Award-winning all-female French hip-hop dance crew ‘The Swaggers’ took the breath away of hundreds in the audience as they staged a poignant performance of “In the Middle” on Monday at Katara Drama Theatre.
The well-applauded hour-long show was a visual feast as the seven-member dance group displayed a unique take on french hip-hop with the interplay of movements, music, and lights evoking multitude of emotions at the heart of the performance.
Sometimes strong, at times tender, the dance sequences were a result of years of hard work and preparation to come up with the acclaimed show which has already travelled to more than ten countries.
“We have been working in this show for five years now. It took time to create it. We started with a 20-minute show then we decided to keep going and make something longer,” said one of the members of the crew, adding the group has been performing the show for the past three years.
“In the Middle” was created by renowned French dancer and choreographer Marion Motin who has performed with Madonna and Stromae and is the founder and leader of The Swaggers composed of Diana Akbulut, Caroline Bouquet, Laura Defretin, Carmel Loanga, Oumou Sy, Julie Tembo Seke and Ghizlaine Terraz who all started in hip-hop dance battles at a time when female french hip-hop dancers were a rarity in the underground dance scene.
The show has been staged in very important theaters in France including Maison des Arts à Créteil, at the festival Montpellier Dance and at the festival of Avignon where it received the Audience Award.
The Swaggers was formed in 2009 and the following year it emerged second place at Hip Hop International competition in France and won the Paris Dance Delight and the Hip Hop Games.
French Ambassador Franck Gellet (pictured) stressed the richness of ties between Qatar and France in the field of culture as he introduced the show, which was the first cultural event organized since he arrived in Doha.
“The cultural relations between France and Qatar are rich. I realized over the past few weeks how tangible it is in Doha. Just look at the spectacular skyline with the iconic Jean Nouvel tower or its desert Rose on the airport road. But also, it is about the relations tied between people through long term cultural projects,” said Gellet.
He said preparations are under way for the Qatar France Year of Culture 2020 which he wished to be another successful partnership between the two countries.
“This Year will allow the establishment of some magnificent co-production projects between France and Qatar including major French cultural institutions such as Palais de Tokyo, Centre Georges Pompidou, Institut du monde Arabe, Musee des arts décoratifs to name but a few,” he said.
Speaking about the show, the ambassador underlined the power of dance as a universal language that could act as a bridge between cultures.
“The language of dance, like music, is universal. Although each culture produces its own specific forms, the appeal of these forms is not limited to any particular time or place. Like other arts, dance is able to transcend the arbitrary boundaries that humans devise to separate themselves from others. Inclusive projects can bridge political and religious divides,” he said.
Katara General Manager Dr. Ibrahim bin Khalid Al Sulaiti, ambassadors and members of the diplomatic community and other dignitaries were among those in the audience at the show.
The show was organized by the French Institute in collaboration with the French Embassy and Katara.