The Spirit Has No Colour
Nadia Beugré, a socially engaged Ivorian choreographer whose work has been appearing on stages around the world for the past decade, likes to call a spade a spade. She actually has a middle name, Gbahihonon, which means “the woman who says what she sees”—something she does without prompting. This sets the tone for her work.
L’homme rare invites us to experience both the joy and light of dance and the weight and darkness of History, conveying it all with energy, generosity, humour, and power. For the first time, Beugré is directing a quintet of male dancers, who are mostly nude and seen from behind. The piece is a deconstruction of masculinity, but it’s also more than that. Through dance, Beugré takes direct aim at gender-based and post-colonial representations of the body, deploying an approach at once critical and sensual.
Produced by Nadia Beugré
Created and choreographed by Nadia Beugré
Performed by Nadim Bahsoun + Daouda Keita + Lucas Nicot + Adonis Nebié + Tahi Vadel Guei
Lighting Design and Technical Direction Anthony Merlaud
Music Serge Gainsbourg + Lucas Nicot + percussions d’Obilo, RDC
Outside Eye Faustin Linyekula
Lighting Manager Beatriz Kaysel
Production Manager and Touring Virginie Dupray – Libr’Arts with the support of Studios Kabako + Latitudes Contemporaines
Co-produced by Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Bruxelles) + Théâtre de la Ville (Paris) + Festival d’Automne à Paris + Montpellier Danse + CCN2 – Centre Chorégraphique National de Grenoble + Centre Chorégraphique National d’Orléans + Kunstencentrum Vooruit (Gand) + Musée de la Danse – Centre Chorégraphique National de Rennes et de Bretagne + BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen) + Théâtre de Nîmes
With the support of L’échangeur CDCN Hauts-de France (Château-Thierry) + DRAC Occitanie – Ministère français de la Culture et de la Communication
Creative residency Agora, cité internationale de la danse (Montpellier) with the support of Fondation BNP Paribas
Presented by Fugues with the support of Institut Français (Paris) + Consulat général de France à Québec in association with Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal
Premiered at Montpellier Danse, on October 23, 2020
North American première
Written by Enora Rivière
Translated by David Dalgleish
About the artist
Nadia Beaugré (Abidjan + Montpellier) Libr'Arts
A native of Abidjan, Nadia Beugré was for many years a dancer in the Ivorian company Tché-Tché (which performed in Montreal at FIND in 1999) with Béatrice Kombé, who played an important role in her personal development.
Following the painful loss of Béatrice, she joined choreographer and educator Germaine Acogny in Senegal, before taking up residence in Montpellier, France, to pursue the exerce Master course, directed at that time by Mathilde Monnier. She then began creating her own works while dancing in the final pieces by choreographer Alain Buffard (d. 2013), who had a major impact on her. She made waves with her first significant solo work, Quartiers libres, which laid the foundations for her staking a place and is still performed today.
When Beugré takes the stage, it’s for the purpose of making statements, asking questions, tackling taboos. Her engagement in the cause of women is inspired by a historic event, the 1949 women’s march on Grand Bassam. This Ivory Coast uprising aimed at liberating the women’s husbands, who were imprisoned by the colonial authorities, features in her piece Legacy (2015). The spirit of struggle, courage, and self-exposure that marked this movement are key elements in her choreography. Beugré also created the Libr’Arts association with the goal of building connections, particularly between France and Ivory Coast. She recently established an educational project for young Ivorian women in order to provide a space for creation and speaking out, visibility, and freedom. There are no limits to Beugré’s determination.