overview / introduction


This edition of the Performance Lab is part of the 2-year choreographic training project – 'Chrysalides' - on which Gaara Dance Foundation is collaborating with Ecoles des Sables in Senegal and La Termitiére - the Centre for Choreographic Development in Burkina Faso. A group of 20 participants consisting of dancers and young choreographers from different countries in Africa have been selected to follow a 3-phase program in Toubab Dialaw, Nairobi and Ouagadougou.

Phase I of the program took place in Toubab Dialaw from April to July 2010. Phase II has taken place at the Godown Arts Centre in Nairobi, 17 September to 12 October 2012. Work created during the laboratory will be presented during phase III in Ouagadougou in November 2012.

The Workshop Performance Laboratory is an artist and audience development platform designed to bridge the gaps between dance training, creative process and audience engagement.

The laboratory is neither a basic skills training program, nor an isolated festival event or one-off artistic production exercise. It is an organic process intended to complement these different aspects of dance activity that are today available in Africa by offering an innovative environment in which experienced artists can exchange, collaborate, challenge each other, create new work, engage audiences in the creative process and contribute a new body of innovative artistic work to the general public.

It is a crucial measure against stagnation, intended to stimulate creative development, ensure artistic growth and continuity as well as public engagement. It is a strategic investment in the human and intellectual infrastructures for contemporary creation. Under the theme 'Place of the Spectator' the laboratory provokes participating artists to reconsider the place of the audience within their work and the role of their work in society as frames of engagement in conceiving, producing and presenting artistic work. It poses performance as an innovative space for imagination, interrogation and critical reflection on social process, civic responsibility and interaction.

Work created and developed during the process will be initially shown in Nairobi then Ouagadougou and subsequently toured in Africa and Europe in later projects. Bringing together choreographers, dancers, a scenographer and a sound designer the project intends to place the body and choreographic work within a broader cross-disciplinary and collaborative contemporary creation context.


The Nairobi program includes choreographic draft, development process and performance laboratory from 17 September to 12 October 2012. Laboratory participants are accompanied by mentoring process in the drafting, development and presentation of their choreographic projects. The program is organised in 3 parts:

  • Choreographic Draft Process (17 to 29 Sept): Draft process for 20 choreographic projects by laboratory participants followed by a series of informal
  • presentations of draft work.
  • Development Process I (01 to 06 October): Development process for 10 choreographic projects culminating in a series of open studio presentations.
  • Development Process II (08 to 12 October): Final development process for 6 choreographic projects culminating in a series of public presentations on Friday 12 October 2012
  • Sophiatou Kossoko – choreographer/performer
  • Jean-Christophe Lanquetin – Scenographer
  • Yann Leguay – composer/performer
  • Opiyo Okach – choreographer/performer

Patrick Haradjabu , Jean Loc Okou, Adjaratou Ouedraogo, Hawa Sangare , Romual Kabore, Nadége Amatogbe, Marie Bède Koubemba, Gody Ngosa, Guedoum Djimbaye , Catherine Nakowesa, Dadi Ahmad, Adam Chienjo, John Otieno, Sarah Kwala, Neema Bagamuhunda, Julie Iarisoa, Jack Otieno, Alacoque Ntome, Jared Onyango, Frank Michel Bakekolo, Jackson Atulo.go, Frank Michel Bakekolo, Jackson Atulo.