Mirrors is a multidisciplinary artistic performance in which dance, video and music weave a discourse that connects Italy with the African continent with the aim of celebrating the encounter between identities, roots, cultures.
“Looking in a mirror (an object or a person) means recognizing yourself in an image that goes beyond your body, but that is your body at the same time. It’s an image that speaks and listens, that seems to move away to then come back, that seeks and finds its own space in a continuous dialogue that oscillates between chaos and stillness in search of balance” says Johanne Affricot, the creator and artistic director of Mirrors, and a Roman of Haitian and Ghanaian origins.
The performance is punctuated by four narrative chapters: Birth, Discovery, Origin, Contamination. Each of these moments offers heterogeneous landscapes, both visually and musically, upon which different identities inhabit the original disorientation and discover inner aspirations and a sense of belonging that gradually develops thanks to the unique contributions of the young performers.
The young performers: Afro-Italian ballet dancer of Brazilian origin, Roberto Lazzari, Italian- Nigerian dancer and afro-caribbean dance specialist Ofelya Omoyele Balogun, Italian- Tunisian dancer and electro-dance, hip-hop and bone-breaking specialist Andrea Bouothmane, and the Italian choreographer and performer Irene Russolillo embody the spirit of Mirrors, which will be amplified by the presence of 10 additional performers on stage at each site.
Echoes and references to Italian and African music traditions feature in the original soundtrack created by the London-based Italian-Ivorian producer EHUA. From the Sicilian mouth harp and ancestral songs of Salento folklore in which guttural sounds and vocal noises recall percussive elements, to the grafting of talking drums and djembes and the reinterpretation of electronic genres such as South African gqom, these sonic elements evoke, exalt and crystallise fragments of traditions, cultures and ideas that are part of Italy and Africa.
The video installation by the Italian artist and theater director Luca Brinchi, sees the human at its center, reverberating in different forms in order to amplify and support the aesthetics of the dramaturgy and the choreography.
Developed by roman light designer Daniele Davino, the light design includes technical experimentation, rarefied atmospheres, geometry and spatial dynamics mediated by luminous elements to produce a lively environment that enhances the storytelling and the intensity of the performance.
GRIOT and the Italian Cultural Institutes of Addis Ababa, Pretoria and Dakar are also collaborating with resident dance companies such as the Destino Dance Company (Addis Ababa), UJ Arts and Culture and Moving Into Dance Mopathong company (Johannesburg) and the company at the Theatre National Daniel Sorano (Dakar) to integrate other techniques and spontaneous movements of their dancers and students within the show. All the dancers and students will participate to a workshop led by choreographer Irene Russolillo.
The show, held in Italian, is subtitled in 5 languages: Amharic, Wolof, Zulu, English, French.
Addis Ababa: 28 May 2019
Johannesburg: 2 June 2019
Dakar: 8 June 2019
Apart from multidisciplinary performances in Dakar, Addis Ababa and Johannesburg, the Mirrors tour will be adapted by acclaimed cinematographer Jeffrey Alex Atoh into a doc to premiere in Italy this Fall. Three of the eight teasers produced by Atoh for Mirrors, featuring the cast and the team are already on view on Social Media.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.
In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.