Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, France… Faustin Linyekula is an artist-traveler exploring the planes of both time and space. His interpretation of “The Creation of the World” is breathing a second life into this ballet created in 1923 at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées by the astounding Darius Milhaud (music), Blaise Cendrars (program), Fernand Léger (set) and Jean Börlin (choreography).
Originally received by audiences as a “negro-cubist fantasy”, this period piece draws more from Africa via its vibrantly hued costumes and its striking acoustics than from its appalling political state.
Accompanied by 25 dancers from the Lorraine Ballet and renowned artistic collaborators such as the musician Fabrizio Cassol, Faustin Linyekula seizes “The Creation of the World” with the intention of putting it once again into perspective. Noisily banging tradition and modernity together, the Congolese choreography enters a class of its own. With Linyekula at the helm, this memory work aims to not only commemorate but also regenerate in its entirety, all with an added dash of extravagance.
A dancer and choreographer himself, Faustin Linyekula commenced his artistic life in Kisangani with a group of friends fascinated by theater. In 1993, he left the Democratic Republic of Congo and settled in Nairobi. In 1997, he founded Gàara, Kenya’s first contemporary dance company, alongside Opiyo Okach and the dancer Afrah Tenambergen. In June 2001, Zaire became the Democratic Republic of Congo against a backdrop of persistent bloody conflict. A temporary visit turned into a life change as Linyekula decided to establish in Kinshasa the Studios Kabako, which would house visual theater and dance performance.
With his company, Linyekula has created 10 pieces, including “more more more… future” in 2009, an Ndombolo rock opera performed all over Europe and the United States, and “Le Cargo” in 2011, a solo work. In 2009, he staged “Bérénice” for the Comédie française and was cast in one of Raimund Hoghe’s projects as performer.
In 2007, Linyekula received the Prince Claus Fund’s Principal Award for Culture and Development. One of the Brussels-based KVS Theater’s associated artists, he moved his base to his hometown of Kisangani. The Studios Kabako followed him there in 2006, helping train and produce young Congolese artists in that city.
In August 2010, the proposal for an artist’s residency and creative laboratory officially moved into the development stages, with the venture expected to open its doors in 2015.