Patrick Haradjabu from Congo Kinshasa

I don't work with a company and I have been involved in different workshops. I created my first piece in 2010. It was a solo. My second piece is a duet created in 2011.

Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

I had an idea, which I had not physically started working on in space. I was hoping to get a residency at the French cultural centre in Kinshasa. It is difficult for me to describe my idea. The theme which was a starting point for me is traces of desire. I wanted to interrogate what I feel inside. How could I exteriorize it? I did not know exactly what I wanted. Things began to emerge little by little as we worked during the laboratory. I've often taken time to think of what it is I want. Should I continue to dance or find office work? Because with parents it is quiet complicated to make them understand that your career is that of an artist and I think I have to decide on whether or not I want to make dance my career. It is from this that I began to feel the desire to leave traces of what I want.

How has the process helped you?

I have sentiment that the audience are interested in the proposition. I would like to continue. If Jean Luc has to come to work with me, it demands a lot of resources but it is my dream, we will see how it will evolve. How can I put in place conditions that will enable me to work? I would like to find my own approach to doing the work. The way in which we work can bear a lot of fruit; notable how does one work with people around you?

Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.
  • Sophiatou Kossokotou- I retained a lot of things. I have not had time to digest all this information. I think I need time to understand profoundly. She had a very direct way of speaking with very particular sentiments. She was very clear as to what she was saying.
  • Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - He often expressed an idea and it's contradiction in an interesting manner. For me that means that in fact there are no good or bad things. It is the way you do that will make the work simple, clear and precise or not. There is no just one direction of work. There are of different directions and you have to make a choice.
  • Yann Leguay - with him it was very interesting. His idea of sound resonates a lot with me in the sense that I don't know too much about sound and music but his sound are the kind of sound that I hear and relate to in Kinshasa. It is the sound you hear all the time. It makes me feel that I should take the sounds in Kinshasa and transform them so that they become not just noise but something I can work with.
  • Opiyo - it is his pedagogic side that I liked a lot. The way to interrogate the work with a lot of calm because we really needed that.
What challenges did you experience?

Challenges…in the beginning I worked with a trio and it was quiet difficult to communicate my idea to them. It was difficult making them see what was seeing. Since words were not working, I decided to try out things in the space. Each time we discussed and tried out things, they discovered things they were not even conscience of but corresponded to my idea. I appreciate this way of working.

How do you see the Idea now?

I have the theme that I will continue to work with but will leave it open so that I can make choices. I am sure when I go back to Kinshasa my work will be enriched.

What is your view on?
  • Other comments – I dream of coming back to Nairobi.

Jean Loc Okou

I am a dancer and choreographer from Cote de Voire. I have been dancing since 1996 in Abidjan in Senegal.

Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

I arrived with an idea but the time was short. I did not have time to develop my idea before coming here. I wanted to speak of Injustice of humanism of the black man. That is my future project that I will develop after Chrysalides.

How has this Idea evolved over the four weeks?

I did not work on my project because I felt it was not ready.

How has the process helped you?

The public performances that were organised like the one at the supermarket. I found that great. It was going out of the box and removing the frames. It was great because we had a variety of audiences doing their own things. It was an interesting play with the public.

How did you find working with your colleagues?

Patrick - I found it engaging and interesting. He has a good way of sharing his idea. He was a good collaborator. I was able to contribute a lot of ideas to his project. The work with Adam was different to what we had with Patrick. Patricks work was more on how to deal with desire. The project with Adam was more to do with the text. The English was not easy. There was difficulty in terms of communication but little by little, things became easier.

Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.
  • Sophiatou Kossokotou - I say thanks a lot because I found her good for the theory…how to develop a story, research, deconstruct and how to develop an idea.
  • Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - He spoke a lot about strategy, how to say what you want to say, how to go to the essential. We worked on space, experimentation and exercise with movement. I find that great.
  • Yann Leguay - He came in a bit late in the process. If we had three weeks with him, we would have learnt a lot. How to use sound in a piece, how to accompany sound and body on stage. The exercises we did were great. His definition of music and how music is composed, I found this really great
What is your view on?
  • Other comments - I say thanks a lot to the project Chrysalides. I found the Friday performance quiet great. There was good cohesion.

Adjaratou Ouedraogo from Burkina Faso

Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

Not just I but we arrived with the project called violated destiny. We had begun to work in Ouagadougou 2 weeks precedent to arriving in Nairobi.

Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.
  • Sophiatou Kossokotou - in the morning we did warm-up at 11:00am we went into two groups and in the afternoon we continued to work and showcased the results and de-briefing. She helped us to articulate our projects and asked more questions that helped us to have an idea which direction we wanted to go and when we showed the work, she suggested things that we could do.
  • Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - did not mince his words. I liked his honesty. He helped us clarify our ideas. With him before speaking of your project you had to think first so as not to get mixed up.
  • Yann Leguay - he was the timid one but that did not stop him from doing his work. His work helped us a lot. Usually when working we do not pay much attention to what the relationship between the body and sound are doing but after his intervention we begun to think more about this. He helped us to think about how to combine dance and sound, the use of music. This was enriching for us. It also helped us to consider a wide choice of sound and music.
  • Opiyo - he does not speak a lot. He remains behind but he sees everything that is happening. He always sees things that are justly in the middle. He speaks less and he asks questions. He brings key words and it is upon you to search. He gave his opinion on everybody's work towards the end, the continuation of the work.

Hawa Sangare from Burkina faso

Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

It was a project on personal experience. We had begun to put together a company, Myself Adjarotou and another girl. I was pregnant at this time and we had to wait for three months. It was not easy. I lost my child at birth. Adjaratou's younger sister also passed away and the other dance also lost her child at birth so this was a tough moment. So I made a solo about my giving birth and later we decided to work on the idea together. We questioned ourselves on how the future can be go differently to ones expectations. That is how we came to the idea of uncertainty.

Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.
  1. Sophiatou Kossokotou - it was very important for us. Usually after work, we review things together with Adjarotou. When we discussed with Sophiatou, we broke down. She told us she was not sure we were ready to express it artistically. She helped us a lot in finding ways of expressing the idea.
  2. Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - I got lost many times because honestly I could not see the direction of his ideas. There was confusion in my head. I tried to focus on what I could understand in order to arrive at a process but it was not evident. I think that he did not necessarily want to derail our ideas but he wanted to bring us to a different place for expressing the ideas we had. I understood that not too late. It was enriching even if I was left with points of interrogation.
  3. Yann Leguay - his work was equal to that of Sophiatou. It brought me to something am not used to. Normally when I have a piece I usually listen to the music that I have and choose what I like. Or if I work with a musician, I ask him to improvise then I select what I like. But here I have come to realize what is sound, the definitions of sound, music, noise. I learnt a lot of enriching things with Yann.
  4. Opiyo - it was a different work, a different energy. It is true that to go from physical and come to theory is not easy for people who don't necessarily know how to speak but it brings a lot of things since it is a different way of working. It makes you explore things that you are not used to. He helps one to clarify the idea on paper before putting it on stage. It was calm but enriching and wise.
How do you see the idea now?

I see the project clearly in my head. It is here that I managed to convince Adjarotou to subdivide the piece. We did the project in three stages of life - the past, the present and the future. The past is pain, the present is reality and the future is uncertainty. We were discussing the future and at one point, we began to cry. Certain phrases began to emerge, like 'I have no wish to live…is this life that you can consecrate yourself to something and all of a sudden it can all change'. The project is very clear in my head now.

Romual Kabore from Burkina Faso, 23years old. Dancing since 2006.

I have never created my own work but have collaborated with other artists. This is my first creation.

Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

The theme is separation in the world of separation. The project consists of a poem, choreographic alphabet that has been created from the poem. It is from that, that I inspire myself.

Is it a project you have worked on it before?

