Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kafig's Quick off the Blocks

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kafig's Quick off the Blocks

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Whetstone

They are fast, furious and French. David Whetstone talks to the founder of a dance company which can blister paint with the speed of its moves.

Before his tragic and untimely death, Theatre Royal chief executive Peter Sarah spoke many times of his passion for dance.

He was building a loyal and enthusiastic audience for it in the North-East and the company which arrives at the Newcastle theatre at the end of this week could be viewed as one of his last gifts to us.

Compagnie Kafig travelled from France to London for the first time last year and blew a few cobwebs away. Peter presumably saw them there and booked them, knowing that Tyneside audiences appreciate high energy, passion and athleticism.

The dancers of Compagnie Kafig perform at breakneck speed, pinching moves from all sorts of sources ( hip-hop, gymnastics and more conventional contemporary dance.

Combined with an electrifying soundtrack, video projects and lighting ( and with broad smiles all round ( they cross genre boundaries and bounce off walls.

The only downside is that they do not promise to be with us for very long. Each performance is scheduled to last one hour with no interval. By the end, you might be longing for the bar and a lie down.

Speaking to The Journal last week ( and after apologising for his perfectly adequate English ( the charming founder of Compagnie Kafig, Mourad Merzouki, said that at 32 he was already too old for the kind of stuff we will see on stage. The oldest of his troupe of eight dancers ( four male, four female ( was aged 30 so is clearly already living on borrowed time.

But he said: "It is not only for the young; it's for people who are seven years or 70. For me it's important to put on a show for all people. The hip-hop culture is a young culture but I try to involve everybody."

Mourad, born in France to immigrants from Algeria, said that from the age of seven to 18 he attended circus school, learning to be an acrobat. But he was also a hip-hop fanatic and drew on both forms of activity to develop a high-octane dance style. …

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