The spirit of Fela Kuti is ever-present in this intoxicating dance piece by Burkina Faso-born choreographer Serge Aimé Coulibaly, which speaks of modern-day Africa and the musical artist as freedom-loving figurehead.
In the first half all is monochrome. Dancers pulsate, whirl, plunge and vibrate, their relentless movement exploding with virtuoso energy. Projections depicting scenes of conflict serve as a backdrop for the performers, their perpetual march an urgent metaphor for the desire to keep living.
Bursts of colour propel the second half, a place reminiscent of Kuti’s Shrine nightclub, where discord was confronted just as hope blossomed from solidarity and social consciousness. While provocative messages illuminate the stage, to a score echoing jazz-infused Afrobeat, decadent dance depicts the struggles of an individual.
In honouring Nigeria’s activist, musical legend and political maverick, Fela Kuti, Kalakuta Republik reflects on the role of anti-establishment artists today.