Siguifin – Dublin Dance Festival – Review
by Frank L.
At the Project Arts Centre
Siguifin – Created by Amala Dianor
Big Pulse Dance Alliance Co-Production
Irish Premiere – Senegal / France
Siguifin means “magical monster” in the Bambara language and it melds in an exuberant celebration of the dance traditions of Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso. There are three choreographers: Naomi Fall (Mali), Ladji Kone (Burkina Faso) and Alioune Diagne (Senegal) and they, with Amala Dianor, come together to create a happening which is indeed magical. There are nine dancers, three from each country and they are comprised of six men and three women. They are all similarly dressed in loose-fitting tops and trousers which are predominantly white but with Andre Derain like irregular blocks of black and red. They are a visual delight.
The performance begins with the nine dancers, in three lines of three, moving rhythmically but minimally, two steps forward and one back, with the only sound being the sound of their feet as they move. It is mightily impressive and your attention is engaged. The beat of the dancer’s bare feet is often the only sound but it is complemented by the magnificent chant-like tones of one of the female singers. Where she finds the breath to sing and dance is another wonder of this production. At other times there is impressive music created by Awir Leon for the company.
The nine dancers weave the most intricate, complex routines with a high degree of energy. Their faces are regularly wreathed in smiles and in a sequence at the end of the first part they were reminiscent of children having a great deal of fun as they rolled on the floor but the precision with which they moved was spellbinding. The nine dancers used the full extents of the stage and the ability of individual dancers to hold excruciatingly challenging shapes was captivating.
The performance lasts just under an hour and it is divided into three parts. The “magical monster” demonstrates what joy collaboration between countries and their traditions can achieve. The African continent in this joyous piece is showing the way to the rest of the world. The audience loved it.