Maboungou: Coaxing coherency between physicality and musicality
Congolese traditions find new life in the electrifying new work of Zab Maboungou
first time you see Zab Maboungou perform, you'll leave never quite
forgetting what you just saw. The Congo-raised dancer-choreographer and
philosopher is immensely popular, and her dance is rendered all the
more appealing because she's able to articulate intelligence and spirit
in her movement.
The new solo, Décompte, sees Maboungou and
her Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata celebrating 20 years of active creation
and teaching. In essence, she's putting it all together, seeing the
traces of time, surveying the terrain, analyzing what's left and what
lies ahead. Her work challenges the idea of abstraction, pushing the
boundaries of shape. Shifts in time, space and worldview - all
inherently African concepts - are what inform it.
is Maboungou's symbiotic integration of dance and music. "More than
ever I don't separate music and dance," she says. In Décompte,
she is able to coax a coherency between the physicality and the
musicality, and what she elicits from her musicians (two conga players
and solo cellist) is organic. The notion of making sense of things is
perfectly suited to Maboungou's choice of including J.S. Bach's warm,
powerful Prelude from Suite no. 2 in D minor to accompany the rhythmic drumming.
Twenty years into her career, Maboungou's engagement in the world of ideas, with its strong links in the African oral society,
still carries sway. Art, for
her, is "being able to assume yourself as a person, as an entity,
exchanging, dialoguing," she says. Essential Maboungou means asserting
oneself in the dance space, deeply rooted in the spectrum of tradition.
No more, no less.
Décompte Agora de la Danse (840 Cherrier), until Oct. 13
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