It is the first time that I am working on a project and it was a challenge for me. It is one of the reasons that I proposed the challenge for the lab.

How has this Idea evolved over the four weeks?

I was surprised at the beginning, at the beginning we were not obliged to come with the work but were encouraged to come with an Idea. When we began to work with Sophiatou Kossokotou, we were expected to have the idea complete. I found that to be important because immediately we had to think about our projects in order to explain them. I could see progress of my work day by day. We begin to think of the audience right at the beginning of the process and this helped me quite a lot. It is from this work that I thought of having the audience physically present on stage. I made the work to be in such a way that whether the audience join me or not, I would be ready for both.

What do you do when the audience join you on stage?

My Idea was a bit like in everyday life when you call people there are those that accept and those that reject; there are those that exchange with you?

How do you see the continuity of your work?

I am continuing to work on the four verbs that I have chosen to work with. I will also work on the choreographic alphabet then the other verbs. I would also like to use the poem as audio and work with a musician

Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.
  1. I found it to be very interesting. It was my first time to work with Sophiatou Kossokotou. She enabled us to think for ourselves, to elaborate our Ideas by ourselves. She was giving keys and it was up to us to open the doors.
  2. Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - I was expecting that during the lab we would also build some sets that would be accompanied in researching scenography, the way he approach sceneography was new for me. I was not expecting it to be like that. I kept on asking myself questions day after day and realised that what he was talking about was also scenography. He gave me some reading materials that I think will help me a lot with my work. I found very Important the videos and Images that he gave as examples.
  3. Yann Leguay - I found that to be very important coz often we use music for the sake of music. But with Yann I learnt why we choose music and their meaning but unfortunately, we dint have enough time. I still learnt a lot and I thank him for that.
What is your view on organisation?

I found this quite good, as we say always, man is not perfect. I felt quite well. I dint feel as a foreigner. The ambiance with the mentors and the other participants, I found it quite good. There was some difficult with communication which is normal and language was quite an issue as I have for a long time wanted to speak English but I don't have the courage to speak. That affected communication. Sometimes I could completely lose my English. It was a good experience and has enabled me to learn a lot of things. I would like to say thank you to the project organisers and mentors and everybody else who was Involved. Thank you.

What would you have liked the Nairobi phase to be?

I would have liked us to be guided more in certain directions. I was expecting that. The Idea of making us responsible and defend our projects, I found that to be very good as well.

Nadége Amatogbe

Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

I was Interested to come to Chrysalides because it is different from the other workshops where we only dance. I was interested top work with the things around dance such as sound and scenography. I was motivated by the project description because it would help me develop my career. I was Interested to come and exchange.

Did you come with a project?

Yes, I did but because of personal reasons, I could not go on with it so I decided to work with other people on their projects.

How has the process helped you?

I had a lot of the experiences especially as regards theory. Other people's projects gave me a lot of Ideas that I Injected back into the project. I hope it enriched their projects.

Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.

There are things I had not thought before in my dance journey. The pressure they were putting helps us. I sensed a bit of Intimidation but I think it was In order to lead us in the right direction. It was necessary for the projects. Sometimes It was the criticism which was a bit too strong but I think we as dancers need that In order to progress.

  • Sophiatou Kossokotou - she was dynamic. I like how she is active, how she pushes you to go towards an objective; she gives a lot of information to cultivate our Ideas and to find solutions.
  • Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - we did not have time to build scenography and go profoundly into the things that he was bringing. I think that his intention was to put us in the right direction and it is upon us to find the way.
  • Yann Leguay - I think it was very interesting; I envy Yann because he has something I don't have. I would like to manipulate thing like that. I find it magnificent what he does with noise. The little time we had opened our eyes to many simple things that are important.
What is your view on the practical organisation?
  • Arrival - I was in a bizarre state. I am a bit frustrated. No one came to look for me at the airport and Razolo was arrested by police and the barbed wires leaves me with the feeling there must be something dangerous otherwise with the feeling of security and because of that I did not adventure into the city to discover Nairobi. I am disappointed by myself that I only worked and did not visit the city.

Marie Bède Koubemba, Congo Brazzaville.
Dancer and choreographer of Dance Company in Congo

Have you choreographed work?

I have created three pieces. The 1st is Nzana - meaning street children. 2nd Metisse - is about half cast Africans and right now, I am working on Virus F - on corruption in Africa. It is the third piece.

Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

My project was called contrast. It has been a bit complicated even the title seems a bit difficult to explain and express but I have tried to work with other dancers. It has not been very easy so I will continue to work on the idea to elaborate it more.

How has this Idea evolved over the four weeks?

I have had a lot of feedback each time we present and I think this will help conceive my project.

How did you find working/exchanging with other participants?

I think it is very important. Normally I dance a lot but I found myself in a project which is mainly speech based. Working with words is challenging for me. It's a new experience and it brings something new to my head. It was calm, there is no dance but a bit of displacement in the space and that was a lot for me. The project was very good for me.

We asked you not to necessarily dance, how has the process helped you?

Not to have to dance has enabled me to be more spontaneous. It was difficult at the beginning but I got to understand that I have to be myself in order to dance. That the dance needs to come from within.

What do you think of Nairobi?

I have always wanted to come to Nairobi, I have always wanted to come to work with Opiyo because I have heard that there are workshops and training that happen in Nairobi. I was very happy to be invited to Nairobi for the project.

Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.
  • Sophiatou Kossokotou too helped us a lot. She gave us the key necessary to go beyond. She gave us the possibility to develop and construct and deconstruct things, and that was something that we lacked. It was very good working with her.
  • Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - he had a particular vision, he sees things that we don't necessarily see. He is a bit of a philosopher who sees things that we dint see but later discover them. He helped us a lot. He spoke a lot about strategy and now every time I do things, I think about strategy.
  • Yann Leguay - he surprised us a lot. His first intervention he said we were going to try some sounds, he talked about sound that have emotions and psychologically affect the audience, sounds that express thought. It is my first time to see that kind of work. If you share with him about your piece and he can easily propose the music for the piece. It was very good working with him. He seems like someone who can help you compose original music. I have never seen anybody who works like this. This is what we need, ways of using music that corresponds to dance.
What is your view on?
  • Transportation - there was a problem with the organisation with the plane tickets. I received my plane ticket after the departure of my flight. I eventually arrived in Nairobi a little bit late but I was able to catch-up with rest of the group. I hope to come back to Nairobi.
  • Accommodation - this was very good.

Gody Ngosa, from DRC, 39 years old

Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

I wanted to work on 'et si' (what if) which resumes the notion anything can happen but in sharing with Belgium and Congolese students at the University, we ended up thinking about thirty years later what could happen. And we told ourselves that during that time, man would want to surround himself with machines and technology rather than being with human beings. And the question then that arose was whether man would maintain the same relationship with machines as with humans - love, hate, affection…etc - for his washing machine, PC, telephone or printer, or could have problems he could not share with his machines and end up missing back to human warmth. This was what I wanted to work on.

How has the process helped you? How do you see the idea now?

As for my expectation, I thought that we simply needed to come up with an idea and the rest would be collective and we would find things and work together to make choices of what is best. I found this lacking. I was waiting for more help with the choreographic process. I was expecting to acquire other ways of making work. As I came late, I only worked for two days on the second week and a few days of the last week and hence did not have a lot of time to work. I had difficulty because I came with an idea that had not been developed and I was expected to explain the idea and experiment with the other participants at the same time. And working with performers with whom I don't share the same language was a bit challenging. My case is particular because I arrived late.

Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.
  • Sophiatou Kossokotou - she spoke a lot but not verbally. She used a non-verbal language. She suggested a lot of exercises that provoked questioning, on direction, sharing of energy, the spectator, other dancers on stage and the use of space.
  • Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - I learnt that if you don't have a strong personality, you will give up completely. You will be frustrated and give up completely. He was the first to give a lot of information in different directions. Many companies in Africa don't have the opportunity to work with a scenographer. It was a great experience to work with a scenographer with a lot of experience like Jean-Christophe. The biggest thing I learnt was thinking about strategy, I think it will help me in the future.
  • Yann Leguay - I work in a radio station, I work with sound but the information I got from him was very artistic. I even asked if he could come and train our technicians at the radio station.
  • Opiyo - he has a lot of information but he says it in a way that someone posses questions to themselves and finds answers in relation to their work. I find that positive. I think every time he asked a question, it made people click. There are those who treated you as a grandfather between Jean-Christophe and Sophiatou because you created equilibrium.
What is your view on?
  • Nairobi is a bit calm. I found that the people are very good natured, maybe it is the Swahili, its comfortable, inviting, no aggression. Here you feel quiet secure.
  • Accommodation - I felt at home.

Guedoum Djimbaye

I come from Chad. I lead a company called Korazy.

Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

I arrived with an older project called the woman's bag. I had a problem of performers/dancers. I explained my idea but they could not understand it, that is why I had to change to a different idea. The story of a totem. In Africa, we have our roots. No matter how we change friends, lifestyle, there are things that always manifest themselves in our way of being so I asked myself what will be the place of these totems in our lives. I wanted to try and work on this idea on the place of totems in our lives.

How has this Idea evolved over the four weeks?

I had difficulties because I needed three dancers but there were only two available so I decided to dance in it as well but that made it complicated. In the end, I did not get what I wanted.

How has the process helped you?

I have learnt a lot. My project was not selected but I have learnt how to find strategy, approach, how to go from an idea to a project in the conception of work. What I also found impeccable is how to dance without exaggerating, how to find the neutral point of expressing what you want to say. How to find ways of saying that are artistically interesting. I will take time to digest all this. When I go back to Tchad I am going to organise workshops about what I have learnt and share.

Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.
  • Sophiatou Kossokotou - My experience with her was great that I can resume as a kind of milking material. The idea of taking material and elaborating it.
  • Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - I call him the philosopher, he who sees far beyond. Sees where we cannot see. It was a great experience with him in terms of scenography. I learnt a lot of things about the use of space.
  • Yann Leguay - He made me realize things I was not aware of. I found correspondences between his thinking about sound and African tradition. He made me think about things I was ignoring. That is what I found to be great.

Catherine Nakowesa from Uganda

OPIYO: How long have you been dancing?

CATHERINE: I have been dancing for twelve years. I started with the creative dance group then joined Ecoles de sable.

OPIYO: Have you created any work?

CATHERINE: I founded a female dance company and I have been performing with them and even teaching dancing back in Uganda.

OPIYO: Do you live on dancing?

CATHERINE: I do other things, I am a writer-advertising consultant I do copy writing.

OPIYO: Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

CATHERINE: I did not have an idea but when I got here, I managed to come up with something. My idea was the seduction of innocence. I was interested in how something comes from a state of purity and cleanliness to how it gets corrupted and what happens after.

OPIYO: Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.

CATHERINE: Sophiatou Kossoko - what I got from the process is not to be contented with the first thing that comes to mind. I learnt that there are details form an idea, to a thought and selling the idea to my colleagues then to myself to understand deeply. I had to tear down and start all over again and I have learnt to question that help build it up. It has not intimidated me. I wanted to learn and find a new way to create. I have found a new way to dance to move and to create. Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - I learnt that to create a new thing does not just come out of just thinking, if I want to create a new thing, I should see them differently and from an audience perspective. Yann Leguay - about sound I found it very fascinating. I realize that if I thing of sound not just as a decorator but as something that is creating a feeling, atmosphere, mood. Opiyo- I feel inspired and I have gained a lot.

OPIYO: What is your view on the organisation?

I have felt so honoured, the hospitality, transport and all that feels like we have been treated with respect and honour which made me concentrate open my mind and pursue the dance. I hope to create the same experience back at home. It was so motivating.

Dadi Ahmad


Adam Chienjo

OPIYO: How long have you been dancing.

ADAM: I have been dancing professionally since the year 2000. I was dancing at Safari park and Casino doing Cabaret and stuff and I worked there for four years from 2000 – 2004 and somewhere in between starting 20001 already I was coming to the Go down to Hillcrest and following the contemporary dance workshop. So by the time I was leaving the Hotel and Casino I was already had some experience and was dancing some few pieces out of my work.

OPIYO: Have you created any work before?

ADAM: Yes, I have created performances and gigs and yes, I have created a duet called "Questions" with Joseph. I have created a trio with disabled guys for Uwezo mix dance company it's called "watu na Viatu" I have created a piece also with 8 dances mixed people with able bodies and disabled people for the African Mixed Ability Dance Network it's called "Uasi" its a piece on rebellion and then there is "unknown" and now I still don't know what the title will be bit the working title is "I am reading on a piece of paper with nothing written on it."

OPIYO: Can you tell us a bit more about this idea? When you began.

ADAM: Initially from high school, I was known for writing poems for people to recite and sometimes I recited them alone actually from primary school. And somehow, from early high school, I lost this thing of writing poems and somehow I came out of school without being active in poetry. Then just this year at some point I was asking myself why did I ditch this thing, occupation or talent that I used to. So I started writing again so I wrote stuff some of that I am not using now and then one of the things that I wrote as a beginning of a poem is this –I am reading from a piece of paper with nothing written on . I didn't know if it was a title or a beginning of a poem but it came to in the house and I wrote it. And when we came to the project s, people were thinking of what they were going to work on and I thought to myself it would be interesting if I could develop this one sentence into a dance or into a performance. Because in Nairobi I am not known as, a poet but I go to events of open mic poetry and so I just thought if I can write and I am a known dancer then I can use this combination for a performance and I thought of it as a solo. I have been rehearsing and dancing it in my head. So in the laboratory I continued writing. I read the writing from a piece of paper over and over and over until I found something that came to me that seemed to be a continuation of it and then it was just coming and was just writing and writing. Actually, the continuation of it I wrote in the laboratory during this time. There is a part that I did when it was still a solo. It was talking about having a bad memory for dreams and I can't remember what I dreamt about something like this. This is the only part that I wrote before and also I did not write it conclusively it was just tetetetet but I knew what I wanted to talk about so in the laboratory also I finished this part. So my idea when I was writing "reading form a piece of paper with nothing written on" I could say I have the urge to get people's attention and to if possible get them thinking and make them think that I want to say something important and try to achieve the same journey that audiences go thorough emotionally sometimes when somebody is talking about a certain topic like. For example if somebody is covering rape and then there is you know these emotions and people are feeling sad and happy or sometimes laughing so it was in my mind how could I achieve this without really having a topic like rape or this or that I am talking about and people find themselves still going through this thing and then at the end of it they realise that actually they don't know why they were having that. For me this is what I am trying to achieve with the piece. That people still go through things without saying that; okay he was talking about this - but he was just confusing us. And if there is a time a beginning and an ending for me, it's a success.

OPIYO: It is true that during the piece there is quite a shift of the way people are relating to it. At some point it seems to introduce the notion of your reading nothing or that your memory…if you see…you don't remember, sort of putting your senses of perception into question and at some point we have the feeling that you're talking about something that takes on dimensions of nothing becoming such a big thing, as if we are discussing nothing quite deeply but without it becoming a philosophy class.
YANN: The audience builds its own philosophy.
OPIYO: But it is not you it is them [audience] who project a philosophical thought/ procedure towards it.

ADAM: I found it interesting when Goodie was giving feedback. To her it's confusing but when I am watching it so far, what it is till now I find it. What is totally a pleasant surprise and a gift that the piece is giving me is the humour because honesty when I was writing I didn't have humour in my mind. I just wrote what was coming from the heart. But the first day I presented it people found it funny. When I am doing it, solo people don't laugh as much but when the others are doing it, it's so funny and I see the funny part of it from outside and it's strange that people find it so funny this for me is a pleasant surprise. Though I intend to go the other way but I don't want to force it if it's going there its fine but I would like moments when it's really quiet and almost sad.

