UW Today

February 23, 2011

French dance company performs at Meany March 3-5

News and Information

The dance company Compagnie La Baraka will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, March 3-5, in Meany Hall.

Compagnie La Baraka in performance. | Photo by Eric Boudet

Compagnie La Baraka in performance. | Photo by Eric Boudet

The French group, (under the direction of Algerian-born choreographer Abou Lagraa), made such an impression in their 2007 performance at Meany that they have been invited to perform once again. Lagraa blends a variety of modern dance styles with lyrical ballet movement to create dance that feels both current and timeless. His choreography has garnered Compagnie La Baraka wide critical acclaim.

For their Seattle performance, the company will perform A World in Itself, a new in which they explore the birth and development of the world through music and dance. In the words of the companys dramaturg Gerald Garutti, “We aspire to stage here the creation of three worlds at the same time: the cosmic world, the human world, and the inside world. Each of us is an indefinitely spreading universe, a secret melting pot in which the history of the whole cosmos keeps happening. Each of us is a world in itself.”

The company’s seven dancers perform the ballet to live music by the Debussy Quartet, who join them on stage playing works by John Cage, Anton Webern, and Bach.

Born in Annonay in 1970, to Algerian parents, Abou Lagraa began dancing at the age of 16 in his hometown, then attended Lyon’s National Conservatory of Music and Dance. He was awarded the 2nd prize in contemporary dance at the City of Paris International Competition 1998, and the International Movimentos Dance Prize for Best Male Dancer in 2009. He founded his company La Baraka in 1997. Since then, he has created 13 pieces, touring in France and in Europe, but also in the USA, Algeria, Tunisia, and Indonesia.

Since 2008, Lagraa and his multi-cultural company have been working, in collaboration with the Algerian Cultural Department, on Mediterranean Cultural Bridge — a French-Algerian cooperation for the development of artistic exchanges in dance. As part of the collaboration, he was commissioned to choreograph the closing ceremony of the 2nd Alger Panafrican Festival 2009. In 2010, a program combining training, creation and cultural exchanges between both countries was started and its first year success was Nya, a piece for ten dancers of The Contemporary Ensemble of the Ballet National Algérien.

Tickets for Compagnie La Baraka are $39 ($20 for students). Tickets may be purchased by phone at 206-543-4880, online or in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office, located at 4001 University Way NE.