Acclaimed Swiss contemporary dance artist Foofwa d’Imobilité will perform Pina Jackson in Mercemoriam as part of GIPCA’s Great Texts / Big Questions lecture series on Thursday 16 September. This free public performance and discussion starts at 17:00 at Hiddingh Hall, UCT’s Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town.
Foofwa d’Imobilité and his company are in South Africa as part of a tour presented by Pro Helvetia Cape Town, the Swiss Arts Council. In Pina Jackson in Mercemoriam, Foofwa d’Imobilité channels the spirits of three “royals” of dance who all passed away within one month of each other: King of Pop, Michael Jackson, Queen of Tanztheater, Pina Bausch, and the Emperor of Dance Merce Cunningham. Avoiding morbid portrayals, Foofwa instead constructs something of a choreographic comedy – a triple “humouriscritic” tribute.
In ‘Pina Jackson in Mercemoriam’, Foofwa d’Imobilité channels the spirits of three “royals” of dance who within one month passed away: King of Pop, Michael Jackson, Queen of Tanztheater, Pina Bausch, and the Emperor of Dance Merce Cunningham. Avoiding morbid portrayals, Foofwa instead constructs something of a choreographic comedy – a triple ‘humouriscritic’ tribute.
“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.
“In the typical GIPCA tradition of creating space for a range of languages that speak to the complexities of contemporary reality, this lecture – with both a performance and a talk – provides a refreshing point of departure and is bound to be compelling viewing,” said Jay Pather, interim director of GIPCA.
UCT’s Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) was established to enhance the arts within the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the broader community, whilst facilitating a broad range of collaborative and interdisciplinary projects. The Great Texts / Big Questions lecture series aims to engender a culture of exchange of ideas, opinion and conjecture.