ITMAHRAG | Compagnie Olivier Dubois: ONE DANCE WEEK 2021

Living for many years between Paris and Cairo, Olivier Dubois formulates for the first time a singular vision of today’s Egypt: Itmahrag invites us to dive into the heart of a dance that Dubois describes as ‘incendiary’.

When: 21 May 2021 at 8 pm

Where: Boris Hristov House of Culture in Plovdiv at 15 William Gladstone Str

Tickets: at the EasyPay ticket offices nationwide, as well as online from EpayGo.

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Website: onedanceweek.com

Mahraganat (‘festivals’ in Arabic), more commonly known as electro chaabi (chaabi = “from the people”), is a musical style invented by Egyptian youths from the popular neighbourhoods of Cairo. Today it is the body and voice of a generation. Mahraganat talks about life, every day, the future, our future! Mahraganat made from self-tones voices and slang rhymes saturate the speakers of taxis, street vendors, as well as the ones of both chic and popular weddings, trendy or neighbourhood parties. Within Itmahrag, Olivier Dubois works with this drive of life coming from the youth.

“Itmahrag is a new term I invented. From the word Mahraganat, I coined a verb that does not exist: “be festive”. Itmahrag is like an injunction to dance, to sing. I really like the idea that all of this is just an invitation to be, to celebrate. A celebration like an enchantment. “ Olivier Dubois

Itmahrag is the result of several months of work in Egypt in partnership with B’sarya for Arts, a new independent space in Alexandria that supports young Egyptian musicians and visual artists. Olivier Dubois’s new creation is the product of dance training workshops for young performers of Mahrganat in partnership with Ezzat Ezzat Contemporary Dance studio in Cairo, a series of music production workshops for young musicians with François Caffenne in Alexandria, and weeks of an artistic residency in Cairo – a definitely incredible artistic and human adventure.

© Mossab El Shamy

“First, I think it is important to say that I have lived between Paris and Cairo for many years; and I saw this musical wave appear, flooding the Egyptian musical scene. Egyptians sing and dance everywhere, in a discreet and intimate way but it is an essential part of their culture. And there, I watched with much curiosity the development of this wild, instinctive music and dance. It might appear less “highbrow” than other forms, but it is still fully saturated, as if every space, every instant should be filled as if time is running out. It carries the audacity of youth. It took me years to dare to explore it. I wanted this new voice to find its maturity first because as a foreigner, I had no right to touch it or divert it from its raison d’être. Today, I tackle it with just as much respect and ignorance but with the conviction that this new wave is contemporary, that it carries a new language. A shout.”


ONE DANCE WEEK is organized by ONE Foundation for Culture and Arts. For more information, follow @onedanceweek on Facebook and Instagram, as well as on onedanceweek.com. ONE DANCE WEEK 2020 is part of the Plovdiv 2019's Legacy programme.


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