BERLIN PREMIERE: „Du Mythe du Dieu Argent – The Myth of the God Money“ Dancetheater by the Company „Dialogues Inévitables"
On 14 and 15 November 2012, AfricAvenir staged the Berlin Premiere of the Dancetheater „Du Mythe du Dieu Argent – The Myth of the God Money“, an Italian-Benin co-production by the group „Dialogue Inévitables“ dealing with capitalist world order and what money makes of human beings. The God named Money is a rogue – we knew this well before the financial crisis. Sent to earth to facilitate exchanges among human beings, the God of Money takes pleasure in playing with their weaknesses, becoming increasingly more powerful. Using ironic and symbolic language, THE MYTH OF THE GOD MONEY leads us into an imaginary but familiar universe.
Background to the Project
Thanks to the financial support by the German Ministry of foreign affaires, AfricAvenir International invited the theater compagny „Agbo N’Koko“ from Cotonou to Berlin in 2010. Directed by Ousmane Aledji, the group than presented the world premiere of the new play „Traumatismes – Traumata“ in the House of World Cultures. Based on this project, AfricAvenir made new contacts in the contemporary theater and dance scene in Benin, particularly to the company „Dialogues Inévitables – Unavoidable Dialogues“.
The project was created in 2005 by the Italian dancer/ choreographer Francesca Pedullà and the Benin musician Eric Acakpo and got broader support by the partnership of three supporting associations: CQB/Genova-Italy, Creations Entrelacées/Paris-France and Sonagnon/ Cotonou-Benin as well as numerous European and African partners.
The main goal of the “Unavoidable Dialogues” is not to present “African culture” in Europe or otherwise. In contrast, the group reaches to create something new, to get to know each other in the process of creation, to discover similarities and differences and to make real encounters possible.
In 2007 the staging of the first dance, theatre and live music performance, “Dans la ville près de la mer”, was dedicated to Cotonou and the typical contradictions of the African metropolis. Since 2008 work has focused on the global topic of “rushing to consume”, considered a common cultural denominator that nullifies or highlights the differences in gender, race, class and nationality, and serves as the key mediator in the regulation of interpersonal relations, as well as generating mechanisms for adaptation between individuals and communities. During the fifth edition of the project, in April 2009, Dialogues Inévitables - Extra Large was created: with twenty five artists on stage, the piece was programmed into the tenth edition of the FITHEB (International Festival of Theatre in Benin) in March 2010. The sixth edition of the project provided a choreographic residency at the Centre Culturel Cité Culture, in Brussels (August 14/September 12, 2010). The residency produced and realised the work in progress entitled “Du Mythe du Dieu Argent”, a theatre, dance and music performance, the final version of which was reworked in residence at the Archivolto Theatre in Genova, and presented to audiences in February 2012.
Press Reviews (Selection)
“Consumer behaviour separates the rich and the poor. It separates them because it creates social inequalities and unites them by swallowing them up despite their different financial possibilities. The journey the group “Dialogues Inévitables” has made in order to build a bridge between Europe and Africa begins with this paradox… The performance “The Myth of the God Money” uses the symbolic strength of this myth to tell the story of the history of humanity with all its greatness and corruption. Contemporary dance and African as well as Western music combine and set the focus on the strength of the themes and their suggestive power.”
Diego Curcio, CORRIERE MERCANTILE, 11/02/2012
”… inspired by classical Greek and traditional African mythology comes a modern fairy tale in which every man and woman independent of their family background becomes a slave to the god Money. ... “The Myth of the God Money” celebrates the brilliant and sensitive power of humanity in an explosion of dance, music and theatre, but also shows how narrow-minded and vulgar it can be.” Simona Griggio, IL SECOLOXIX, 09/02/2012
“The audience received “The Myth of the God Money” with excitement. Artists of varied descent and different backgrounds, originating from Benin, Canada, France, Italy and Senegal, produced a gripping performance in which various artistic languages translate into a message which prompts us to reflect on modern society.”
