choreography DeLaVallet Bidiefono
music Morgan Banguissa, DeLaVallet Bidiefono, Armel Malonga
text Dieudonné Niangouna
light design Stéphane ‘Babi’ Aubert
sound design Jean-Noël Françoise
dancers Flacie Bassoueka, DeLaVallet Bidiefono, Destin Bidiefono, Ingrid Estarque, Ella Ganga, Nicolas Moumbounou
singer Athaya Mokonzi
musicians Morgan Banguissa, Armel Malonga
light director Cléo Konongo
sound director Perig Villerbu
builders Laurent Mandonnet and Salem Ben Belkacem
production administrators Antoine Blesson and Emilie Leloup, assistants of Léa Couqueberg
delegated production Compagnie Baninga / Le Grand Gardon Blanc
coproduction Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre Paul Eluard – Choisy-le-Roi, Parc de la Villette (résidence d’artistes 2013), Le Carré Sainte-Maxime,, Châteauvallon centre national de création et de diffusion culturelles
with the support of Région Île-de-France, Conseil Général du Val-de-Marne, Institut Français in the field of the project “Afrique et Caraïbes en créations”, Ambassade de France au Congo e Institut Français du Congo (Brazzaville), ECAir and Spedidam
Duration 1h 20’
For the first time at VIE, the Congolese choreographer and musician DeLaVallet Bidiefono, will present Au-delà, performance that fits perfectly into the artistic research of the company. Baninga was founded in 2005 by the same Bidiefono and has already participated at many international festivals. The beating heart of the creations of Bidiefono is the life in the Congolese capital Brazzaville, wounded by civil war. Always devoted to its Congolese origins and culture, Bidiefono actively contributes to the development of the contemporary dance scene in Brazzaville, trying to arise public attention. In a country like Congo, where death is part of everyday life, artists often present themselves as warriors who fight to survive and to create a better life, offering art as a weapon in response to real weapons. Through contemporary dance, Bidiefono fights for freedom of expression, to promote the action and help Congolese society to look beyond the civil war and death. Bidiefono says: “When I arrived in Brazzaville in 2001, the country was coming out of civil war. I immediately felt that dance could be an answer to that situation. However, in this time and this place, I could not involve death in my dance. I worked all day, often without eating or drinking; it was as if I was out of my own body, looking for the energy to dance. I was able to go forward only through some forms of spiritually and my relationship with “the other world” which often helped me to keep on in my research. It was as if in a wounded land, the awareness of dead people was stronger than that of alive ones. Au-delà tells the story of my encounter with death, and how my people faced it. I also hope to be able to tell what my relationship with “the other world” has nourished my artistic and political commitment”.
Seven dancers, including two women, embark on a sequence of trembling dances. The singer Athaya Mokonzi, the guitarist Morgan Armel and the drummer Malonga Banguissa, already in the play Empreintes.On posera les mots après which made Bidiefono famous in 2009, give the rhythm of this dance.
Baninga Company e DeLaVallet Bidiefono, biography
In 2005, DeLaVallet founded the Baninga Company and created Free Speech (July 2005), the company’s first choreography. Pollution (October 2005) and Ndjila Na Ndjila – from one road to another (September 2007) followed. Little by little, the company made a name for itself in the Congolese choreographic landscape.
In December 2006, DeLaVallet took part in a professional training organised by La Termitière, the Choreographic Development Centre in Ouagadougou. There, he met Salia Sanou and worked on the show Pollution, under Salia’s artistic eye and advice. Salia later gave him a hand on Ndjila Na Ndjila – from one road to another.
The Baninga Company was awarded the second prize at the African and Indian Ocean’s choreographic meeting contest organised in Tunis in May 2008 by CulturesFrance and Ness El Fen. Thanks to this price, Ndjila Na Ndjila – from one road to another toured in French and European dance centres and festivals, such as the Montpellier Dance Festival and La Villette Meetings.
Prints / Words will come later was created in February 2009 at the French cultural Centre of Brazzaville, with the artistic collaboration of Salia Sanou. The French premiere took place at the Mégisserie – EPCC Vienne-Glane in Saint-Junien, and in September 2009 the show was presented at the International Festival of the Francophonies in Limoges, Limousin. This show then toured in France (CDC Les Hivernales – Avignon; Maison des Arts de Créteil; Gare Saint Sauveur – Lille3000; Théâtre National de Bretagne; Creil’s subsidised theatre La Faïencerie; Hippodrome scène nationale in Douai, etc.) and in Africa (Brazzaville, Kinshasa, Libreville, Malabo, Bata, Bamako, Bobo Dioulasso, Ouagadougou, Dakar…).
In September 2011, DeLaVallet created Open – a piece for five dancers, in Kinshasa and Brazzaville. This show has toured in France: Mégisserie – EPCC Vienne-Glane in Saint-Junien, Festival International des Francophonies in Limousin, Lieu Unique in Nantes, Théâtre Paul Eluard in Choisy-le-Roi, Maison des Arts in Créteil; and it will continue touring in 2012 at Le Théâtre in Saint-Quentin, Picardie; CNCDC, Châteauvallon; and Le Manège, in Maubeuge.
In December 2011, DeLaVallet became an Associate Artist of the festival “Mantsina sur Scène” organized in Brazzaville by the author and theatre director Dieudonné Niangouna. DeLaVallet will take part in several of the artist’s creations for 2013.
DeLaVallet will be an Associate Artist of Théâtre Paul Eluard in Choisy-le-Roi, for 2013-2015.
Born in Pointe-Noire, Congo, in the early 1980s, DeLaVallet Bidiefono is one of the rising figures in contemporary dance – a relatively new artistic discipline in Congo and in Africa in general. Nothing preordained him to dance apart from the fact that in Congo, dance is a talent by birth. Thanks to his outstanding tenacity, DeLaVallet is able to work relentlessly, like a dance adventurer or a dance researcher. DeLaVallet was born in a place where the words “art” and “contemporary” never matched. In fact, he was 15 when he heard these words for the first time.
DeLaVallet Bidiefono has been performing since the beginning of the 1990s, with several dance companies and musical groups. He began as a singer and a drummer in a band named “Racines”, and progressively leaned towards contemporary dance.
In 2001, he moved to Brazzaville, where he launched his dance carrier. He took part in the choreographic research workshops organised by the Centre Culturel Français in Brazzaville, where he worked with several artists and choreographers from Africa, Europe and America. Such a mix of cultures and blended influences undoubtedly enriched his own work.