Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal
November, 26 and 27, 2020

Faustin Linyekula was born in 1974 when the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ took place in Kinshasa: the legendary boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. In the same period, after becoming politically independent, African countries were searching for their own identity. Ironically, this sometimes lead to cultural statements based on European examples – like the founding of a ‘national ballet’ in several countries. After Guinea and Senegal, it was Zaire’s turn to create its Ballet in 1974, bringing together in a single ensemble different music and dance forms from this immense country…

It is interesting and moving to see how African leaders turned to the body, movement and music to invent a certain idea of the nation. But what could have been a formidable laboratory, questioning the “body of the nation”, quickly became a propaganda tool and a source of fierce political rivalries.

In this show Faustin Linyekula, joined by three original members of  the Zaire National Ballet,  revisits the first steps of the young Congolese nation.


Artistic director: Faustin Linyekula
Assistant director: Papy Maurice Mbwiti
with: Wawina Lifeteke, Papy Maurice Mbwiti, Ikondongo Mukoko, Marie-Jeanne Ndjoku Masula, Oscar Van Rompay
Dramaturgy: Stefan Bläske
Dramaturgy intern: Castélie Yalombo
Costumes: Ignace Yenga
Light tehnician: Geert de Rodder
Sound & video tehnician: Frederik Vanslembrouck
Video: L’épopée de Lyanja performed by Ballet National de la Compagnie Théâtre National Congolais (excerpts)
Produced by: Virginie Dupray/Studios Kabako, Greet Prové/NTGent
Coproduced by: Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt am Main
With support from: the Belgian Tax Shelter
In collaboration with: Ballet National de la Compagnie Théâtre National Congolais and Isaano/ Positive Production (Kigali)

Photo: Agathe Poupeney

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