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Lovatiana Rakotobe and Maria Tembe: Communication with Dance

Switzerland | Dance

May — Dance

Lovatiana Rakotobe and Maria Tembe first met during the programme Watch & Talk at the Wildwuchs Festival in 2017. During this residency programme a number of international young and emerging artists were invited to Basel to attend the festival and discuss the works and their own artistic approach. Here, Maria and Lovatiana started to get interested in their respective work. They did a first artistic exchange in October 2017 – supported by Wildwuchs – and then continued working together at the Unmute festival in Cape Town in 2018.

The two performers now return to Basel for the last leg of their residency where they will connect with the local dance scene and work with Swiss dramaturg Clea Onori, from the dance company Bufo Makmal, to finalise the work and present it to programmers from Switzerland.

Lovatiana, who speaks Malagasy, French and English, and Maria, whose mother tongue is Portuguese, have are exploring the ways in which the body, and dance, can act as an alternate form of communication outside of language.

Lovatiana explains: “We consider our body like an island which has the possibility to communicate with different people. Between us the relationship is new, recent, sometimes strange. Through our exchange, the situation is changing and it’s become more funny and open. We like playing with our background, our souvenirs and memories, and our relationship is built from these…”

At the end of their residency in Basel there will be a public showing of their work on Sunday 19th May. Programmers from other festivals and theatre/ dance houses from all over Switzerland will be invited. The Swiss network IntegrArt which links four inclusive festivals in different regions of Switzerland will also be present and will put the piece on their short list of projects for the 2021 editions of the four festivals.


Lovatiana Erica Rakotobe (Madagascar)

Lovatiana Rakotobe discovered contemporary dance in 1994 after following a few months of training in modern dance. It was at the end of the workshops given by Ariry  Andriamoratsiresy that she joined the RARY dance company as one of the founding members. In 2002 Lovatiana set up her own company to pursue her career as a choreographer and dancer. In 2008 Lovatiana began researching ways to initiate dance for blind people. The research led to her developing the Teboka Lasitra dance technique. Lovatiana  integrates blind dancers into her company  and since 2009  has initiated the artistic platform for children and people with disabilities called Kilokolo. This was followed by ATPEA or Atelier de Transmission Pédagogique and Artistic Exchange in 2011, which is a workshop promoting meetings between professional dancers and dancers with disabilities.

Maria Tembe (Mozambique)

The dancer and actress Maria Domingos Tembe was born in Maputo, Mozambique. She received her formation in contemporary dance in the context of a project called (In)Dependence by CulturArte and danced there with choreographer Panaibra Canda (Mozambique), Martial Chazalon (France), Martin Champaut (Canada), Boyzie Cekwana (South Africa) and Carlos Pez (Spain) as well as with the dancers of CulturArte. She performed as a dancer among others in (In)Dependence by Panaibra Canda which was shown in Maputo, Lyon, Mayotte and La Réunion, and in Inkomati (des)accord by Panaibra Canda and Boyzie Cekwana as well as in Borderlines by Panaibra Canda. Both pieces were presented at HAU Hebbel am Ufer, in Maputo and at Global DanceFest in New Mexico. Borderlines was also shown in Basel at wildwuchs in the frame of the IntegrArt tour 2015. As an actress she played in the movie the corpo e alma by Mattheau Bron. She also develops her own choreographies and works as co-choreographer with Panaibra Canda.

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