In Ivory Coast, from March 13 to 19, 2023, the 6th edition of the Intercultural Circus Meetings of Abidjan (Rica) takes place, with indoor performances by international companies, street performances, workshops, and conferences. Objective: to introduce as many people as possible to the circus arts, but also to professionalize the continent’s circus artists. RFI attended the rehearsals of the local troupe Ivoire Cirque Décalé, at the Fabrique Culturelle in Abidjan.
In the early hours of the morning, a small but vibrant troupe gathered to rehearse. Amongst them were three talented circus artists hailing from the esteemed Swedish company, The Vessel, a seasoned storyteller, and a group of five Ivorian dancer-acrobats who were eager to explore the apparatus suspended above them.
Sarah Lett, the artist-choreographer from The Vessel, graced the stage not only to present her magnificent show but also to impart her vast knowledge to the members of the Abidjan company, Ivoire Cirque Décalé. With an intensive creation process underway, the troupe was introduced to brand-new circus disciplines they had never encountered before. The primary focus was on mastering the aerial fabric, aerial hoop, and acrobatic lifts. Despite their background in dance and limited experience in acrobatics, these talented individuals were already incredibly physical and proved to be quick learners.
The whole forms a 40-minute multidisciplinary show that combines the arts of storytelling, circus, and dance. A way to strengthen a loose but deep link between Côte d’Ivoire and the circus, explains the choreographer of the Ivorian company Hermann Nikoko.