REFUGEES PARTAKE IN THE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY DANCE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Thursday 13 December 2012
Refugees rehearse before the first show © Abdoulaye Barry
Refugees rehearse before the first show © Abdoulaye Barry
The buckets allude to the floods that have affected the camps in September © © Abdoulaye Barry
The buckets allude to the floods that have affected the camps in September © © Abdoulaye Barry
Men rehearse on their own © Abdoulaye Barry
Men rehearse on their own © Abdoulaye Barry
Buckets and scarves are the only accessories used by the dancers © Abdoulaye Barry
Buckets and scarves are the only accessories used by the dancers © Abdoulaye Barry
The refugees often rehearse outdoors © Abdoulaye Barry
The refugees often rehearse outdoors © Abdoulaye Barry
A refugee dancer observes two members of the company as they rehearse © Abdoulaye Barry
A refugee dancer observes two members of the company as they rehearse © Abdoulaye Barry
The refugees make their entrance for the first show © Abdoulaye Barry
The refugees make their entrance for the first show © Abdoulaye Barry
The refugees dance during the first show © Abdoulaye Barry
The refugees dance during the first show © Abdoulaye Barry
Refugees relax between two sessions of rehearsing © Abdoulaye Barry
Refugees relax between two sessions of rehearsing © Abdoulaye Barry
The refugees with AAD General Director © Abdoulaye Barry
The refugees with AAD General Director © Abdoulaye Barry
A refugee dreams of her life outside the camps © Abdoulaye Barry
A refugee dreams of her life outside the camps © Abdoulaye Barry

Seven men and women left the Moula and Yaroungou refugee camps of Southern Chad to perform the play ‘Where Are We?’ at the International Festival of Contemporary Dance in the capital, N’Djamena. With the support of African Artists for Development and its flagship program ‘Refugees on the Move’, this third generation of refugees have become ambassadors for a hopeful world.

 

Created by the choreographer Taïgué Ahmed, the play’s choreography was inspired by the floods that hit the camps in September and came together after many long hours of practice. A few days before the premiere, the refugees woke at dawn to start rehearsing as early as 6 am.

 

The hard work paid off as numerous spectators went to the National Ballet of Chad to see one of the three performances scheduled on the 6th, 10th, and 12th of December. The audience responded so enthusiastically that another performance was added for the 8th at the French Institute of N’Djamena. More than 3,000 people expressed their admiration and joy at the shows, which marked the first time that a troupe of refugee dancers were able to participate in the festival.

 

For the 14 pioneer refugees who went to the festival in N’Djamena, the life-changing experience offered new and bright prospects for the future. For the first time, they were not considered as refugees but as full-fledged artists. The experience became not only a source of pride but a seed of inspiration as well, making them more determined than ever to build a life and future outside the camps.

 

In 2013, the ‘Refugees on the Move’ program will be reproduced in Central African Republic, Burundi, and Tanzania.