An orange dummy that depicts a castle-like structure or maybe a storey building in a French city.
But it’s on a stage. And choreographers are puling moves around it.
They are dancing in all forms, lost in rhythm. And the crowd joins in cheer.
Africa is everything for me, it's my inspiration, we have a lot to say in the world about contemporary dance. South Africa, Kenya, there are a lot of big choreographers who are changing things today, contemporary dance is doing well, and in cultural, dance, I think we are talking to the world as equals.
It’s the 2018 Biennale de Lyon – a dance festival where choreography and culture gel with technology, to create an experience that transcends race, religion and distance.
It brought together dancers from around the world. One such dancer is Sayouba Sigué. An African, he draws inspiration from his roots in Burkina Faso.
“Africa is everything for me, it’s my inspiration, we have a lot to say in the world about contemporary dance. South Africa, Kenya, there are a lot of big choreographers who are changing things today, contemporary dance is doing well, and in cultural, dance, I think we are talking to the world as equals”, Sigué
In a world where it’s difficult to to do away with differences, integration, even at this event, took a little bit of creativity. They curated a show in a mythical location in one of the theatres inside the Lyon National Opera, built in the 18th century.
Exile is the theme of the story, for an audience that should be inspired to come together no matter their differences.
The theatre is dead silent, you would hear a pin drop. But the attention is on the stage, on which the spotlight is on choreographers playing a story set up in a mountain village.
While the two-week long festival took several turns, for others, it was about proving a point.
Yuval Pick placed a bet on bringing Palestinian dancers whom he combined with locals from Lyon suburbs. “My message is that it is only through art that today society can be transformed, art connects people to their own history, their origins, their being”, he said.
It’s also where two distant worlds met, dance and technology. An unprecedented experience according to Gilles Jobin, the developer. Participants are armed with artificial intelligence, sensors on their backs, hands and shoes to enter a virtual dance hall.
One inevitable moment of this Biennale is the famous parade, performed under the theme of peace this year. 4,500 dancers marched before more than 200,000 people, among them former footballer Lilian Thuram, who is also its patron.
It was a successful mission for the choreographers and their teams who worked months to happily carry this message of peace.