Two pioneers of French hip hop dance reunite to create a new work for the freshest dancers of Casablanca’s vibrant scene.

Presented in collaboration with the Institut francais in the UAE, cultural service of the French Embassy, as part of the Emirati-French Cultural Dialogue.

Mourad Merzouki (Compagnie Käfig, creator of Pixel) and Kader Attou (Compagnie Accrorap) go back to the roots of street dance as they bring together eight dancers – one woman and seven men from different backgrounds and cities. Danser Casa conveys the burning desire of Casablanca’s young dancers.

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Captivating music and breathtaking choreography depicts the tension of Casablanca, wavering between latent violence always on the verge of exploding, and a fierce love that is never spoken. Sometimes the dancers size each other up, confronting one another in spirited duels, sometimes their intertwining bodies exude the energy of atomic fusion. The brute force that lifts them up, the sudden animality that invades them, the risks they take in their acrobatics – all create a tense climate of imminent danger from which suspended instants of pure beauty emerge at the very last moment.


Kader Attou

Today’s hip hop creative works, independent and new dance scene creations, convey an image of French culture throughout the world. Kader Attou can claim to be an integral part of this new dance scene. He is one of the major representatives of French hip hop, and Accrorap is an iconic company. With a contemporary blending of cultures and humanistic commitment, Kader Attou creates modern-day dance performances where encounters, dialogue and sharing are the driving forces and creative sources. With the exciting discovery of break-dance in 1989, and Accrorap’s first shows, a desire was born to examine in depth the question of meaning and develop an artistic approach. In 1994 Athina marks Accrorap’s on-stage debut at the Dance biennale in Lyon. Created in 1996, Kelkemo, a tribute to Bosnian and Croatian child refugees, is the fruit of a powerful experience in the Zagreb camps in 1994 and 1995. Prière pour un fou (1999), a pivotal piece in the choreographic universe of Kader Attou, attempts to re-establish the dialogue that the Algerian drama was making increasingly and painfully less probable. Then Accrorap broadened its scope, inventing dance that is rich and full of humanity with Anokha (2000), at the crossroads between hip hop and Indian dance; East and West. Composed of sketches where performance, emotion and musicality intermingle, Pourquoi pas (2002), enters a universe of poetry and lightness. Douar (2004), created within the scope of the year of Algeria in France, queries the issues of exile and boredom, echoing the concerns of young people in neighborhoods and housing estates/communities in France and Algeria. Les corps étrangers (2006), an international project involving France, India, Brazil, Algeria and the Côte d’Ivoire, evokes the human condition and searches for possible meeting points between cultures and aesthetic styles to construct, via dance, a space for communication to query the future. Petites (2008), acclaimed by critics and the public alike, tells of Everyman’s France through burlesque sketches while maintaining a sensitive and committed approach. In 2008, Kader Attou was named Director of the CCN (National Centre for Choreography) in La Rochelle and the Poitou-Charentes region, thus becoming the first hip hop choreographer to lead such an institution. Trio (?) (2010) takes us back to the world of the circus. Symfonia Pieṡni źałosnych (2010) is a performance of the entire Symphony No.3 also known as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs by the Polish composer Henryk Mikołaj G.recki. This creation explores all compositional aspects, is carried away by soaring vocals, penetrated by melodic forces to join/send a message of hope the message of hope.

In 2013, Kader Attou returned to the source of hip hop, to his very first sensations. The Roots is a human adventure, a journey, a dive into his poetic universe. Eleven of the most skilful hip hop dancers perform the piece; they form a group that is in complete symbiosis. Created in August 2014 for the 10th edition of the Nuits Romanes in Poitou-Charentes, Un break . Mozart, born of the encounter between the CCN of La Rochelle and the orchestra, presents a genuine dialogue between contemporary dance and music of the Enlightenment with a major musical work: Mozart’s Requiem. In September 2014 for the Dance biennale of Lyon, Kader Attou created OPUS 14 for sixteen male and female dancers combining power, otherness, commitment and corporeal poetry in a fundamentally hip hop piece. With Un break . Mozart as a base, the premiere of Un break . Mozart 1.1 – a new creation by Kader Attou for 11 dancers and 10 musicians from the Champs Elysées Orchestra – was performed in November 2016 at La Coursive in La Rochelle. This performance was part of the event “Shake La Rochelle !”, the first edition of CCN’s Hip Hop festival. In January 2013 Kader Attou was made Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) and in the New Year’s honors list of 2015 was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la L.gion d’Honneur (Knight of the French Legion of Honour).

Mourad Merzouki

Major figure on the hip-hop scene since the early 1990s, choreographer Mourad Merzouki works at the junction of many different disciplines. He adds circus, martial arts, fine arts, video and live music to his exploration of hip-hop dance. Without losing sight of the hip-hop movement’s roots, of its social and geographical origins, this multidisciplinary approach opens up new horizons and reveals complete new outlooks.

Beginning at the age of seven, Mourad Merzouki was trained in the circus school of St Priest, in Lyon’s eastern suburbs, while also practicing martial arts. At fifteen, he gravitated towards dance through inspiration drawn from hip-hop culture. From there, he began working on choreography and soon created his first dance company, Accrorap, in 1989, with Kader Attou, Eric Mezino and Chaouki Saïd. With Accrorap, he further developed hip-hop movements while simultaneously exploring other dance genres with his contemporaries Maryse Delente, Jean-François Duroure and Josef Nadj. Accrorap performed Athina during the 1994 Dance Biennial in Lyon and was acclaimed for bringing

hip-hop from the street to the stage, enabling the troupe to perform internationally. It was during a performance in Croatia at a refugee camp where Mourad Merzouki saw the power of dance to communicate and express emotion.

In 1996, Mourad Merzouki decided to found his own company to expand artistically. Naming the company after his inaugural piece, Käfig which means “cage” in Arabic and German, he set a symbolic tone that represents his openness and refusal to become locked into a single style.

From 1996 to 2006, Mourad Merzouki created 14 pieces that explore the world of dance through a multitude of styles. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Pôle Pik choreography center in Bron as well as the Karavel festival.
In June 2009, Mourad Merzouki was appointed director of the National choreography center of Créteil and Val-de-Marne, where he developed a project called “Dance: a window on the world” with a central focus on “openness”. While continuously creating and performing new works, Mourad Merzouki also provides training and supports the choreographic arts and independent groups through unique awareness experiences. In 2013, he created the Kalypso festival, bringing the mainstream promotion of hip-hop dance companies to Paris.

In March 2016, he was appointed artistic advisor for “Pôle en Scènes” in Bron, where he brings together the Pôle Pik choreography center, the theater Espace Albert Camus and the Fort, leading to one common goal of training, creating and promoting performing arts. He stays true to his artistic approach by creating bridges between disciplines, opening the spaces to an ever wider audience. Mourad Merzouki is member of the support committee to choreographic art of the French ministry of culture (DRAC Île-de-France) and the sponsorship committee for dance of Caisse des Dépôts. He is sponsor to the organization Laka Touch, using dance to improve the healthn of disabled and isolated people. He is often a guest jury member for the Grand Prix de Paris Let’s Dance.