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Between transmission and cross-fertilization, the artistic hip hop of Mourad Merzouki

From the street to the doors of the national choreographic centers (CCN), is there only a fine line ? this is, at least, what the careers of the hip hop dancers Kader Attou in La Rochelle and Mourak Merzouki in Créteil let think. The latter admits that the eye on the hip hop culture has changed for 20 years.

In addition the purely artistic recognition of hip hop doesn’t end here, because Mourad Merzouki is appointed artist associated to the 32nd edition of the Montpellier Dance Festival. “It was unimaginable few years ago”. For the one who present 3 shows of its company : Boxe Boxe, Käfig Brasil and Yo Gee Ti, in European premier, the meeting of Montpellier and the works of the NCCs outstrip the ethical clichés labeled as hip hop.

Flashback. This precocious artist, born in Lyon in 1973, has a passion for circus and martial arts before discovering dance at the age of 15. In 1989, the collective Accrorap created with his accomplice Kader Attou, gets hip hop out of the street. Then, projects follow each other : creation of his own company Käfig in 1996, launch of the Karavel festival in 2007 and of the place of creation and choreographic development, Pôle Pik in 2009 in Bron. The same year, the management of the CCN in Créteil and Val de Marne … More than 17 shows in 15 years, 120 performances per year in average, an adventure supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation since 2003.

The one who develops a spectacular and war hip hop, with a communicative vitality gladly draws from his childhood memories: like for Boxe, from the ring to the scene, from the bell to the curtain up, from the referee to look of the critics, similarities between dance and everyday life are numerous. He uses them to produce successfully completed shows in which the border between the scene and the audience often is abolished.

“The shows offered by choreographs from the hip hop culture are the result of an explosive mixture between several disciplines, several artistic worlds, drawing on the same choreographic writing.” Fed on this cross-fertilization, transmission, at the core of Mourad Merzouki’s projects, is a process towards a culture for all. “This mixture opens the artistic suggestion to a neophyte audience : IO like this mixture between social and age classes. The public comes for this or that component of the creation, or sometimes randomly.”

The future ? it is fed on tours (with new shows of Yo Gee Ti and Käfig Brasil) and on  structuring projects for the Lyon biennale. Never short on ideas, the choreograph announces that for Jour de Fête in Créteil, the challenge will be to integrate the inhabitants to the choreography and honors his commitment to the never ending renewal of the hip hop culture.


To learn more, discover the project of the Créteil CCN and of the choreographic center Pôle Pik

To know more about Mourad Merzouki (BNP Paribas Foundation website), click here


Credits photo : Franck Douwes