TRAJECTORY OF COMPAGNIE KÄFIG
Since 1996, 22 creations were performed in more than 650 cities
In 18 years, the Compagnie Käfig gave over 2400 performances in 61 countries for more than 1 million people
6 shows are currently on tour
A major figure on the hip-hop scene since the early 1990s, choreographer Mourad Merzouki works at the junction of many different disciplines: to his exploration of all hip-hop styles, he adds circus, martial arts, fine arts and live music. Without loosing sight of hip-hop movement's roots, of its social and geographical origins, this multidisciplinary approach opens up new horizons and reveals complete new outlooks.
His training is rooted in the circus school in St Priest, in Lyon's eastern suburbs, which he Attended from the age of seven while also training in karate and boxing. Hip-hop came along when he was fifteen: he began dancing in the street, then moved on to choreography with Kader Attou, who would remain his associate from 1990 to 1994. During that time he was also learning from contemporary choreographers like Jean-François Duroure and Josef Nadj.
In 1994, recognition came with ATHINA, a piece co-written with his first company, Accrorap. The project was backed by Guy Darmet's Maison de la Danse in Lyon, which has subsequently supported all his new productions.
Mourad's first fully independent work, KÄFIG, was performed at the Rencontres Urbaines de la Villette in Paris. Käfig means “cage” in Arabic and German and becomes the name of the dance company. It points to the choreographer's receptivity and openness and his refusal to become locked into a single style.
On a deck surrounded by a net, a hip-hop dancer and a contemporary performer challenge each other in order to improve their dialogue. The message is clear: hip-hop is extending its territory without losing itself. The Maison de la Danse of Lyon, directed by Guy Darmet, supported the project and collaborated with each new production by Mourad Merzouki.
Two years later RÉCITAL, an unusual dialogue between six dancers, a musician and the image of a classical concert, launches the Compagnie Käfig's style. Mourad hangs a bunch of violins over the stage and choreographs the unlikely members of an orchestra. An international tour (40 countries) will bring worldwide fame to the Käfig Company.
Teaming up with South African choreographer Jay Pather in 2000, he creates PAS A PAS, an explosive mix of traditional Zulu dances and hip-hop.
In 2001, DIX VERSIONS, also created at Lyon's Maison de la Danse, outlines the hip-hop singularity of seven performers, including New York's dancer Klown. The piece is to be performed at the prestigious Jacob's Pillow Festival in Berkshire, USA. DIX VERSIONS highlights hip-hop writing and acrobatics with circles of lights that isolate each dancer in his artistic originality, whether inspired by acrobatic or martial arts. The show is embedded in an off-beat plastic environment. Geometric objects are moved around the space by the dancers in a lively game of forms and energies. DIX VERSIONS confirms Mourad Merzoukis aesthetics.
In 2002, he signed «A Fable to La Fontaine» LE CHENE ET LE ROSEAU, aimed at a young audience, part of the project led by La Petite Fabrique - Annie Sellem.
For the Year of Algeria in France in 2003, he created MEKECH MOUCHKIN - Y'A PAS DE PROBLÈME (No Problem!) with dancers from Algiers.
In 2004, CORPS EST GRAPHIQUE, the result of a period of residence at the Maison de la Danse of Lyon, supported by BNP Paribas Foundation, was performed with an equal number of male and female dancers. A kind of lightness travels from one dancer to another as they revisit the codes of seduction using large puppets. A sense of humor rarely found in hip-hop is revealed.
In January 2006, TERRAIN VAGUE, set in a fantasized no-man's-land, looks into the choreographer's childhood and personal journey. For the first time, Mourad Merzouki tells a story. In a fun, colorful space of all possibilities, hip-hop dancers, theatre and circus artists challenge each other with audacity and virtuosity. An eclectic show for a visual, sensory, choreographic and musical journey, bursting with energy.
With TRICÔTÉ, in 2008, Mourad Merzouki takes the audience behind the scenes as the company began a residency at the Espace des Arts de Chalon-sur-Saône. Set to the music of the troupe's faithful collaborator AS'N, this piece offers to all audiences a look at the creation process of a new work, from auditions through to performances.
For the 2008 Biennale de la Danse in Lyon, Mourad Merzouki, as a “guest artist”, performs AGWA, a creation featuring 11 Brazilian dancers. AGWA is all about water, at once a vital component of our bodies, a precious – vital, even – natural resource to be preserved and used with care and a symbol of renewal.
For the 2008 edition, he directed the Parade of the Lyon Biennial Festival of Dance, a major event bringing together choreographers and local associations: LES POINTILLES drew a connecting line between the 18 cities participating in the parade on the theme “Legends of the Future.” Mourad Merzouki was also artistic director for the third time of Bron's participation in the event.
Between January 2006 and June 2009, Compagnie Käfig was in residence at Espace Albert Camus in Bron. The theatre became the venue of the Karavel festival, created in 2007 under the leadership of Mourad Merzouki. The festival invites some 10 different hip-hop companies and other initiatives to the city.
In 2009, Pôle Pik, a new venue for choreographic creation and the development of hip-hop dance, opened its doors in Bron, east of Lyon. The mission of this center, which Mourad Merzouki had planned for nearly 10 years, is to develop the dissemination of hip-hop by opening up to other artistic languages. Mourad Merzouki is the artistic advisor of the center.In June 2009, Mourad Merzouki was appointed director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne. Here, he has developed a project called “Dance: a window on the world”, with an accent on openness. Alongside this project, he continues to create and show his works, to provide training and raise awareness about hip-hop dance, and to organize unique encounters to promote access to the choreographic arts and to support independent dance groups.
In 2010, Mourad Merzouki creates CORRERIA, a second part presented jointly with AGWA, which takes the viewer into a thrilling, frantic race, like the one that paces our lives.
The same year, the choreographer presents BOXE BOXE, a creation that gives him the opportunity to reconnect with martial arts, his initial training. This piece is also the opportunity to explore new areas of research by surrounding himself with the Debussy String Quartet. Presented at Lyon's 14th Biennale de
Alongside his creations, Mourad Merzouki is invited to collaborate with other artists in France and abroad, thus contributing to the international reputation of the Käfig Company.
In 1997, he works with Josette Baïz and the company “Place Blanche” on the piece RENDEZ-VOUS, a choreography with four modern dancers.In 1998 he directs the cork of eight actors and four dancers in LE CABARET URBAIN.
Claudia Stavisky, the artistic director of Lyon's Théâtre des Célestins invites him in 2004 to direct LA CUISINE by Arnold Wesker and, in 2005, L'ÂGE D'OR (The Golden Age) by Georges Feydeau.
On the film side, in 2004, he collaborates to Marc Jolivet's first feature film, CONCOURS DE DANSE A PIRIAC, working on all the dance scenes, choreographing actors of all ages such as Ginette Garcin.In 2007, he also works on LES QUATRE SAISONS, directing the skating duo Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat.
In 2009, he adapted RÉCITAL for the Beijing Modern Dance Company's dancers.
The same year, Mourad Merzouki co-directs with Jeannot Painchaud the piece iD., the Cirque Eloize's latest production, whose world premiere was given at Incheon in Korea.
Meanwhile, he creates DES CHAUSSÉES for the dancers of the Junior Contemporary Ballet of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse in Paris.
In January 2012, at the invitation of Olivier Meyer, he created a work to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Suresnes Cités Dance Festival: with Kader Attou, Sébastien Lefrançois and José Montalvo, he participated in creating a choral work, inspired by the energy of BOXE BOXE.