Meeting at the Festival d’Avignon

As part of the professional meetings on the sidelines of the Festival d’Avignon, an initial meeting with all of the partners of the SHAPERS project took place on July 11th and 12th, 2015.

This meeting defined the intentions and objectives as well as the means to implement the project in order to write and deposit the project within the Creative Europe framework. The discussions and exchanges established the respective interests of each partner, common interests, intentions and possible ambitions to achieve through the SHAPERS project.

A collaboration in Alexandria

Initial collaborations

The festival Nassim El Raqs and the dance company Ex Nihilo have cooperated since the first edition of the festival in 2011, exploring new territories for choreographic creation in the city of Alexandria. Every year, they experimented with new methods to teach young Egyptian dancers.

The creation of four solos

Following an initial encounter at l’Espace Darja, in Casablanca, Meryem Jazouli invited two Moroccan dancers to participate in the project in Alexandria put in place by Nassim el Raqs : 4 solos. This project invited two Egyptain dancers and two Moroccan dancers to work on their solos in situ with artistic accompaniment led by Anne Le Batard, Jean-Antoine Bigot and Corinne Pontana from the Ex Nihilo danse company, in April and May 2015.

After 3 weeks of work in situ on naval construction site Anfouchi port, a performance with the 4 young dancers Shahd el Khattabi, Ehab Mustafa, Mourad Koula and Nabil Najihi, as well as Corinne Pontana and Jean-Antoine Bigot was presented during the festival Nassim al Raqs #5.

Photo credit : Nisrine Chiba and Ex Nihilo

Choreography and dance: Shahd el Khattabi, Ehab Mustafa, Mourad Koula and Nabil Najihi, accompanied by Jean-Antoine Bigot, Corinne Pontana, and Anne Le Batard, from the Ex Nihilo company.

Initial encounters in Casablanca

2015: A year of prefiguration of the SHAPERS project

Thinking ahead to the possibility of a cooperation project, the  Nassim El Raqs Festival and the dance company Ex Nihilo began organizing meetings to create a common space for reflection and to share practices, starting with a first working session for the preparation of a future collaboration with Espace Darja, in Casablanca, during the “Al … Projet Labo” workshop, January 10-11th 2015. This encounter allowed to put Ex Nihilo’s recent experience with the young Moroccan dancers in the workshop into perspective in a more global vision of the form that a common project between the partners might take.

During the workshop, two Moroccan dancers were selected for the choreographic creation workshop held three months later in Alexandria, starting the dynamic of networking of young dancers from the southern Mediterranean, which was an objective to develop in the framework of the project.

Al… Projet Labo” is a training program started by Espace Darja since 2013 in Casablanca. Since 2015,the  “Al… Project Labo” has also been developed in Fes through workshop sessions hosted at the Institut Français. The choreographers associated with the project intervene successively in both cities to give more young dancers the tools to develop and deepen their achievements in contemporary dance.

In January 2015 the Ex Nihilo company participated this program.