Broken Dance

Inspired by Fela Kuti, the Nigerian composer, saxophonist, orchestrator, political activist and founder of the afrobeat, Serge Aimé Coulibaly presents a performance during which politics is brought out to be something greater than a simple dramaturgical note.


Greek Abstract

Εμπνευσμένος από τον Fela Kuti, τον Νιγηριανό συνθέτη, σαξοφωνίστα, ενορχηστρωτή, πολιτικό ακτιβιστή και θεμελιωτή του afrobeat, ο Serge Aimé Coulibaly δημιουργεί μια performance στη διάρκεια της οποίας η πολιτική αναδεικνύεται σε κάτι εντονότερο από απλή δραματουργική υποσημείωση.

Italian Abstract

Ispirandosi a Fela Kuti, il compositore, sassofonista, attivista politico nigeriano e fondatore dell’Afrobeat, Serge Aimé Coulibaly presenta un performance nella quale la politica si trasforma in qualcosa di più di una semplice nota drammaturgica.



«Being born and spending your childhood in Burkina during Thomas Sankara’s presidency, is a sure way of learning very early on a feeling for politics, a sincere interest in others and the becoming of a nation and a continent. It is a way of developing a global conscience and a cutting lucidity. In a country where everything has yet to be built, culture is obviously a key issue ; building a space for creativity in people’s spirits, widening their vision, showing them events suffered under a different light, allowing bubbles of hope to grow and anchoring these to real possibilities. Of course, all this sounds so futile when everything else, food, security, water, is a daily struggle». From the synopsis of Faso Danse Theatre, Serge Aimé Coulibaly’s dance group created in 2002 is a living example of artistic engagement. Born and bred in Burkina Faso during Thomas Sankara’s presidency, Coulibaly could not help but imbue his works in political hues of poetry and lucidity, and that is exactly what he does with his homage to Nigeria’s most famous musician, composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music genre and, of course, human right activist: Fela Kuti.

In his play/hymn Kalakuta Republik, Coulibaly draws fully from Kuti’s musical and political legacy, offering to his audience a fast-paced and lengthy performance brimming with the late Black President’s relentless energy. The show, one and half hours long, is divided into two clear parts: the first one, which focuses on the political side of the Nigerian’s life, and the second one, which resembles one of the late-night parties at Kuti’s Shrine, the famed nightclub turned soapbox from which Fela would sing of hope and revolt after delivering powerful political j’accuse towards Nigeria’s politicians, multi-nationals and inequalitymongers alike. From the very beginning, the audience is invited into a highly metaphorical world in which Coulibaly’s choreography ignites apparently non-consequential movements which sparkle for a moment as the bright explosion that they are before falling to the floor in silence. This constant rising and falling, accompanied by finger-pointing and clear gestures of rebellion, makes for a broken yet uniform dance that fits quite remarkably with Kuti’s long and bumpy music pieces.

The strenuous yet harmonious breath and respiration of the seven dancers on stage (Coulibaly included) further strengthens this idea of art as a political struggle, evoking to the mind Fela’s “underground spiritual games” in which traditional West African vocabulary would merge with contemporary globalised nightlife, wild improvisations with elements of political satire. Here, with Thessaloniki as a backdrop, the stage is emblazed with provocative messages and the audience in entranced by a dance so fragmented and so vivid as never seen before. Just like Fela, Kalakuta Republik is not simply courageous. It is unequivocal.


The show was played at
Theatre of the Society for Macedonian Studies
Ethnikis Aminis 2 – Thessaloniki
Sunday 20 October

The Festival Dimitria presents
Kalakuta Republik
by Serge Aimé Coulibaly

concept & choreography Serge Aimé Coulibaly
creation & interpretation Adonis Nebié, Marion Alzieu, Sayouba Sigué, Serge Aimé Coulibaly / Jean-Robert Koudogbo Kiki, Ahmed Soura, Ida Faho, Antonia Naouele
music Yvan Talbot
video Eve Martin
dramaturgy Sara Vanderieck
assistant to the choreographer Sayouba Sigué
scenography and costumes Catherine Cosme
creation light/lighting Hermann Coulibaly
technical direction Sam Serruys
production Faso Danse Théâtre & Halles de Schaerbeek
executive production Halles de Schaerbeek



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