© Laurent Philippe

As part of our partnership tith the video platform, we are presenting part I of the dance collection HAND DANCES.

Text: Julie Charriet

Why does hand dancing make us laugh or smile and why is it generally ever-so rhythmic and melodious? Thanks to their 5 fingers, 27 bones, umpteen muscles and lifelines, hands grasp, manipulate, count, pray, caress, accompany speech and even go as far as replacing it with sign language. In the collective psyche, music is played by two, sometimes even four hands and feet dance. Yet, hands are also highly capable of calling the tune, leading the dance and using tables as a floor.

Agwa – Mourad Merzouki

A major figure on the hip-hop scene since the early 1990s, Merzouki works at the crossroads of many different disciplines: he adds circus, martial arts, fine arts, video and live music to his exploration of hip-hop dance. Without losing sight of the roots of hip-hop movement – of its social and geographical origins – this multidisciplinary approach opens new horizons and reveals original outlooks. Since 1996, 30 creations have been performed in 700 cities and 65 countries, with more than 3,000 performances given for 1.7 million people. Since 2009, Merzouki has been the director of the Centre chorégraphique national de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne, where he created the festival Kalypso, a Parisian twin of his festival Karavel in the region of Lyon. In 2016, he was appointed artistic director of Pôle en Scènes in Bron.

The strength of the last scene of this choreography lies in the sensitivity, gentleness and attention that these hip-hop dancers, who are generally on their feet working on speed and virtuosity, carry in their hands. The hands, in synergy with the water that this work takes its inspiration from, connect us with the poetry and fragility of the performers.

Watch the full video here.


Le P’tit bal – Philippe Decouflé

Philippe Decouflé has always been interested in signs, movements and sketches, which can instantaneously, upon simple observation, conjure up a memory or provoke an emotion.Backed by a song by Bourvil, Philippe Decouflé and Pascale Houbin use their hands to make signs and accessories dance. Instead of offering us play on words, they propose hand-play, visual and gestural winks.

Watch the video here.

Видеото гледайте тук.

Light music – Thierry de Mеy

With Light music, Thierry de Mey centres stages an orchestra conductor without an orchestra, a percussionist without percussion… a percussionist who “triggers sounds and musical sequences manipulates them in time and space, loops them, rips them apart, makes them resonate”.

Watch the video here.

Namasya – Shantala Shivalingappa

© Laurent Philippe

In the different traditional Indian dances, hands play a highly codified, frequently narrative role that is rooted in a sacred, ancestral art. In the Odissi, one of these dances, there are 67 different hand positions. Decorated in detail, they deliver the melody, just like feet deliver the rhythm.

Shantala Shivalingappa, a kuchipundi dancer, transposes her knowledge of traditional dance to contemporary dance.

In Namasya, she proposes 4 solos, choreographed in collaboration with Ushio Amagatsu, Pina Bausch and her own mother Savitry Nair. In each solo, she becomes aware of the vital role of the hands and, as such, places emphasis on them as dance incentives. Determined, strong, serious, light, subtle and gracious, her hands lead the way and prompt the rest of her body to follow suit.

Watch the video here.