Talk: Nadia Beugré

    10/05  | 20:15


Guest: Norman Ajari
Moderator: Eric Cyuzuzo

After the performance of her piece L’homme rare on 10 May, Nadia Beugré will enter into discussion with the decolonial philosopher Norman Ajari. Their conversation will make it possible to link and compare Beugré’s artistic practice with Ajari’s research. The main areas of focus will be the questioning of black masculinity and of the black male body as an object of efficient consumption. The first axis will link Ajari’s academic work on the deconstruction of black masculinity as dominant and dehumanised, to the staging by Beugré of men performing practices characterised as being more feminine and testing harshly constructed and assimilated masculinities. The second axis will confront one of the starting points of Beugré’s creations for L'Homme Rare, namely, old photos of slave markets in Ivory Coast, as a representation of the merchant gaze held by the Europeans on black bodies, and their persistence, to Ajari’s reflection on the enhancement of the musculature of the black body during the slave markets, as an indicator of the performance of that body and encouraging the consumption of this ‘commodity’, which relates to the fetishisation of the black body’s attributes today. The discussion will be moderated by socio-cultural organiser Eric Cyuzuzo.

 See also: L'homme rare

Confronted with the SARS-CoV-2 crisis, we had to cancel this project

Norman Ajari is professor of philosophy at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of La Dignité ou la mort. Ethique et politique de la race [Dignity or Death. Ethics and politics of race], published in 2019 by Éditions de la Découverte, Paris. His research focuses on critical race theory, philosophers of Africa and its diaspora, and black masculinity.

Nadia Beugré Nadia Beugré was born in Ivory Coast in 1981. She made her first appearance in 1995 as a member of the Dante Theatre, where she trained in traditional dance. Two years later, she became a founding member of Béatrice Kombé’s groundbreaking, all-female dance ensemble, TchéTché, with whom she toured for years to critical acclaim across Africa, Europe and North America. Following Kombé’s untimely death in 2007, Beugré immersed herself in contemporary dance by taking choreography classes with Germaine Acogny in Senegal, and continued her training in 2009 by joining Ex.e.r.ce., Mathilde Monnier’s programme for talented, up-and-coming choreographers at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier.  She was soon staging productions of her own, such as Un espace vide: moi ('An empty space: me') in 2009 and Quartier libres ('Free Territory') in 2012, and still touring, and attracting attention from estimable publications like The New York Times, which wrote of her work: ‘It's harrowing, both in action and sound, Ms. Beugré knows how to make a crowd trust her just as, in a split second, she knows how to knock the air out of people. She’s wild, like the wind.’ 

Legacy premiered at the La Bâtie festival in Geneva in 2015 and has also been performed at the Festival d'Automne in Paris, among other events. Beugré’s most recent piece, Tapis Rouge (2017), builds on an earlier work she co-created with Sébastien Martel for the Festival d'Avignon in 2014.

She created Roukasskass Club in 2018 and is currently working on the creation of L'homme rare,  which will premiere in 2020.

Beugré also performs in works by fellow choreographers, such as Seydou Boro (Burkina Faso), Alain Buffard (France), Dorothée Munyaneza (France/Rwanda), Faustin Linyekula (DRC), Bernardo Montet (France) and appeared in Boris Charmatz’s 10 000 gestes. In 2017, Nadia Beugré began a five-year artist-in-residence programme at De Vooruit in Ghent.

Eric Cyuzuzo is a socio-cultural activist who imagines, builds and organises platforms promoting the stories of black women at the intersection of their multiple identities. On the one hand, he works to create synergies between grassroots associations and major cultural institutions that are not based on recovery and exploitation mechanisms. And on the other, he co-founded and currently co-directs several non-profit organisations aimed at promoting and broadening the artistic, cultural and civic expression of black people in their plurality in Brussels and elsewhere.

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