Bringing Egyptian dancers together with soul-stirring Moroccan music, D-CAF's 100 Pas Presque exploded on the GrEEK Campus this weekend, as a contemporary dance act quickly turned into a massive Moroccan rave.
One moment we're watching a group of 20 people, men and women stood, silent, forlorn; the next there's a 200-strong rave to Moroccan World Music. It could have been just a moment, it could have been an hour but that's what 100 Pas Presque contemporary dance piece, part of D-CAF's Urban Visions programme does - it plays with time and space in relation to the public.
Choreographed by Marrakesh-based dancer, Taoufiq Izeddiou, the performance brings together local volunteer dancers along with their troupe CIE ANANIA. On the GrEEK Campus' open courtyard, the dancers lined up, static, facing a Moroccan band on the other side, 100 metres away. The soul-stirring rhythms and ethereal chanting acted as a kind of snake charmer for the dancers' movements. Ever so slowly and one by one, they would begin to move at less than a snails space, their world turning into slow motion. The audience surrounding the performance mesmerised and in the moment, forgetting the fast-paced dynamic of this modern day technologically charged environment.
Their movements became more and more elaborate, reaching, running and jumping back and forth in an unpremeditated manner. With the music rising dramatically, the dancing became more and more frantic as they reached closer to the band. It struck us that some sort of race of life was being played out before our eyes, the dancers falling and getting back up, some racing towards the end, some trying to reach back and others slowly, steadily enjoying the journey.
“One day, I was given 100 metres to express myself. I decided to invite the world. Of course, this invites questions of oneself, with one’s connection to the world and space … But above all, it continues to raise the question of the role of contemporary dance in the world, in public space … there where we don’t expect it," says Izeddiou.
On climax, when the dancers had all reached their destination, something quite amazing happened. Sucked up by the emotion of the performance and stunning music, crowd members one by one couldn't resist joining in and, before long, there was a mass of people jumping around, grooving, fist pumping... We even saw a twerk or two. People from all walks of life just dancing, for no apparent reason. It became much more than just a contemporary dance performance but a tear-jerking moment of unbridled human joy and togetherness rarely seen in Cairo.
Explore the rest of D-CAF's Urban Vision events happening until 9th April here