Tidligere kursus 2014

Truth & Dare/Gestures, an Outset for Choreographic Scores - Selma & Sofiane Ouissi

This workshop is an invitation to work on the gestures related to crafts, to the job of people who work with their hands, to the bodily postures of these workers. The process starts from observing workers with a notable know-how and moves to metamorphosing their useful daily gestures in a choreographic language. The starting point for this workshop is indeed the observation of an action that is deeply rooted into reality, the appropriation of this action in order to be able to revisit it then the aesthetisisation of this gesture into a universal language.

Participants will be asked to come to this workshop with a video that captures craftsmen’s gestures at work (a job or a skill of their choice). However, if some participants cannot acquire this material, the videos of Laaroussa * project performed by Selma and Sofiane Ouissi may serve as raw material for this workshop.


*Laaroussa: Initiated by the choreographers Selma and Sofiane Ouissi, the artistic factories of popular space are a poetico-political system which invites a collective of artists to create a dream society where all skills are valued, in universes that are situated at the margins of international and integrated capitalism. Selma and Sofiane’s approach dwells on a sense of otherness and openness to the world; their work is inseparable from a wondering through regions where this form of existence throbs energetically. The methodology adopted for this system follows a series of strategies whose guidelines can be sketched in five steps. The first consists of seeking the universe in which the artists will eventually get inscribed in order to immerse in it and share its people’s background, while leading different forms of investigations. Based on that, they can direct the strategy of creating the concerned system as a whole. The second step consists of selecting the elements that are to make part of the system and defining the operational mode of the concept. The third step is built upon strategies of interaction with the population in a way that puts forth the conditions of the long lived and shared experiences. The fourth step is about inventing means of communication that address an art-sensitive audience. Finally, the fifth step consists of elaborating means of communication and distribution to a larger and more diverse audience thus opening up a wide space for an unexpected and simultaneously multi-direction expansion.

In 2011, Laaroussa, an artistic factory of popular space was initiated and experienced with the women potters of Sejnane (a Tunisian North-West rural area) and L’Art Rue artistic collective. Contemporary artists pertaining to different disciplines (visual arts, contemporary dance, video making, graphic design, photography ...) came to share the daily life of this community of handcraft people and join their own practices to that of clay work. For six months, they had met with them in successive stages. Out of this shared time were bred about ten artistic creations presented to the audience at the close of these residencies. Selma and Sofiane Ouissi thus wrote a short choreography which pays tribute to these women, guardians of an ancestral art transmitted from one generation to another and cleverly drawn from their environment. Inspired from their skilfully mastered and willingly reiterated gestures, the artistic duo has collected its own material throughout the workshops to create an unprecedented form of choreography that feigns to stage the women potters’ gestures. It is like a sign alphabet which explores the poetical extent of the movement between work and dance, a real choreographic writing process which is launched to give birth to a movie. Further to this first creational step, the artists took their way to Sejnane up again to carry on their artistic work and come out with a performance meant to be presented on stage.

Sofiane and Selma Ouissi  (TN)

The Ouissi’s (Brother and sister) are two main figures of the current Arab dance scene. They have been performing and creating choreographies together since the beginning of their careers. Selma and Sofiane Ouissi grew up dancing together until life separated them. With one based in Tunis and the other in Paris, they continue their dance practice via Skype. Using the internet as a paradoxical mode of closeness, Selma and Sofiane’s performance Here(s) negotiates contradiction, uncertainty, proximity and distance. They attended the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Tunis before moving to Paris to study with Raza Hamadi at L’Espace Pléiade. They have performed with major Tunisian and international theatre directors and choreographers, including Fadhel Jaziri, Martino Muller, Hichem Rostom and Compagnie Michèle Anne de Mey.
Choreographers, dancers, performers and filmmakers, Selma and Sofiane Oussi are both behind Dream City, a biennale in a public space in Tunis. As part of their artistic, social, and political engagement, Sofiane and Selma are currently leading a collective project in northwest Tunisia in an attempt to encourage regional development in the country postrevolution. With the Popular Spaces Art Factories they hope to re-energize certain rural spaces in great difficulty, among them Sejnane, centered around a group of women potters.
As the result of these numerous sessions of observation, discussion, and shared experiences, Selma and Sofiane Ouissi invented a new choreographic composition inspired directly by the repetitive gestures carried out by these women with their hands. By estheticizing these gestures and detaching them from their raw material, they create an abstract, sensual choreography in which the hands once again play the leading role. The film was shot in the heart of Sejnane, between heaven and earth, in harmony with the elements - and even its sounds, collected on site, contribute to the spectator’s immersion. Projected into the framework of Intense Proximity, Laaroussa is testament to the great intimacy between the artists and women that drove this unpretentious work. Beyond these intersecting lives, this project questions the power of art faced with the desire for a better life.

Truth & Dare is a Symposium for professional artist and students from the Danish National School of performing Arts




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