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Compagnie Hervé KOUBI's What The Day Owes To The Night a mix of strength and sweetness

by Joanna G. Harris
January 23, 2016
ODC Theater
3153 17th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9834
Joanna G. Harris Author, Beyond Isadora: Bay Area Dancing, 1916-1965. Regent Press, Berkeley, CA, 2009. Contributor to reviews on culturevulture.net
Born in France to Algerian immigrants, Koubi combines capoeira, martial arts, urban, and contemporary dance with powerful imagery influenced by the complex entanglement of national cultures. In a
post-performance discussion, Koubi maintained that his goal in forming the all-male company project What The Day Owes To The Night (Ce que le jour doit à la nuit) was to “show the wealth of the inheritance of these cultures” and bring the "camaraderie" of these dozen French-Algerian and African male dancers in their skilled performance to western audiences."

They were certainly skilled. The performance of What The Day Owes To The Night on January 22, 2016, ranged from highly acrobatic lifts and jumps to dancers spinning on their heads. These dynamic moments are intertwined with simple, soulful, slow walking in myriad patterns (allowing the men to catch their breath) and periods of complete floor
rest after which they help each other up and resume.

There are sections for small groups, but for the most part they all work together. In a few instances a dancer was thrown completely flat into the air and caught by his comrades. Another time a dancer was suspended as if on a cross.

All this goes on for about an hour. Sometimes the unexpected was expected (especially the flip turns) but overall it was a good hour of dance.

Each man’s physicality was manifested in slightly different sizes and shapes, but all were able to jump and flip and turn in the air with remarkable speed. What emerged that was so attractive, was the complete cooperation among the dancers that exuded a sweetness (as one audience member remarked) that is not usually felt among such a group. There was cooperation not competition.

The dancers were Laxhar Berrouag, Nasserine Djarrad, Faycal Hamlat, Nassim Hendi. Armine Maamar Kouadri, Riad Mendjel, Youcel Quali, Issa Sanou, Ismail Sedddiki, Reda Tighremt Mustapha Zahaem, and Adel Zouba.

The pounding music was by: Maxime Bodson Harnza El Din par Kronos Quartet, Jean-Sebastien Bach and misque Soufi. Lights by Lionel Buzoni: Costumes by Guillaume Gabriel.

Note: The support listed below shows a remarkable range of political and social cooperation. Koubi performance was made possible by FUSED: French-US Exchange in Dance, a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, and FACE Foundation, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Florence Gould Foundation, and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.
Compagnie Hervé KOUBI's dancers in 'What The Day Owes To The Night.'

Compagnie Hervé KOUBI's dancers in "What The Day Owes To The Night."

Photo © & courtesy of Didier Philispart

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