woensdag 27 okt 2010, 20u00

La Jet Set

Gotta Depri, Franck Edmond Yao, Monika Gintersdorfer, Hauke Heumann, Knut Klaßen

Dans performance

Frans met Engelse vertaling
Deuren open: 20:00 uur
Aanvang: 20:30 uur
Entree: €9,- (kaarten verkrijgbaar vanaf 1 oktober bij de suppoost)

Interview with choreographer Monika Gintersdorfer

When Doug Saga died in 2006 at the age of 32, the ceremonies in the Ivory Coast were comparable to a state funeral. Only three years before this, Saga and six other Ivorian immigrants founded the band Jet Set in the suburbs of Paris, taking on names like 'Le Président', 'Lino Versace' and 'Premier Ministre'. With a mix of music that finds its roots in Congolese soukous, spectacular choreographies and flamboyant outfits, they influenced the whole dance music scene in West Africa in no time, and nowadays they are considered the founders of the genre Coupé-Decalé (English: 'to cheat and run away').

Monika Gintersdorfer and Knut Klaßen always work together closely with performers and choreographers from the scene surrounding Jet Set. They examine the tension between European theatre and African street dance culture. Othello, c’est qui?, for example, is about the most well known black figure in Western theater history, however unknown he may be in Africa. In their work nothing is symbolic, parodic or illusionistic, but they “don’t always tell the mere truth”.

In W139 Gintersdorfer/Klaßen will perform Betrügen, an homage to the Ivorian Jet Set. German actor Hauke Heumann and the Ivorian dancers Gotta Depri and Franck Edmond Yao deconstruct the lifestyle of the members of this successful group.

How did you get into contact with members of Jet Set?

Monika Gintersdorfer: In 2005 I had to film a show that the Jet Set performed in Hamburg. Not only the music, but also their stage performances were impressive. I stayed in contact with Franck Edmond Yao who was developing  choreographies for the Jet Set, and I invited him to come to Germany to develop his work in another context.

At that time I left theater that was based on literature behind me. I didn't want to perform pieces by other authors anymore. For a period of one year, I only performed actions in urban space, because I felt the need to react directly to the things I was interested in. I worked with Knut Klaßen and Jochen Dehn on topics like trade, confidence, fight, resources. And we found methods to be fast and performative in our work. The Ivorian performers that I got to know in that time also liked this working style.

Coupé-Decalé dance is related to urban street dance. How do you deal with the change of context when you perform it in theatres?

MG: Coupé-Decalé is an urban dance and the choreographies are developed for a specific song. They’re introduced to the audience by professional dancers in clubs, and the success of a new song depends on the quality of the dance.

But changing contexts is of great importance in our work. It is the essence of what we do. We perform in Germany and other European countries and then we go to Côte d’Ivoire and try to adopt the play to a very different audience. We work on the street, in nightclubs, theaters and sometimes in museums.

The behaviour of the characters performed in Betrügen seems to be a big pose. Could you describe the lifestyle of the members of Jet Set?

MG: They started in the suburbs of Paris and created an image of a successful Ivorian living in Europe in order to impress Abidjan. At the same time, they didn't want to belong to the stereotype of the normal French bourgeoisie, but wanted to master the situation. The music videos are shot in front of Versace stores, for example, but the movements that they are doing do not fit in this surrounding. They were really wearing marks like Versace and Dolce&Gabbana, but they made funny and well selected combinations. They created their own world in Paris.

It seems like the piece is not defined from the beginning, like it is almost improvised.

MG: For us it was important to show the context where our pieces come from. WithBetrügen we want to pay homage explicitly to Jet Set since they've always influenced us in earlier pieces. Many dancers come from the close surroundings of Jet Set, so in the piece they’re also talking almost about themselves. To us it’s important to enjoy the moment when we're performing, so we improvise a lot; and since the performers know the story so well, we can do that. But the whole story is so long. We could make a piece that lasts for 10 hours, so we make a selection beforehand.

How do you develop the piece, then? To what extent do you share the role of the author with the performers?

MG: We work together on a piece so the authorship is always shared. I know some members of the Jet Set, but the performers have a larger knowledge about it and mention things I did not know. But I develop the piece in the sense that I select, correct and direct.

But still there is a tension there for the audience: are they acting or is it real….

MG: In Betrügen Franck is playing the different members of Jet Set. He’s performing and demonstrating the different characters.

In the piece there are two Ivorian dancers and one German dancer, but he's standing in the background, almost imitating the performers in a clumsy way. Is this criticism towards our dance culture?

MG: Not at all. Hauke is a German actor, not a dancer, but I really like the way he moves. He’s there to communicate the French to the audience. But throughout the many years we've worked together, Hauke hasn’t just been standing in the background. He has really joined the dance piece as well and has offered reflection on what is happening. No criticism to be found there.