OPIYO: It is amazing the way just putting these words into people's mouths in the space it becomes funny. And what is good is that they are really just saying it, they don't express it too much they are just saying the lines. With a little change of intensity here and there – subtle plays of intensity and different kinds of voices saying the same thing - there is a multiplying effect. People project meaning into what we're saying just by the way they are saying it. In a sense, these words on paper are taking form in space and it's an interesting journey.
OPIYO: So in the laboratory you worked with different intervenants from Sophiatou, to Jean-Christophe, to Yann to a bit of myself. What comes to mind – let's talk Sophiatou? What is your experience of Sophiatou?

ADAM: I like the way she brings back people to business. I think she is very good at showing you that you are distracted and the place that you should be is here. What I took from her a lot is to really know what you want to say and the importance of knowing what you want to say before you start working or even if you are searching but at least you know what you want so when what you want is not happening you can say this is not what I want I want this and the importance of if you say I am working on this project and you know this is it. She really put the importance in our heads of being not just being single minded but knowing your goal and then they came the stories of strategy and tactics but I think this was very important. Like if you know where you are going then when have an obstacle you know it as an obstacle and you don't just see it as something else, you know that it is an obstacle and then when you find a clear way you see it's a clear way because it informs what you want to do. And sheer professionalism I think in Africa you need Sophiatou I mean in terms of time, warm ups, this is time for this, this is time for this, you should achieve this in this time and you should have a reason why doing this or doing that I think sometimes in Africa we freestyle too much.

OPIYO: And work with Jean-Christophe – what do you retain of that?

ADAM: I think from Jean Christophe what I retain is .As I said from Sophiatou you know your goal. But from Jean Christophe I think you should be able to explain to people what your goal is so that they can see it with you I think this is what I learnt from Jean Christophe he want you to be able to explain to people what you are doing, and why you are doing it and justify how you are doing it. For example he gave us an example if you want to pitch for a programmer your piece and you're like Duh . . .my piece is about . . .And also this audience thing – relating to the audience and spaces. The why you are doing something? How you are doing it? And justifying your way of doing it I think is important because many times we cannot explain why we are doing something we might know but we cannot explain and I think the ability to be able to explain what you are doing to somebody is important and I think he stressed this a lot in his encounters with us. When I see him, I know I should be able to explain what I am doing.

OPIYO: We didn't build any sets or that kind of process yet Jean-Christophe was here for scenography.

ADAM: In a way, I think we built sets in our minds. His presentations were very interesting and he for example gave us an example of audiences and different kinds of audiences and different kinds of performances and spaces, audiences in different spaces. For me this was a good impulse then you as a performer have this idea of your orientation and the audience and where are they and what is my position speaking to them. So in terms of placement it was very helpful and also when he spoke of "Shift Centre" and how he works. I think if you are a creator you already think of what about my work, how am I placing the people, where is the audience, how is the audience seeing the performance. I think he helped us provoke these questions in ourselves when we're making I own work and so even though he didn't physically work with us at least to me he made me think of the scenographic part of what I am doing. So even if I am working with another Scenographer I want to know what he is doing and why and how and I might want to ask him questions about what he is doing.

OPIYO: And the work with Yann?

ADAM: For me it's very interesting the sounds. Like for example when I am writing, it's original, I am writing from my heart and when I want an accompaniment like music, I'll check on my I-pod and find a nice James Brown song without him going Awww! And then I use the track because I know at least it's only instruments but someone will still recognise it as a swing, jazz thing. With Yaan, this invitation to original sound creation is interesting and for me it's a pity that we are not working with him in Ouagadougou because I was already thinking of ideas. I think the idea of being able to produce sound that you can choose/conceive. Okay I have thought of maybe this thing let us record it and see how it feels because like in Alacoque piece it changed everything. I felt like we were like this and when Yaan came something opened up even though we were still using the shillings the music. I felt like something was opening up because like with Alacoque and the coins we were in one spot like this all the time, I didn't feel like my eyes going out but with the coins away for a while, I felt like there was an invitation for information coming from all directions.

John Otieno AKA RAPASA ULAWE from Kenya

OPIYO: Articulate the Idea you came with to the workshop.

RAPASA: As I am always -known with sound and instruments. I have been thinking about sound and sometimes when I walk around or in the streets, how people react to sounds. So I just decide to check on this thing about sound and how the body reacts when a certain sound goes up and that is how I came up with the idea of sound.

OPIYO: And during the laboratory, you worked with a number intervenants. There was Sophiatou, Jean Christophe, myself a bit. There's Yaan. What memories remain of them? Can we start with Sophiatou?

RAPASA: I have worked with a number of artistes I found it challenging but not in negative way. Sometimes you need something different to change how you think how the approach of what you do. Everything was very tight. And I was always even after class I was always thinking about what we talked or any question or anything that was thrown on the table and start thinking about it so that tomorrow if we meet with the teacher or in the class I can raise the question again or try to find out why they say this why they explain it this way. I think these are some of the memories that will always stick in my head.

OPIYO: And with Jean Christophe what do you retain of that experience?

RAPASA: Jean-Christophe Lanquetin – he was more of what you do. And Yaan's work with sound is different from how I work but I got ta way for bringing them together. I got to learn that I can use natural sound and my jewelry and it is also part of the music.

Sarah Kwala, 27 years old

OPIYO: In the laboratory, you were one of the people whose idea has retained for the lab. Tell us about your idea.

SARAH: Well in the proposals that we had, somebody had to have either an object or anything that they would want to work on. So mine the concept I got from a veil, a black ceil I wanted to use a black veil. Then as the process continued the idea grew the idea is basically is questioning the position of women in the Mungiki community and meanwhile I would love to address this issues because the Mungiki women they do not have voices and most of the time we never hear about them.

OPIYO: So the way it worked for you it begun form an object the veil and then the idea of the Mungiki women came after?

SARAH: It was attached.

OPIYO: So looking back what do think of the idea now? What has changed in your thinking about the idea?

SARAH: The idea was much broader because when I first explained it Sophiatou she felt it was much broader and maybe I should focus on one thing and looking back at it I also felt the same so I narrowed it down to Mungiki women.

OPIYO: Tell us then the evolution of the idea. How you worked - because I know that initially you were dancing it yourself, trying it on yourself.

SARAH: The first week I would say was the conceptualization of the idea. More improvising and finding materials and doing more research on the idea and then the second week I would say was having something a piece or a dance constructed for about five minutes and then showing it to the public and then getting feedback and then with the feedback I would react to them and then probably change one or two things.

OPIYO: So one of the things that happened was that Jean Christophe and Sophiatou suggested that you work with someone else and particularly I remember they suggested that you work with a male performer. What do you think about that. First of all why?

SARAH: I would say that the process is experimental so this platform gives me an opening to experiment on things that probably would work and see if the idea is good or not. So when Sophiatou and Jean Christophe suggested I work with a male at first I wasn't convinced that was what I wanted but when I looked back again it felt like it was in the context of what I was working on because these women don't have voices and the working title is "behind the scenes" so it's probably a good idea that I work with a man. .

OPIYO: and keep the woman behind the scenes.


OPIYO: So literally, you are behind the scene as concept. It follows through on the concept that you had. You are still experimenting with the thing - it's still at the conceptual stage and nothing is fixed. You can still have just women on stage, you have male or you can have both. But do you feel that the idea has evolved – good, bad? What's good about the way it has evolved? What's bad?

