"Näss", choreographed by Fouad Boussouf
Part of Torque International Contemporary Dance Series 2023-2024
“Näss is undoubtedly more than the gyrating Australia’s ‘Thunder from Down Under’ boys. There’s an important story to be told in choreographer Fouad Boussouf’s electrifying choreography.”
From the Programme Note:
“Näss” is Arabic for ‘people’. Moroccan-born choreographer Fouad Boussouf was inspired by the famous 1970s group Maghreb Moroccan group Nass el Ghiwane, a band renowned in Africa for merging …traditional Moroccan music with lyrics steeped in political and social injustices.”
This final production at the Fleck Dance Theatre at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre reminded me of ‘Stomp,’ where performers use eclectic objects to produce varying tonal sounds of musicality. In ‘Näss,’ the seven artists transport the audience to the streets of Marrakech. The stomping of feet and intricately directed moves create splendid sounds and interesting visual staging elements.
All in approximately sixty minutes sans intermission.
It’s an electrifying and riveting performance that needs to be experienced in person. It’s unfortunate the show only ran for three performances.
The Harbourfront website description describes the Näss artists as chiselled bodies. Yes, that is correct, but this production is more than Australia’s ‘Thunder from Down Under’ guys gyrating their pelvis and hips. From what I could see, an equal number of men and women were in the audience at this final performance. From what I could hear, the men stood at the curtain call to shout out the appreciative catcalls of admiration for these intensely focused physical movement artists who combine the choreography with “a fusion of urban hip hop, electronica, and contemporary North African dance.”
I’m not a fan of hip hop as I don’t get what the fascination is with the rhythm and beat of the musical sounds; however, these artists allowed me to pay close attention to the music to see how they moved in unison with veritable masculine grace and coordination.
The visual experience of the show experience is enhanced with Fabrice Soucy’s shadowy lighting designs. Camille Vallat’s selection of earth-tone colours for the costumes effectively represents the dirt and grime of the Marrakech streets upon which the dancers move. Roman Bestion, Fouad Boussouf and Marion Castor’s music selection becomes an aural delight to the ears.
Final Comments: “Näss” is part of Torque International Contemporary Dance Series 23-2024. To learn more, visit https://harbourfrontcentre.com/series/torque/.