The SHAPERS cooperation project stems from a longstanding commitment of partners from both shores of the Mediterranean; choreographers, festivals, and venues for art residencies:
Ex Nihilo [Marseilles], Rézodanse [Alexandria], Momkin – espaces de possibles [Marseilles] and Nassim el Raqs [Alexandria], Mes de Danza, International Contemporary Dance Festival [Seville], Espace Darja [Casablanca], Zvrk Festival, International Contemporary Dance Festival [Sarajevo], & In’8 circle – maison de production [Marseilles].
These partners are willing to give a long-term perspective to questions of training, to accompany emerging artistic dynamics in public spaces across the Mediterranean, to share and promote the values of exchange, mutual cooperation and citizenship.
From April 2016 to September 2018, eight young dancers from Egypt, France, Spain, and Morocco are being trained through their participation in the creation of a dance piece, questioning their relationship to the city, to locations, to passers-by, and to public space. The dancers are traveling across the Mediterranean region and Europe, always challenging their dance in new contexts and developing a particular relationship with site-specific work over time.
A series of projects have emerged around this creation to link cultural actors, artists, and audiences, enabling each of them to learn from shared experiences through an equal and sustainable Euro-Mediterranean cooperation; fostering meetings with those who share our thoughts on the matter: artists, journalists, researchers, trainers, architects, urban developers…
SHAPERS was developed through the collaboration of all the co-organising partners in 2015.
This partnership left room for possible future collaborations and some flexibility in running the project, to allow as large a space as possible for collaboration at a grass-roots level and to adjust the project as it unfolded.
The SHAPERS project is co-funded by the European Union Creative Europe Programme, from 2016 to 2018. It was initiated and implemented by Ex Nihilo.
TRAINING THROUGH THE CREATION OF A DANCE PERFORMANCE
Training programme for professional dancers
The training started in April 2016 with a first workshop open to Alexandrian and Cairene dancers within the framework of the Nassim el Raqs festival. The overall project encompasses a comprehensive programme with two workshops, four artistic residencies, four masterclasses, and an international tour. It will end during the summer of 2018.
While the overall training programme is open to eight dancers, workshops and masterclasses target a much wider audience of both professional and transitioning towards becoming professional dancers.
The dance performance
An original dance piece for eight dancers is the backbone of the cooperation project.
A series of four masterclasses will be held in 2017-2018 in Marseilles, Casablanca, Alexandria and Seville. Each masterclass will be delivered by a guest choreographer and held within the partner organization’s premises. It is open to the eight dancers who took part in the creation process as well as to other dancers, either professional or amateur.
DISSEMINATING AND SHARING TO CONTRIBUTE TO SHAPING THE EURO-MED DANCE SCENE
The tour within festivals from the Mediterranean region and beyond is a basis for the mobility of the dancers and the organizing partners of the project, giving an opportunity to showcase this cooperative experience to a wide audience and to stakeholders in the field. It is also a great learning opportunity for the dancers, a source of professional experience, and a way to nourish their own artistic background, through their encounters with different cultures.
Two conferences about dance with a site-specific approach
Two conferences, attended by high profile lecturers specialised in the field of dance in public space, will be held during the course of the project. They will bring some food for thought and a way to explore some common artistic grounds. The first conference will take place in Marseilles in November 2017, whereas the second one will take place in Düsseldorf in partnership with the Tanzmesse in August 2018.
Two International gatherings
In addition to regular meetings between the organising partners of the project, two larger gatherings will take place in Sarajevo and Lisbonne respectively, in 2017 and 2018, with the aim to provoke new ideas for cooperation to implement within the Mediterranean region, in the field of dance in public space.
This platform was launched, in order to record and share experiences from the SHAPERS project and resources on contemporary dance in the Mediterranean region, and to forge links between both professional and amateur actors in the field.
Academic research paper
Since this project endeavours to have a long-term impact and to foster exchanges on different practices among the different stakeholders, there will be a study conducted to map out the various actors and practices in the field of dance in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in neighbouring countries. Its aim will be to instill new dynamics for the development of dance within this region.