SARAH: To begin with the good evolution. I would say that when I did the solo when I was performing it myself I was much into it and at some point I was trying to put myself into the position of these women and at some pint I could not work because I got emotional because I had an interview with one of the women and her story was really touching and so as I was thinking about it and also working it got to a point when I could not work and then when Jack came in I became much easier - just seeing another person doing it and me looking at it from the outside.

OPIYO: It gave you a distance, which permits to work rather than being too emotionally engaged.


OPIYO: How would you like to continue working on the piece?

SARAH: First, the piece will change because I won't have Jack in Ouagadougou. So I had planned to also perform it so I will work with Razolo and also be in the piece and if I could still retain the idea of the veil because that was the idea I had initially.

OPIYO: Does it worry you a bit? Are you anxious?

SARAH: I must say I'm looking forward to working.

OPIYO: In Ouagadougou, it will be to construct the object. You worked first with Sophiatou. What is your impression?

SARAH: The first two weeks with her, I would say was very productive and I must say I was privileged working with her. I loved the way she approached her work and the way she would mentor the works and the discussions we had. So it was great.

OPIYO: I know that Sophiatou questions ideas a lot, she interrogates. Do you think that was a useful thing? Was that something that at the same time sort of puts you in a . . .

SARAH: In a brighter side, I would say that it is a good thing because at some point, you might have an idea but you don't know where you want your idea to go but if your interrogated it actually helps you to get the idea where you are and where you want to go.

OPIYO: And Jean Christophe what did you get from his experience the Scenographer?

SARAH: Honestly not much, because we didn't spend much time with him. But with the few workshops we had, the theatre and the connection with the audience and how you can address the public, I think that was also very productive with what we are working on – the space of the spectator in this whole Chrysalides thing.

OPIYO: And the work with Yaan? What is your experience of that?

SARAH: I think sound for me is the most important part also of if you're creating work. I remember I had a talk with Yann that I was once at a festival and I had just chosen sound then just before I performed there was someone who was on stage performing and accidentally it was the same song that I had so that crash was like a bang for me so when we talked I felt it's good to construct your own music and his ideas on sound was helpful.

OPIYO: What have gained most form this experience looking back now?

SARAH: Different approaches to work. How people see things. How they approach work and how they create networks with the other participants. And all the things we've learnt from the facilitators.

OPIYO: Have you created other work before?

SARAH: I have co-choreographed "High Table" it was a collaborative work with different artistes. I have a solo that was initially a concept of someone but then I owned it – I changed it a bit and then I have done choreography for this group based in Kibera - I help them with choreography a lot but generally it's the solo and the "High Table.

OPIYO: So I hope that this experience will shape and influence and give you some tools as we move forward.

Neema Bagamuhunda

SHEILA: Introduction.

NEEMA: My name is Neema Bagamuhunda. I'm a performing artiste. I have also done a little of theatre and community theatre.

SHEILA: Tell us about your project idea.

NEEMA: My idea was on masks. Not masks that people wear but masks that people portray. I think that most people wear masks a kind of mask. What they are inside is not what they portray. Sometimes you are with people and they show you one face and after sometime you realise there is another face to them either personally, or business or work people always wear this face to face or deal with certain things.

SHEILA: So what's your perspective on how it evolved?

NEEMA: When I started working in it was these ideas that just came suddenly. My first idea was to actually have people wear masks and then paint their faces underneath. But afterwards it evolved to something you could show with the hands, with the feet. Because with the hands it is easier to show and not to show rather than the face because if you don't show your face your also not seeing so we decided to use he hands and the feet to show – to paint different people different colours so we can show them to the audience but not to each other. So the audience can see that this is what this is really is but people who are working on stage cannot see. Sometimes we had struggle – everyone is trying to show their hands and others like a competition for space to show the hands and feet.

SHEILA: So what's the object now?

NEEMA: Actually a lot has come out of it. One of the other participants Razolo told shared me short film on African masks, which is something totally different, it's another face of the mask because when you wear the African mask you have changed your identity your representing a spiritual thing that is supposed to be feared or worshiped, or to be reacted to in a certain way. And I am interested in going in that direction of the mask or the masks that clowns wear, that people wear to go for football games or such things. I think it's also an aspect of the mask that I would like to go into.

SHEILA: So how has the process helped you or maybe not helped you?

NEEMA: It has been interesting because every time you do a little work you have to show and he people react to it and then the mentors guide you on where you should go. It has been different from the way we work normally- because when we work we put our ideas together and then you put something. But when you have people, critiquing from the beginning it changes the way you see your work and also you see this can be seen this way rather than what I meant to say. And that has changed the way the work has developed. For instance, with Sophiatu, she came and she is the one who actually suggested for us not to wear the physical mask because that also implies something different. Maybe we could just paint the face and mke expressions. When you have people inputting into your idea, things really change a lot.

SHEILA: And what has your experience been with the mentors?

NEEMA: Its been good I have learnt a lot. I found it very difficult with Jean Christophe to actually understand what his idea of strategy and tactic is. But eventually somehow I think I am still getting there slowly. But it has been good, we learnt a lot from Yaan, we learnt a lot for Opiyo. The way they react to our pieces. The suggestions they make. With Jean Christophe, he was very specific about how do you want your message to come across and how do you want the audience to see your work. Sometimes that is difficult to deal with because what you say is not always what is received.

SHEILA: So what is your ambition in terms of dance - how far do you want to go with it?

I want to go as far as possible I want to dance when I am 70. Because I have seen people dance when they are 70 and they look really good. Contemporary dance in Kenya still has a long way to go in terms of audience development in terms of audiences actually appreciating it. But people who are actually doing the contemporary dance are getting more and more involved and we're getting more and more people. So like this particular corner of the industry is growing and we're getting more people teaching and different kinds of vocabulary, people are actually sharing more between the different kinds of dances so it is growing. My vision in the long run is to see it grow more and have shows that can actually show and bring back returns to the performers.

OPIYO: During the laboratory, there were two public presentations. The one at Prestige Plaza and the one at the end of the process. Can you tell us something about them. Your impressions.

NEEMA: At the prestige plaza, a lot of people decide to go with improvisation just making up stuff as we go along. F0r our group we decided to go with something we had already rehearsed. My impression was that the audience knew something was happening but it was difficult for them to understand what was happening and how they should react to it. Should we stop and watch, should we just walk around them, should we take in what we can for a little while and the go away? But generally, there was a reaction from the audience. I noticed that some staff member who followed us all the way, literally through all the performances and hat was nice for me. Also, it was hard not to go into narrative dancing because this is Kenya, this is Africa people want to see something that makes them feel something so if you go abstract completely people will just look ad sat "these people are doing wazungu things". But if you try to tell a story however abstract it is for example Alacoque piece with the shillings on the box, people feel something, everybody knows what money is and when they hear money falling all over the place they have to react. So for me it is easier to work with and African audience 0r in Africa with some form of narrative even if its abstract. From the show at the Godown, most, some of the audience where people who were already exposed to contemporary dance so it is easier for them to sit and appreciate it and take in what is coming. There was also the audience from Nairobits, the young adults, the ones who were studying I felt that maybe they were not quite understanding and were seeking to try to understand but eventually with time as they stay at the Godown they will stop trying to understand and will react to it how they feel about it. I feel it was a great show considering the reaction from the audience- people actually hang around to discuss the pieces with us. It actually started almost on time and that was a good thing.

Julie Iarisoa


Jack Otieno

OPIYO: I notice that you did not come in with an idea to the workshop. I see that you participated more as a dancer.

BRYTON: Actually, the idea I had is something that I was experimenting on with someone else so I tried it for the first week and it was tough – it didn't work out.

OPIYO: What was difficult?

BRYTON: I was working with Razolo and the idea of memory – Sophiatou said that whatever I was feeding Razolo with was not working for his body and so it came like a challenge to me and so I just had to bring it down and maybe do it as a solo.

OPIYO: What did you gain or didn't gain from the experience?

