By John Owoo
(In Tunis – Tunisia)
The 2023 edition of Carthage International Dance Festival (JCOC) opened last Saturday with a brilliant performance of “Archipel”, a piece choreographed by the acclaimed French director, Mathilde Monnier at the Théâtre des Régions Cité De La Culture in the Tunisian capital, Tunis.
A prolific collaboration by the Ballet de l’Opera de Tunis and the Choreographique du Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Dance de Paris, the production encompassed dancers and other professionals with varying degrees of expertise and experience.
The piece equally brought some important points on multiculturalism and social-cohesion with its twenty-four dancers who criss-crossed the dance floor with diverse movements and sequences that moved into each other with relative ease.
With gently paced movements, the dancers called on the audience to embrace and immerse themselves in unacquainted sceneries and revel in the joy of discovering new territories while making the best out of the situation.
Accompanied by diverse music interspersed with episodes of silence – they moved as if they have been programmed as they passed by each other with very little upper body movement and without “noticing” each other – thereby keeping the audience un suspense as to what comes next.
Earlier, a musical trio comprising Kel Assouf (Niger), Imed Alibi and Michel Marre (Tunisia) alongside the Burkinabe dancer / choreographer Salia Sanou entertained the audience with tunes composed for the occasion that were dedicated to Africa.
Director of JCOC, Sélim Ben Safia underlined the importance of the festival stressing that the various performances and round table discussions were designed to ensure the growth and development of the act of dance while enhancing collaboration among institutions and countries.
The Minister of Cultural Affairs, Dr. Hayet Germessi Getat, who opened the festival said JCOC represents a special place among international cultural events organized and hosted by Tunisia as it promotes choreographic works while attracting new audiences.
She added that employing the human body as a medium of artistic creation while showcasing expressive and visually stunning movements is a highly commendable feat adding that the Ministry will continue to support the festival.
Partners of the festival include Théatre de l’Opera, Institut National du Patrimoine, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Dance de Paris, Archipel, Prohelvitia, Djerba, Institut Français, Institut Fraçais Tunisie, ODV and No’o Cultures.
Pictures – Courtesy of JCOC