Serena Massolo, GAZZETTINO SAMPIERDARENESE 02/2012
“An ecstasy of bodies which roll, jostle and chase each other as if the iciness of the medium could never tone down the disorder and unbridled movement of the pursuit of money, which is our only collective language. Costumes pile up on the stage, put on in a hurry for a photo shoot, clothes which don’t really cover up the body and can never provide warmth… Clothes which, in Africa just as in Europe, only strengthen our unlimited vanity. (…) There are many interpretations of the work by Francesca Pedulla, Eric Acakpo and Davide Francesca which show how art can become the most powerful method of cultural mediation, in which every symbolic gesture carries with it the history of the countries from which this project originates or which it has crossed, from Benin to Genoa to Berlin and on.”
Marina Giardina, WWW.RETECONTEMPOLIGURE.IT 02/2012
The piece was born of the longlasting collaboration between Italian dancer/choreographer Francesca Pedullà, and the musician Eric Acakpo of Benin, as well as several artists from different countries: Belgium, Benin, Senegal Canada, France and Italy. The result of this concerted collaboration is a work of performable art that merges the languages of dance and contemporary music with traditional West African cultural heritage, and translates them into a new dialect. Common and specific individual differences are not discounted here, but are integrated, studied and enhanced at the service of a pertinent message. Dramaturgically, the piece is built on three levels of narrative: First, the telling of the myth of the God Money through the physical gestures of the dancer and the voice of the Gan Gan, a traditional Yoruba percussion. Second, the representation of his priests and acolytes through vivid images animated by symbolic and at times grotesque figures drawn from our collective imagination, and third, the choreographic composition, which brings into play a level of abstraction that allows an expressive testimonial to the human condition through the power of dance.
Although the performance is divided into a series of scenes or “tableaux”, each with its narrative function, it can also be enjoyed in its entirety as a scrolling sequence of evocative images, or can be appreciated more specifically by taking advantage of the micro-stories hidden in each picture. The audience will be able to identify with as well as interpret the significance of these stories thanks to the powerful impact of the various mediums used in the piece. In this way a mirror is held in front of the audience, for the piece shows humans as equally splendid and sensitive, but also as equally small-minded and vulgar.
Artistic directors: ERIC ACAKPO and FRANCESCA PEDULLÀ
Staging: Davide Francesca und Francesca Pedullà
Music Director: ERIC ACAKPO
Choreography: Francesca Pedullà gemeinsam mit den Künstler/innen
Cast: ERIC ACAKPO (Benin), RICHARD ADOSSOU (Benin), MAUREL ACAKPO (Benin), ANICET GILDAS AIMONDE (Benin), PAPIS NDOYE (Senegal), KELLY KEENAN (Canada), ROBERTA MESSA (Italy), SARA PARISI (Italy), FRANCESCA PEDULLÀ (Italy), ANTOINE RENOUARD (France), MEDARD SOSSA (Benin), SARA TASSARA (Italy)
Music: ERIC ACAKPO and LORENZO GASPERONI
Light and Technics: LUCIANO NOVELLI
Video: ANTOINE RENOUARD
Costumes: DAVIDE FRANCESCA
Masks / Sculptures : DAVIDE DALL’OSSO
Organisation and administration: ASSOCIATION CQB (Italien) and ASSOCIATION SONAGNON (Benin)
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Seitenbühne
Schaperstraße 24, 10719 Berlin
Francesca Pedullà (Italy) - Director - Choregraphy - Dancer
Dancer and choreographer, graduated in History of Theatre and Drama, has dedicated herself to culture and African dance since 1990. In 1999 she graduated as Professor of Dance Expression at the African Centre Artistique 6-éme Parallel, FEIDA, in Bordeaux. In 2001 she graduated from the Mime Theatre at the Carlo Felice Theatre in Genoa. In 2009 she received a certificate to teach the Axis Syllabus. Since 1998 she has gone to Benin every year to deepen her understanding of Beninese culture. In 2006 she founded the cultural association Sonagnon (Ouidah/Benin) with Eric Acakpo. Sonagnon was founded with the aim of enhancing the art of Benin and creating opportunities for encounter and exchange between artists of different nationalities. She has held the title of Artistic Director of CQB since 2006.
She currently choreographs, performs and holds regular classes and workshops in Italy and abroad. Her artistic career is characterised by her encounters with the culture and art of Benin, and her research concerns the perception and reproduction of traditional dances and the creation of a language that investigates the issue of dialogue between cultures.
Davide Francesca / Italy - Director/Stage Manager/Costume Designer
His multidisciplinary research of the arts has provided him with a wide-ranging field of expertise focusing in particular on the traditional cultures of the world.
