By Bamuturaki Musinguzi
Published May 19, 2016
A French dancer and choreographer has dazzled fans of contemporary dance in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
Fabrice Lambert dazzled lovers of dance with ‘Gravite’ and ‘D’Eux #2’, two of his creations, during the 13th edition of the Dance Week Uganda Festival held at the National Theatre, April 15-17, 2016.
‘Gravité’, that opened the festival, is an installation and choreography for a body and a pool of water. A body leans on a stretch of smooth water through which light and sound constantly come, revealing, in doing so, the slightest movements on the water. United by these minute movements, body and water become one entity; they are fused into one graphic image, thanks to a process that creates an image without the use of a video projector.
The light, reflecting off the body of water and onto a white backdrop, creates the image of a body floating on its surface. The construction of its fulcrums reveals the substance of the water itself, and its movements translate the body’s constant adjustments to gravity like a series of animated paintings.
As to the message behind Gravité Lambert told ArtMatters.Info that: “At the beginning I wanted to question ‘what is universal?’ Because everyone is different, so what does it mean to be universal? I started from the body and the gravity around it because without gravity we can’t stand. Each one of us wants to stand up in life.”
‘D’Eux #2’, on the other hand, is a piece Lambert says he created while in residency at Centre National de la Danse. A work on abstraction, Lambert, through it, considers his body as material and color.
“D’Eux #2 is a combination of a naked body and one you don’t see. It is about the memories of the body. I include a lot of movements of wild animals and modern posture,” Lambert said.“It can be performed on stage or anywhere and the context can change the dance. For example, here in Kampala, I opened this piece by coming out of a car to give the character a different perspective. My research is about body memories and the context of memories.”
Among the seven dance groups that took part in the annual contemporary dance event founded in 2003 to strengthen the relationship between the art of dance and the local Ugandan and international audiences were Victor Papsher from Congo-Kinshasa and Uganda’s Oscar Senyonga, Dance Theatre Uganda, Faizal Mostrixx, and Samuel Ibanda.
“African modern dance is really rich in terms of sensibility and energy. There is a big potential for me but I think African dance can change its own world by reconstituting its own code and creativity,” Lambert, who has also performed in South Africa and Mozambique, observed.
So how does Lambert who combines choreographic refinement and explosive energy, keeping fear at bay with spectacular images, manage to combines dance, choreography, and installation?
“That is the starting point for my choreographic work.” Lambert tells ArtMatters.Info. “I started by sharing with other artists the differences in several fields beginning with movements. I want to question the movement of the body by other artists within a specific space. My choreographic writing can be abstract.”
He describes his combination of dance, visual and sound environment as “a dialogue between body, sound and light. It’s like a painting. Sound is made up of one thousand guitar and modern machine sounds. It’s an image of modernity.”
Born in 1974 in Grenoble, France, Lambert trained at the Centre National de la danse L’Esquisse between 1994 and 1996.
He co-founded L’Experience Harmaat, a dance company based in France that means ‘shade of grey’ in Finnish, with Juha-Pekka Marsalo of Finland in 1996.
L’Experience Harmaat is a platform where dancers, visual artists and videographers question the notion of movement and explore how different types of phenomena can be incarnated in dance, such as the perception of the body and its distortion by images.
Lambert and L’Experience Harmaat have created 13 pieces that have been presented in France and abroad which include: Ethogram, Faux Mouvement, No Body, TOPO, Nervures and Jamais assez, among others.
Asked what attracted him to contemporary dance, Lambert said: “I realised that movement is in the present time. It’s a way of talking about the present that is why it is contemporary.”
The 13th edition of the Dance Week Uganda Festival did not go without any organizational glitches as the management of the National Theatre had booked a circus show for the same days and time. This meant the Dance Week Uganda Festival came on late throughout the entire weekend.
Despite this shortcoming, Julius Lugaaya, the founder and director of the Dance Week Festival, described it as a great event.
“It proved for the first time that dance as an art form has grown in Uganda and the region. Some schools have even adopted the performing arts on their syllabus,” he said.