BRYTON: I gained a lot from the lab first and foremost being part of someone's idea at first I thought it was going to be somewhat hectic but in the end process things worked out and the positive part of it is that was we were able to achieve together with the idea holder what he or she wanted to come out.

OPIYO: So really in the end your role in the laboratory was to interpret.


OPIYO: But also in the process of interpreting, I imagine that you influenced ideas so that you are not only receiving but also giving back.


OPIYO: In whose Projects did you work?

BRYTON: Razolo's and Sarah's.

OPIYO: What was your experience in Razolo's piece? What was the theme?

BRYTON: The theme was almost similar to worship kind of a totem something that you r put your faith to. From my Christian background at first it was like "Hey, I am going against my faith" and I had to do it. It means nothing.

OPIYO: So Razolo's piece was around faith and religion and that for you posed some challenges and difficulties.


OPIYO: What was challenging in it. Was it the statement he was making about religion?

BRYTON: Actually I don't know the statement because whatever they were speaking I couldn't hear them and for the chants we were making at the beginning I didn't understand anything so I was like – let me just do it.

OPIYO: So what were you exactly doing in his piece then?

BRYTON: Actually trying to express ourselves to this totem it's like we are fighting to ownership for this type of faith. So we were actually to express ourselves about the way we feel about what influences us more when we see the totem.

OPIYO: And in Sarah's project?

BRYTON: Sarah's project was the trickiest one of all – she was talking about behind the scenes of what the Mungiki women go through so actually I had to put myself in their shoes and actually portray the Mungiki woman.

OPIYO: And what was challenging about that?

BRYTON: First was trying to put my shape into a woman trying to form my body to become like a woman and really feel the pain because Sarah's body and my body are very different whenever she does a thing it is totally different from the way I would do it – maybe because I am masculine she's too soft and I am more open and for her she wanted it to be more of inside, personal.

OPIYO: Intimate? Introverted?


OPIYO: And you are very expressive in an exterior-ated way/externalised way. If you think back, what particularly did she want you to interpret or express. Pain in what way?

BRYTON: She wanted us to express the agony that these people go through there is the issue of FGM, they are beaten up, they are never at peace. So we want to bring out the different issues they tackle on a daily to day life.

OPIYO: So the intention was to express this oppression? What was the strategy? What was your feeling of what strategy was she using?

BRYTON: Actually, I didn't ask her about the strategy I was following rules.

OPIYO: How did you work? Do you remember any example of physically, practically what kind of instructions? How would you generate the movement?

BRYTON: The movement was coming out of oppression and pain. For example when someone is in pain holding the body – so the movement came from holding the body and then she tries and fuses it make it more of personal for the audience to see the pain and the oppression that she is going through.

OPIYO: Now that you look back at that experience do you think Sarah's idea has gone through some evolution. Has it evolved, well or not?

BRYTON: Yes, it has, it has – and I am really eager to see the outcome.

OPIYO: Something else I am wondering about – we had different intervenants we had Sophiatou at the beginning, then Jean Christophe who also came, myself and Yann. I'd just like to get your feeling of the work with the intervenants. Sophiatou for example what in your memory do you feel you got from her – difficulties as well.

BRYTON: I think from Sophiatou we have different interpretations of dance. For example, when we started working with Sophiatou she wanted us to think of nothing just release your body and put yourself in the mood for dance. Don't think too much as in, sometimes before we get to a rehearsal space we tend to think of what we are going to do - but in Sophiatu's case it was very different she was telling us just do anything and see the outcome so actually that posed a very big challenge because we are used to thinking too much and she didn't want us to think a lot.

OPIYO: You mean that she did not necessarily give you either a subject or a movement to do or she had you generate that from nothing in a sense? Not giving.

BRYTON: Yes, she was giving us. It was up to you to come up with anything you think you can do.

OPIYO: Why do you think she did that? From your reading why do you think she may have done that?

BRYTON: I think she wanted to see how we are trained because we come from different backgrounds of dances. Some people started with contemporary others modern dance, others African traditional dance so I thinks she wanted to see the body language that we as the dancers had.

OPIYO: But perhaps maybe it was her way of trying to understand to really know who you are in a really short time and the best way is to get something that is really coming from you. And Jean Christophe what is your memory?

BRYTON: Number one thing is the strategy. For you to start working you must have a strategy and you must have a clear process of working, I think these are two very basic things that when as I dancer I focus on and put myself into I can really come out with something concrete and be able to explain what I have done and what I have gone through in the making of my work.

OPIYO: And form myself.

BRYTON: I have been with you before.

OPIYO: And what is your impression of working with me this time?

BRYTON: This time I think we didn't work much with you – you were very busy if I may say so trying to organise things here and there. But from the last time we worked I have also come to realise the different way people work and your way of working is very different from other peoples way because I have worked with other people before and I find it more of a challenge.

OPIYO: A challenge?

BRYTON: A challenge because of the training I went through when I started contemporary dance was so strict, you are doing this you have to stick to it you cannot pen your mind to other ideas and bring them together. So in this your way of working is more open you can fuse things from one place to another bring them together and see the outcome.

OPIYO: And working with Yaan?

BRYTON: Working with Yann has been so nice. The different experiments and sound actually posed a challenge too. Because I remember, there was a time I was touching a wire making a sound. Good sound coming out of a wire. And you can also use the memory stick the one that comes out of a success card you can actually use it to make you can actually place it at a place and try and make a sound out of it. So to me sound class was the best of all Yaan really did a great job.

OPIYO: This year opening up the idea of sound what it's coming from and sound can be generated form anything.

BRYTON: and also, we learnt there is a difference between music, there is a difference between sound and there is a difference between noise.

OPIYO: Is this your first time to do anything workshop involving sound?

BRYTON: Yes, this is the first time. I have never done a workshop on sound. This is the first time

OPIYO: So I think this has been very instructive in opening up your thinking about sound and music. What is the role of music, how do we work with music. Lastly, how did you find the organisation of things, of the workshops?

BRYTON: I think it worked out. It wasn't chaotic. For me I found and easy time.

OPIYO: What was the difficulty?

BRYTON: The difficulty was the time. We started very early. Difficultly was time because the traffic jam hustling up and won but we made it.

OPIYO: This was an earlier start than usual. But I was surprised that there wasn't much lateness.

BRYTON: I think it's a mind-set you have to adapt to and discipline.

OPIYO: We ended up with a performance yesterday. How do you feel about the performance?

BRYTON: Yesterday's performance was good, it went according to plan and from the reaction from some of the audience I got feedback from some actually didn't understand what we were doing and we understand and to some they got something not all people get an idea of what you are working on. So actually, it went out well. For me I enjoyed the performance being part of the performance was nice.

OPIYO: The other performance we had was last weekend at the Prestige Plaza. Any memories, remarks.

BRYTON: Last week's performance at Prestige Plaza was one of the most dramatic performances. Because having a moving audience in front of you, besides you or behind actually was something nice for me and the audience actually they were like prepared because from the moment we entered the space I can remember some people saying – fracas is just about to begin here so I was like which fracas? I don't know how the noticed we were performing but maybe because of the way we were dressing it was very simple. And the space also the different space of performance was actually very good.

OPIYO: What was challenging?

BRYTON: What was challenging is that sometimes where I was going to perform I was afraid that I was not going to get an audience because it was at the cinema and by the time they were moving from space to space no one was there so I actually had to tell my colleagues can we have another location and from the location that we had I think it worked out well we had an audience and it was okay.

OPIYO: Lastly, you were in the end not selected to come to Ouagadougou – was that disappointing for you.

BRYTON: I am not sure of that. Actually I don't know maybe because I had dropped my ideas I thought that was knocking me out but I don't know I don't know. So wasn't disappointing because something I have git from the workshop I can still use and produce something good. So for my colleagues who are proceeding ahead I think they will learn more and by the time, they get back we will share on what they have learnt.