2005 saw the beginning of a series of solo works inspired by the Japanese dance and performance art of Butoh: “Solocontrotutti”, “Sakura”, “La Sposa di Carta”, “In Between”, “Silenzio 33” and in particular, “La Passant Considérable”, a collaboration with video and photographic artists that was sponsored by the Rilievo Urbano Danzato in Genoa.
In 2004 he co-founded the Genovese association Corpi in Danza, with whom he organised several contemporary dance events. In 2007 he also curated the staging, costume design and dramaturgy of several lyric opera productions.
Eric Acakpo / Benin - Musical Director - Musician
The President of Association Sonagnon, dancer and musician, as a child he was surrounded by traditional rhythms and dances. He continued his artistic training with several folk groups in Benin. Since 2000 he has performed as a dancer and musician for the Vodoo Brass Band, which participates in several festivals in Europe. His artistic experience is distinguished by his collaboration with renowned artists such as Koffi Koko, Salia Sanou and by numerous trips to Europe and Latin America. He is a musician and Musical Director of the exchange project “Dialogues Inévitables”.
Richard Adossou / Benin - Dancer - Actor
His academic studies ended in 2000 when he was noticed by the Benin Ministry of Culture. He was then selected to join the National Ballet of Benin and began his career as a professional dancer. In 2005 he became choreographer for the National Ballet. Meanwhile, he attended many courses in contemporary dance, mainly abroad. Since 2005 he has also participated as a dancer in the exchange project Dialogues Inévitables. In 2006 he founded his own company. In 2007, along with other skilled artists, he co-founded the cultural association Rich’Culture. He has worked with international choreographers and teachers and choreographed several works of his own. He regularly tours Africa, Asia and Europe.
Anicet Gildas Aymonde / Benin - Musician
He is a pianist and composer. He participated in the creation of different albums, SEHOUE and MAHU MAHU by the Beninese artist RABBI SLO, and in MEDESSE by the group AFAFA. He participated in several national and international tours with different Beninese stars (Sagbohan, Nel Oliver, Rabbi Slo, etc) during the festivals Gospel, Racine and FITHEB. Since 2005 he has performed as a musician in the exchange project Dialogues Inévitables and has been a member of Association Sonagnon since 2009.
Davide Dall’Osso / Italy - Sculpture
Mr. Dall’Osso obtained an acting diploma in civic prose from the Paolo Grassi School of Dramatic Art in Milan in 1995. During his artistic development he worked with Luca Ronconi, Alfredo Arias, Piero Maccarinelli, Mauro Avogadro, while becoming increasingly more involved with experiments in the combination of metallic materials. From these experiments he created his first works, and subsequently his first exhibition. Today, he focuses on creating installations that are influenced by theatrical dance performance. The material he uses currently, a fusion of polycarbonates, allows him to create light, large structures that can resemble ice or melted glass.
Kelly Keenan / Canada - Dancer - Actress
Kelly Keenan is a dancer, choreographer and teacher based in Montreal. Locally she teaches for Studio 303, le Regroupement Quebecoise de la Danse, Concordia University and Transformation Danse. Abroad Kelly has taught for the Society of Yukon Dance Artists, the Nomadic College, Compagnie Lanonima and Mimar Sinan University. Kelly’s teaching sources the principles of the Axis Syllabus. Among others Kelly has been seen in the work of Lynda Gaudreau, K.G. Guttman and Francesca Pedullà, and is gaining visibility as a choreographer herself. Her recent creations are “Species” and “Waypoints”.
Roberta Messa / Italy - Dancer - Actress
Roberta Messa completed a university degree in Environmental Science, but has always been involved in music and dance studies. She has studied the piano since she was six years old, participating in various workshops and masterclasses held by musicians of international renown (including Boris Petrushansky, Piero Rattalino, Riccardo Risaliti), and has received awards in several national and international competitions. In 1999 she graduated in Piano Studies at the Conservatorio di Musica G. Tartini in Trieste. In 2004 she began and today still continues her studies of dance with Francesca Pedullà. She also studies contemporary dance with Piera Pavanello, in Genoa, and regularly frequents workshops (particularly with Giovanni Di Cicco, Koffi Koko, Baris Mihci and Kelly Keenan). With Association CQB (founded in 2008) she worked on the ideation and management of several artistic projects, in particular the artistic and cultural project “Dialogues Inévitables” and the exchange project for children “Mettiamoci in gioco” (Genoa/Ouidah A/R). She works as a Project Manager at Xenia Ensemble Association (Turin) and is currently attending the CRPC Advanced Training Course for Cultural Project Managers at Fondazione Fitzcarraldo (Turin).
