Encounters in words and dance
‘It’s only a game, you know…’ These words initiate the start of the dance piece Bootlegged by Boyzie Cekwana and Danya Hammoud. ‘It’s nothing but a game…’ However, this is like no game that the western gaze is accustomed to. If naming the world in words other than those of the colonial pen is a game, then this is not. In their own words, they ‘attempt to create and write a collective story at a time when all that which is common and shared is bending under the load of bigoted contest and distorted versions of histories.’
Artists are ‘smugglers’ of ideas and stories. Bootlegging refers to the illicit trade in banned substances, a practice by Americans during the prohibition period of the 1920s. It also speaks to the calculated practice of white colonists in the United States to dominate the indigenous population, which they hooked on alcohol to break down resistance to violent dispossession and forestall fair negotiations. Bootlegged is about the resilience of the human body. The dancers meet in the centre of a circle, searching, turning and bending: ‘We come together so we can bend at the waist, reach down to the top of our boots and take out our bootlegged goods, our smuggled stories’.
Danya Hammoud (Beirut, 1981) is a Lebanese choreographer and performer. She is the laureate of the Boghossian Foundation Prize for Choreography for the year 2016 in Lebanon. Living and working in between Beirut and France, her choreographic work (Mahalli (2011), Mes mains sont plus agées que moi (2014), Il y a longtemps que je n’ai pas été aussi calme (2016) and O.T. (2018) among others) has been presented both locally and internationally in several festivals and venues. In parallel to her performances, she develops an approach to critical analysis of movement, through workshops, writings and video. Her latest work Sérénités était son titre premiered in September 2020. Since September 2019, she is the associated artist at La Maison CDCN-Uzès Gard Occitanie in France, until end of 2022.
The performer and choreographer Boyzie Cekwana is rumoured to be one of the critical voices in the international performing arts arena. Steeped in Social responsiveness and commentary, his work is a fusion of dance, words, melodies, imagery and movement that stem from a quiet activism and protest culture in Africa. Thus, an aesthetic is created that, equally in form and in content, places itself in a searing artistic identity.
- concept, performance
- Danya Hammoud & Boyzie Cekwana
- Danya Hammoud, Boyzie Cekwana, Simon Lichtenberger
- Mercy, Marvin Gaye
- Danyahammoud and boyziecekwana | randomirekshnz
- Kaserne Basel, Hammana Artist House, Kaaitheater, Connexion BXL Festival
- with support of
- Pro Helvetia Cairo - Schweizer Kulturstiftung, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg - Schweizer Kulturstiftung