OPIYO: Thank you, it's true that Ouagadougou was not necessarily the idea - the process itself is what is important. What it opens up for the mind.

Alacoque Ntome, Nairobi based from Kisii. 30 years old

OPIYO: What was your idea for the laboratory?

ALACOQUE: My idea was working with coins and basically, I was looking, in terms of coins, at the journey of money and where it started. Being a laboratory, I was free to experiment using some coins, trying to use stones because at certain particular areas or many years ago there were some places they used stones as a valuable substance or probably objects. So I wanted to explore that and see where it would take me and in terms of once there was an exchange for the stones basically to me it may be of value and to another person not of value so the initial thing I wanted to work with was one form of valuable substance the cleansing of it to another one. So I was thinking of a shower and how to take that. And through the journey in the laboratory I have worked with different artists different dancers and its different on how they react to that, subject and I got open to take what they think, which helped me to develop to the place where I was yesterday.

OPIYO: Your piece has centred around an image of coins showering, a shower of money, so to speak, an emblematic image in these times of financial crunch. Looking back at your initial idea and what you have now – what is surprising for you in your work?

ALACOQUE: Surprising? Okay I feel like I need to work more and more. Having Yann in the project – him coming and saying why don't you record the sound because it has . . . I felt why not let's try it. And then with that sound and somebody standing it creates a strong image. So I was thinking in terms of advancing that – getting different kinds of coins – for sure they sound not the same – there's different sounds that they make. So that I get to work on different sounds of various coins. I was thinking in terms of putting different booths that is maybe to advance it to have like 4-5 booths with a person inside with sound, without a person with sound, with a lady, with two people inside, just to see that reaction. I'd love to explore just to explore - with a person moving, working with real coins, working without real coins but working with the sound of real coins on the other side, the other one working with the sound of the falling coin. Just to play with that. The other one tossing. Just to play with the different ways that we use the coins just to see where it will take me.

YANN: So you kind of create more material rather than a piece-------------------------

ALACOQUE: It's the same piece different people at the same time.

YANN: I get it. It's like you develop all the material you have with coins and people? It's a question? If you do a kind of catalogue?
OPIYO: It's like you're generating an inventory of material.


YANN: Then you get it raw . . . as a raw presentation?

ALACOQUE: But I would love to see where it goes because I am thinking there is a booth I saw somewhere and I thought what if it goes inside there the piece because even for yesterday it's just that the piece is placed outside somewhere just a small section so in terms of now a boot with maybe holes or the doors open to give it the feel of that a real shower.

OPIYO: So this image of shower that you are interested in playing and experimenting with…is it to do with money falling down, is that how the thing of shower…? Where did the idea of the shower come from I am wondering? How did you arrive at that?

ALACOQUE: The first image came . . . I get to see our politicians. At one particular time - there's one who actually was with a chopper and dropped money to the people. There was different reactions down. Some people were stamped on and died but yet nobody could sense there was a dead man here you still keep going for the falling money . . . you run for it. It is later that after you finish running for it that's when you are like okay . . .but you have it already. So it is in terms of power but at times, it is with that image which now it's developing, it's actually taking to a different direction. The dancer just being there . . . and the sound of money, the action of another dancer coming and putting money and then dusting the coins away or smashing them– it creates something which now I don't know exactly where but my journey of the money where it came from and where even what I see today in terms of for instance the story of the politician with the money and dropping to the people I think it means something. So I was exploring all through the laboratory every time I had an opportunity I would do different things.

OPIYO: So in a sense it's almost as if you have, you've ended up with an image or a series of images, or a series of materials and as we go on, as you generate the material you are sort of questioning it, asking yourself what is it, what is it generating, what is it saying, what is this object, as the object is transforming itself you are kind of at the same time building a perception, knowledge of what it is you are talking about in a sense you have an image and you're interrogating the image.

ALACOQUE: Yah – for now I am just interrogating the image, the sounds actually trying to go deeper into the materials I have. It's more into I am questioning why, how and let me go for it. If it works I, pick if it doesn't work I drop. I am just going deeper and deeper.

OPIYO: Do you risk searching in the dark?

ALACOQUE: No, I don't risk myself.

OPIYO: How do you ensure that you keep to some kind of strategy? I think that you have a strategy for generating material and exploring things. It seems that you have got into the process of generating things but at some point, you will have generated a lot of things how do you get to know this the good thing. How do you make selection because at some point you will need to decide and to select and to throw away? What will help you in that process? What would you use to do that?

ALACOQUE: Day one when I thought about this I invited, I talked to a few artists shared the idea then they say – it's a strong one but how do you go about it? I do it and I call someone them to come and see and this is my journey. So with that they see the image and they are like it's not working this one is working. Basically the process I am using is I introduce, I share , get feedback or get as much information as possible then I go inside and work then I call someone they come, we see together. With that, it has really helped me. Like day 1 with Sophiatou she came and said "that won't take me somewhere" and I was like okay then I think I will eliminate the coin. Not work with it and work with just a gesture of the same. I took it to my fellow students and they didn't like it then I brought the coins they are like "now we get it". So I decided to keep the coins. So I got a different dancer who had a very different way of reacting to money actually it was lady, Godie. Once it falls for her it's a shock and working with Dadi and myself the first piece it was just light it was like we have a lot of it and we are just carelessly putting it off and going through. But for her that sound meant a lot. Because the first thing I told her – when you hear this, what is your reaction? She couldn't figure it out until I gave her a lot of coins and when they went down, she had a shock. I was like wow that's interesting can we try that. And then I worked with that and then Adam came in I gave him the money same process and asked him what is your first instance if this is what you have. For him the first thing was to count it to know how much he has. Also, that was a nice process. It was just counting. We presented that and I felt like it was more focused - it was internal and it wasn't outside. So I tried like - know you have the money you know how much you have – lets work on top of a table. So we wanted to bring in a table basically and work on it. So I got a small platform and there I got the image. I was like that is interesting. So what if money comes from above? So the first thought that I had the first day of coins and shower – the journey took me back to the first idea. Which is interesting any way. So much interesting. You think of one thing you will go round but they bring you back. Even when I came to the point, I did not know. It was after sometime I looked to the e-mail I sent you I was like I am back exactly to the point but I didn't know how to deliver it. I had a series of process. Even at times, we couldn't do so much - the best thing we could do is to just talk, do something with it, and try to search for it. There is a notion that was in my head like if there is rain; a storm that is coming you can feel that there is something heavy that is coming. So I felt that if there is a rain of coins coming then there is a sound that comes from above. I took Yaan to the studio and I told him like now I want you to record the sound of falling coin. It's a joke he told like when ants fall they do make a sound. But the is as some sound that comes out of that action because there is friction between an object and air maybe at times we can't hear it. So we went to the studio Ketebul and got a room and we tried to search for that sound. It was basically more to research and actually, we got the sound we could hear the sound we also had to select specific coins and actually record the sound.

YAAN: Yes but it's an image you have about friction and stuff because the noise of the coin is just the hitting on the_______________
OPIYO: But when it goes up there is a sound?
YANN: Take care about the image you can have on the stage and the reality, like for me there is a lack of doubt – it is really my opinion that there is an interesting thing you are saying but we can't escape from your vision. Just my opinion. It is the same thing when we record and you told me three times yes, there is a sound of a coin falling. No there is the sound of the coin hitting the floor.

ALACOQUE: I think it is the echo that it creates once it goes.

YANN: No, it's just to take care in the future and if you collaborate with people.
OPIYO: Because of course maybe everything sounds. And also, when you go to such a little detail about a thing, a sound like the sound of a coin flipping in the air, the sound of a flipping coin!

