play, illusion and risk, Foofwa’s work has been hard to categorise. Pure dance, theatrical dance, experimental theatre, performance art, mime, and even stand-up comedy are amongst genres describing his work.
‘The Making of Spectacles’ will be performed at the Little Theatre, Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street in Cape Town. Performances are at 20h00 on 13 and 14 September. Tickets are R40. Call 021 480 7129 or e-mail email@example.com to book.