Protest dance with inflammatory music

La danse de la rue 19

Jeannot Kumbonyeki

On 19 September 2016 the Congolese choreographer Jeannot Kumbonyeki and his dancers stood at the side of the road to witness the massive protests in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Demonstrators demanded the departure of President Kabila and his regime, as he had reached the end of his mandate. Watching the crowd walking in the dust under the sun, they knew nothing was going to change. More than twenty people died. La danse de la rue 19 is Kumbonyeki's response to that day. It is a dance by a crowd that continues, even in hopeless conditions, just to show that it exists. Kumbonyeki's choreography is based on breathing and the continually moving chest. The live music is by percussionist Huguette Tolinga – who also features at this year’s festival in Not Another Diva … – whose incendiary music brings the sound of the streets on this 19th of September in Kinshasa to Frascati theatre.

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background information

Frascati Program Associate Artists
For two weeks Frascati theatre will be the home of associate artists William Kentridge and Faustin Linyekula. Alongside performances by themselves and artists who inspire them, there will be a lot of work from their studios. These presentations show the importance of 

Kentridges The Centre for the Less Good Idea and Linyekula’s Studios Kabako, and how they function. There will be a unique and exciting programme in which the boundaries between various artforms disappear. Also, we will be organising a series of debates, called The Welcome Table, in which themes from the presentations (that are also topical in the Netherlands) are discussed.
Kentridge and Linyekula use The Centre For The Less Good Idea and Studios Kabako to give both young and more experienced (performing) artists the space, opportunities and inspiration to work on their oeuvre. For Amsterdam they selected work using different criteria: Linyekula is giving two young artists the opportunity to test new work on Dutch audiences as works-inprogress; Kentridge selected presentations from all the seasons thus far been organised at The Centre. Choose one or more parts of the programme and be surprised by performances that not only add a new perspective to Kentridge and Linyekula’s artistry, but also tell new stories – from intensely political reflections, exceptional childhood memories and attempts to create new myths for a new era.

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biographies

Jeannot Kumbonyeki grew up in Kisangani but now lives and works in Kinshasa. He began his career as an acrobat with the breakdance group Lil Saint. He attracted much attention for his krumping and started to attend dance workshops at Studios Kabako, where he

was taught by Faustin Linyekula, Papy Ebotani, Hafiz Dhaou, Ula Sickle and Clara Bauer. In 2010 he founded the Keep Quiet street dance troupe with a group of friends, and regularly performed in Kisangani and the eastern region of the Congo. One year later he won the Best Dancer Jury Prize in the Vodacom Kata Dance Competition. He also took part in Redefining… homework, a research dance project led by Boyzie Cekwana and Faustin Linyekula. In 2016 Kumbonyeki created his first solo dance performance, Le Kombi, which premiered at the Kinani Contemporary Dance Festival, Mozambique. This was followed by performances at Infecting the City in Cape Town, the Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Zurich, the Biennale Danse l’Afrique Danse, Ouagadougou, and the 100% Afriques Festival in Paris and more recently at the Kaai Theater in Brussels (December 2018). In 2014-16 he danced in Ula Sickle’s Kinshasa Electric, a show performed at various international venues, including at the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival, Groningen. Since 2016 Kumbonyeki has been part of the cast of Faustin Linyekula’s In Search of Dinozord and more more more… future.

 

Huguette Tolinga started to play percussion at the age of seven, although her family were not particularly happy about this. In the Congo percussion is traditionally seen as an all-male affair. This didn’t stop Tolinga from setting up her own group, Hugembo, in Kinshasa in 2010. This group has regularly performed in the Congo, Sub-Saharan Africa and even in Germany. Her debut album Enkata came out in 2018, produced by Studios Kabako. In the same year Tolinga toured with Faustin Linyekula and the South African singer and dancer Hlengiwe Lushaba in the show Not Another Diva… (also to be seen at this year’s Holland Festival). In 2019 she will perform in Un fleuve dans le ventre, a show directed by Carina Riedl, based on the long poem by Fiston Mwanza Mujila. Tolinga teaches in Kinshasa and is presently looking for opportunities to set up her own school of percussion.

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Credits

artistic direction
Jeannot Kumbonyeki
with
Franck M’zele, Josué Mawanika, Jeannot Kumbonyeki, Huguette Tolinga
text
Antoine Vumilia Muhindo
production
Studios Kabako / Virginie Dupray
coproduction
Manège - scène nationale de Reims
music
Huguette Tolinga
external eye
Faustin Linyekula
with support from
Institut français Paris, French embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Alliance française Kisangani

This performance was made possible with support by