Samir Akika

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Article

Born in Algiers in 1967, the dancer and choreographer Samir Akika grew up in Paris and studied in the USA and is now living in Düsseldorf. Not till he was 26 did he begin dancing, but at 34 he has staged four premieres and received two financial awards. His choreographic style is meant to combine the formal language of dancing with the visual medium of films, to produce a new cinematic dance-theatre.
Samir Akika, a Frenchman born in Algeria, turned to dancing at the age of 26. This was due basically to chance, as he was about to become a sports´ teacher. A meeting with Malou Airaudo from the Wuppertal Dance Theatre changed his plans. At first Akika had seen Airaudo only on a video recording of Pina Bausch´ key work Sacré du Printemps (1975), but at a guest performance of the company in Paris, he got to know her personally and agreed to study dancing with her at the Folkwang High School in Essen. "She became my teacher, my choreographer and my friend," he says. His passion and gift for dancing soon opened his way to the dance theatre in Wuppertal and to the Folkwang dance studio, where he took part in many dances, including some from Malou Airaudo, and also danced in Sacré.

Akika´s second main interest is American film-making. Since Geronimo, which he choreographed while studying at Folkwang, he has wished to integrate formal elements of films like the speed of narration, close-ups, cutting and dissolves into his choreography. This wish was especially evident in the production Lilja (May, 2000) for his company Les Petits Poissons. Five characters meet in a washing salon and speak of and act out their lives and longings. Again and again there are evocative sequences from films like Taxi Driver or Reservoir Dogs as well as musical quotes from Chaplin films or from Frank Sinatra. Woven into this flood of images and citations are video-projections of the dancers, recorded live, whereby viewers can see them from a distance and close-up at the same time. Akika is still working on the resulting tension between theatrical distance and cinematic intimacy. His newest work Didjelli, which was first shown in bathing pools and later adapted for the stage, continues this line of research. A simple love-story, film-citations, video-takes and dance-sequences to live music mingle in a loose, atmospheric sequence with a real setting and fictive tale.

Sami Akika has often said that he wishes to yield to his passion and become a film director, but his next project is still for the visually extended dancing stage. In June 2002 22 Boulevard Lafayette is to appear as a co-production from Vooruit Gent, the Theatre in the Pump House in Münster and the Dance House Nord-Rhein-Westphalen in Düsseldorf.

(Translation: Phil Stanway)
Author: Franz Anton Cramer  

Bio

Samir Akika was born in Algiers in 1967 of an Algerian father and French mother. After leaving grammar school in Paris, he went to High School in Miami and fell in love with basketball. In 1987 he returned to France and began to study physics and mathematics but switched to sport. He took a course in contemporary dance and saw a video-recording of Pina Bausch´s earlier choroegraphy Le Sacré du Printemps. Fascinated, he decided to become a dancer. In 1993, at the invitation of Malou Airaudo of the Dance Theatre in Wuppertal he began to study dancing at the Folkwang High School in Essen and finished the course in 1997. Since his last year of study, he has devised dances for the Folkwang Dance Studio. In 1999 he founded in Essen the company Les Petits Poissons and was then invited to show his work Geronimo on the Dance Platform of Germany in Hamburg. In May 2001, his mentor Pina Bausch nominated him for the promotional program of the Hanseatic Goethe Prize, to enable him to study film-making. In November, 2001, during the centenary celebrations for Kurt Jooss, the founder of Folkwang, he received the Kurt Jooss Promotional Prize, which was awarded for the first time.

Works

E.T.E. – Extended Teenage Era

Production / Performance,
2007

Loca, Mierda

Production / Performance,
2005

Globalost Sunday

Production / Performance,
2004

Sharks

Production / Performance,
2003

22 Boulevard Lafayette

Production / Performance,
2002
probably in June/ Düsseldorf; co-production from tanzhaus nrw, Theater im Pumpenhaus Münster, and Vooruit Gent

Didjelli (version for Hallenbad)

Production / Performance,
2001
Mönchengladbach

Didjelli (version for Freizeitbad)

Production / Performance,
2001
Flingern bei Düsseldorf

Didjelli (stage version)

Production / Performance,
2001
tanzhaus nrw

Lilja

Production / Performance,
2000
Düsseldorf; working title: Strike. Ain´t Love Grand

Geronimo

Production / Performance,
1998
within his dance course

Toothbbrush, Chop Suey, Underpants or 20 DM for the Münster Police

Production / Performance,
1997
within his dance course

Projects

This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Homeland Art (HeimatKunst)

Cultural Diversity in Germany

(01 April 00 - 02 July 00)

Www

images
Samir Akika
"22 BLVD Lafayette"
Samir Akika
"Didjelli"
Samir Akika
"Didjelli"
Samir Akika
"Lilja"
video

Interview with Samir Akika

play video