This is what African choreographers, meeting in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou end of February, had in mind : to develop a method to organise workshops in refugee camps in order to empower refugees and make them dance away at least part of their problems. The choreographers came from Burkina Faso, Chad, the DRC and Niger and had field experience either with people who fled the Central-African Republic to Chad, or with Congolese in the Equateur province and refugees in Niger.

They were conscious of the fact that out of respect for the dignity of the refugees you cannot just go into a camp and teach people how to move their body to broaden their horizon. Therefore, they invited human rights experts and social scientists to join their get together. At the end of the 10-day meeting, lasting from February 20 till March 1, refugees of the Mentao camp in northern Burkina, seeking shelter for the attacks led by the jihadist organisation, Ansaroul Islam, presented their act.

As a result of their training during the Ouagadougou gathering, they mixed traditional Touareg dance with Congolese elements and straightforward breakdance. When young Ag Abdoulahi Amiri was applauded tremendously for his acrobatic performance, a big smile appeared on his face. It looked like as if for him with dancing he was much better off than with whatever other remedy to make him focus on a horizon beyond the physical limits of the camp he was living in. Creativity is life.

Read the whole story of what happened last February at the Centre de Développement Chorégraphique (CDC)- La Termitière, one of Africalia’s partners in Ouagadougou, here below or click here to download it in pdf (article in French).

October 4, 2017
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