Papis Ndoye / Senegal - Italy - Dancer - Actor
Born into an artistic family, he began his formal education at the prestigious “Ecole des Beaux Arts” in Dakar where he studied traditional dance under the Malian teacher Nimba Diallo. He was subsequently taken into the “Ballets Afrique Noir” directed by the choreographer Aboubacar Oscar Camara.
He currently lives and works in Genoa, Italy, where he teaches Senegalese dance, and has participated in diverse artistic projects, such as ‘Ballets Afrique Noir’, ‘DuguTigi Nana’ Group, Company ‘Teatro Scalzo’, the video documentary ‘Senza Radici’, ‘Tramedafrica’ at the Piccolo Grassi Theatre in Milan, and ‘SAT Sole Acqua Terra’ at the No’hma Teresa Pomodoro Theatre, also in Milan.
Luciano Novelli / Italy - Light Design
Light designer for numerous lyrical operatic works at the Carlo Felice Theatre in Genoa and at the Teatro Musicale del Maggio Fiorentino. Collaborations with Francesca Pedullà include “Dedicato a Rosetta”, “Coeur Farouche” and “Always travel with a Chauffeur”.
Sara Parisi / Italy - Dancer - Actress
Dancer, performer and hip hop teacher, she studies contemporary African dance with Francesca Pedullà. In 2005 she completed her undergraduate degree at the 'Iat Gong' Institute for the Traditional Arts in Genoa. Following her postgraduate degree in Physical Science at the University of Genoa, she continued studying movement analysis with Frey Faust. Since 2005 she has participated as a dancer and musician in the exchange project “Dialogues Inévitables” and runs regular dance courses in Italy and Brazil. She is a founding member of the cultural association CQB.
Aguidissou Rameaux / Benin - Musician
A young percussionist, he was born in a Vodoun family in Ouidah (Benin) and introduced to the traditional rhythms of Beninese music at an early age. He is part of the folk group Super Génies and regularly plays in dance workshops by Vincent Harisd’o. He has previously collaborated with the cultural association Sonagnon and has participated as a musician in the exchange project “Dialogues Inévitables” since 2005.
Antoine Renouard / France - Video
After receiving his diploma from the International Institute of Image and Sound (3iS) in Paris in 2005, Antoine specialised in the relationship between video images and dance under the direction of Philippe Decouflé. In 2007 he founded the cultural association Créations Entrelacées. Since 2010 he has worked for the French/African television station Telesud. Years of travel between France and Africa have given rise to documentary films that bear witness to intercultural encounters, in particular his collaboration with the Beninese association Sonagnon in the official documentation of the exchange project “Dialogues Inévitables”.
Médard Sossa / Bénin - Dancer - Actor
Rocked as a baby to the traditional rhythms of Benin, he started his career as a dancer and percussionist in 1991, studying with Zolawadji Gbessi. He joined the National Ballet of Benin in 2000 and participated in several international festivals in West Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia. In 2004 he founded a dance company entitled Djobé Dance. Since 2005 he has performed as a dancer and musician in the exchange project “Dialogues Inévitables”. He currently works as a dancer in the theatre company Agbo ‘N Koko, directed by Ousmane Aledji, and he regularly holds African contemporary dance classes in Benin and in Europe.
Sara Tassara / Italy - Dancer - Actress
A graduate of Art History, she started studying dance with Francesca Pedullà, and later on she approached the Axis Syllabus method with Frey Faust. Since 2008 she has travelled regularly to Benin to participate as a dancer in the exchange project Dialogues Inévitables. She is a member of the cultural association CQB and is also in charge of public relations and fundraising.
A production by
The development of the piece was supported by
Soganon (Benin) and Créations entrelacées (France), Axis Syllabus, the city of Genova, Goethe Institut Genova, Palazzo Ducale Fondazione per la Cultura, Teatro dell'Archivolto, Banca Carige di Genova.