ALACOQUE: I was searching for sound across. There is a day when we were doing with Adam in the studio you followed the coin and listening at the recording I could hear the zzzzzz it was so powerful. So I felt like this is something and I want it.

OPIYO: The sound of the thing moving in the air?

ALACOQUE: Yeah just moving. Just that sound.

OPIYO: Why would you be so interested in that sound in relation to your idea?

ALACOQUE: In terms of the shower, if I got inside a shower and I open - there is a sound that comes - that force, the first force before it hits the ground.

OPIYO: The sound comes from water escaping through holes in the shower head but the water in the air doesn't make any audible sound we can usefully. . .

ALACOQUE: Searching.

OPIYO: And why would you be searching for that in relation to your idea about money?

ALACOQUE: So that it could give a feel of that journey.

OPIYO: Would you not just end up illustrating it? If you had the sound what signal would you possibly want to transmit? But that's where… some of the questions as you search everywhere, it's always… you might find yourself in a detail, which is very far from the idea you are trying to achieve.

ALACOQUE: There is one thing I learnt from Sophiatou. An idea and when you have so many things around you can't exactly go straight to the point. So pick 2or 3 and try to research on them.

OPIYO: How do you pick 2 or 3 maybe is the question.

ALACOQUE: You have an idea and then you look at maybe the effect in terms of the effect and I was working in terms of value. So I took value and journey and see the reaction of it. So I felt if I can have that just the sound to help create just state. That is why I was looking for that 1 sound. I don't know but I got it. I got the sound, which I felt if we had much time with, I could make sound with.

Jared Onyango

OPIYO: Tell us your name and where you come from.

JARED: I am Jared and I come from Kenya, Nairobi.

OPIYO: For the project Chrysalides, you came with an idea of a project that you wanted to work with can you tell us about that?

JARED: I came with an idea that I wanted to work with. The idea was "The Monitor" and the idea was to pose a question on the media asking a question if we are ad dictated to the media. And in this case, the media entails everything from the newspaper to the TV to social media, Facebook, twitter and YouTube and also the radio. So from broadcast to the internet.

YANN: Because you feel to be affected by the media?

JARED: No, it's because. Yah sometimes ago I did feel like I was being affected by the media at the same time I could feel like also the people the Kenyan society especially in Nairobi are kind of being affected by the media. In one way or another, the media plays a central point in their life where what they have to do for each day in predetermined by the media. And at the same time the youth in Nairobi and the coming of the internet social media the Facebook and YouTube has shifted a lot among the youth and not only the youth but in the society. So this is what I wanted to ask questions on this and to see if I really I could make . . . I could have different approach of making a performance out of this. The Nairobi lab is a platform for trying the different choreographic methods of realising a project and I think that is what I tried to do all though it was never the thing for the first 2 and half or 3 weeks because somehow, something happened. I don't know where the mistake emerged from but the idea shifted from posing a question - to wanting to propose to the people of the media to make a different way of making the headlines. That somehow changed the thing and interfered with my original intention and it also had an impact in the process of my work even with the dancers.

OPIYO: For the laboratory, there were different intervenants you worked with Sophiatou, Jean Christophe, Yann, a bit of myself. What's your experience? Let's start with Sophiatou, what do you retain from that process?

JARED: I started this project with Sophiatou but I guess she has the good experience that this platform needed and I also believe that she is able to do this.

OPIYO: And Jean Christophe?

JARED: I liked the way of giving different or his way of getting to start the process of thinking on how you can view different...You can be a spectator of different performances - let me loosely call them performances even in the street or set theatre. So performances from conventional spaces to the street. I liked a lot his theory and I liked the process of working with Jean Christophe?

OPIYO: And Yann? What is your take?

JARED: First of all I thought of Yann - I said to myself that probably Yann should have come during I the first week. Because I feel that he gave us what he could give within the short time of two weeks but this thing I feel that he still holds a lot that he could have given us but never the less I think what he gave is also very important for me start this process of questioning sound for me. I liked Yaan's way of giving class. I have several cases reference points to relate with how Yaan taught as it concerns sound in general and also his way of giving this to the students. I think that's also another thing that is very important- how you have an idea and how you try not to drum it in the student but try to make them in the same situation on the same level so that besides the idea there is nothing that takes the idea because of something which I don't know but the students only see the idea in a more simple way. I think Yaan had the ability to convey ideas in very simple ways so that you only focus on the idea but something that comes with this idea is very invisible which for me made me feel like I would also want to know more about sound.

OPIYO: What did you take away generally from the laboratory? How do you see your work as we go on?

JARED: First for me the laboratory, I take it simply as a learning process. I think it's at a point when I also have to ask myself to be real with my own self that all that I learn I think a lot was given in the laboratory and most of it I think at this point in my life as a dancer I think it relates more to the next phase I would want to go as a dancer and not trying to only focus only on what I am always doing but on the other choices that have been taught. For my work in the laboratory, I think it was a good thing to present this work in the laboratory since their emerged also some other ways of still working the idea so that I now have different choices to make. Maybe to approach it in direction which is the original direction that I probably used or to approach it with the different alternatives that I have been given in this lab.

Frank Michel Bakekolo


Jackson Atulo

OPIYO: You've just participated in the performance lab part of Chrysalides and for the project, the idea was that every participant was to bring an idea or a project I suppose that you did bring a project?

JACK: Yes I did.

OPIYO: What was the idea? And you tell us about your idea?

JACK: The title of the idea was "place of worship" and I was just questioning where is the [place of worship as in church or in social gathering. By this, I mean that people go to church to say thanks; people go to church to pray for whatever they are doing in their lives and to worship in different ways. And nowadays we find that the same thing happens in social gatherings. Some of the people gout in clubs or discotheque just to say thank yu to what they believe in, for whatever has happened in their lives maybe promotion at work or whatever positive things they have encountered in their lives. So this is the only way they know how to say thank you or to give back. So it was not an idea to say that this right or this is wrong – it was just sharing and posing a question.

OPIYO: Also in the laboratory you worked with several intervenants there was Jean Christophe, there's Sophiatu, there's Yann, there is a bit of myself. What was your experience of that begining with Sophiatu?

JACK: Well I think she is a wonderful person and in working with her, I can say it was a great moment because she had this kind of approach in her work, which was specific. She was kind of a perfectionist.

OPIYO: And Jean Christophe?

JACK: I also think he is a great guy.

OPIYO: Tell me of your experiences with the mentors.

JACK: I think Jean-Christophe is a great guy. I liked the way he approached his idea. It is only that sometimes I had a problem especially in the lab with the way he approached the project.

Opiyo: What difficulty?

JACK: By the way, I mean sometimes I did not find the way of approaching the idea as per the lab that each and every choreographer was supposed to explore and work on the ideas depending on what they feel or want from the inside. But sometimes he did like manipulating ideas and kind of forcing certain directions which well is not bad but as per the idea of the lab I thought it Is was kind of way out a little bit.

OPIYO: You felt that he was imposing.

Jack: Exactly. He was kind of imposing his ideas in the choreographers' ideas and kind of forcing things to work in the direction he was seeing it and not the choreographer or the people who were working in the project. So I don't know if it was alright for other choreographer but for me I found it a bit disturbing.

OPIYO: And then there was Yann as well, the work with Yann. How was it?

JACK: Yann is a great guy. I think he is a crazy guy with sound. It is only that it is a shame I did not have, I mean I dint have a chance to work with him in my project.

OPIYO: And Yann?

JACK: I did find him a great guy. I observed him working with other choreographers and participants in other projects it's only that I didn't have a chance to work with him in my project. But the way I observed the way he approached his work and other people's ideas I think it's very great.

OPIYO: Generally, what is your impression of the whole experience? What do you retain from it?

JACK: Well I think the experience was fair and I had the opportunity to again see how others approach their work, their choreography, different ideas and different forms of approach and I think it was great.