Mourad Merzouki

APR. 12. 13. 14. 2012 – 8 p.m.

Service charges and
taxes not included.
from $27.60

“The Lyon choreographer Mourad Merzouki presents a triumph performed by exceptional dancers from the favélas. These young Brazilians brought the house down. Their Agwa is pure champagne.” (Le Progrès, Lyon)

An irresistible cocktail of samba, hip-hop, capoeira, bossa nova and electronic music, these dance pieces by Mourad Merzouki are to be enjoyed to the hilt! The founder of Compagnie Käfig and artistic director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne, this young choreographer pushes his athletic style to the extreme. His exciting work has led to invitations to major international festivals such as Jacob’s Pillow in the U.S. and the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon. Merzouki and his dancers will be back in Montreal Correria and Agwa, two performances full of energy and invention that end with the audience “on its feet, smiling and soaked in sweat from all that enthusiastic clapping.” (LyonMag)


photo © Agathe Poupeney, Dancers: Diego Alves Dos Santos dit Dieguinho, Diego Gonçalves Do Nascimento Leitão dit White.


“Aquatic, as its name indicates, this piece for eleven dancers is ecological and political in nature, but also poetic and organic, cascading from one aspect of the question of water to another.” (Agwa review in Le Monde, Paris.)

The Merzouki Brand
The specific style of Mourad Merzouki and Käfig can be described as a fusion of genres. Based on hip-hop, his choreography integrates elements of other forms of movement, with a delightful blend of humour and seriousness. His hybrid, accessible style – highly acrobatic and full of energy – also accentuates the versatility and technique of his dancers.

“This language – hip-hop – is movement that comes from the streets, from poor neighbourhoods where there is a primordial rage to speak out, to give expression to furious energy, to the fierce desire to live. It is a voluntary act that matures over time, absorbing different schools of thought. Nourished by disparate elements, it becomes not only art but a commitment – to dispense with clichés and conventional thinking and to dismiss bromides about hip-hop as a social movement, in order to establish this language as an art in its own right.” (Mourad Merzouki)

Double Bill: Correria & Agwa


photo © Michel Cavalca, Dancers: Wanderlino Martins Neves dit Sorriso, Cleiton Luiz Caetano De Oliveira, Alexsandro Soares Campanha Da Silva dit Pitt, Aguinaldo De Oliveira Lopes dit Anjo, Cristian Faxola Franco dit Faxola, Jose Amilton Rodrigues Junior dit Ze, Diego Alves Dos Santos dit Dieguinho, Leonardo Alves Moreira dit Leo, Aldair Junior Machado Nogueira dit Al Franciss.


The first piece on the program, Correria, plunges the audience into a whirlwind that echoes the frenzy of the modern world. It made its début in January 2010 at the Espace Albert Camus in Bron, France. This stunning display of bodies in movement sets the scene for the following presentation, Agwa.

Mourad Merzouki first met this group of young dancers from Rio de Janeïro at the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon in 2006, and they hit it off right away. Growing up in the favelas the dancers learned to draw on their passion for dance, finding the strength to forge ahead toward a better life. From that first encounter grew the concept and eventual performance of Agwa and its theme of water, a precious resource to be protected and preserved. The piece was first presented at the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon in September 2008, and toured to great acclaim in France, Europe and Japan.

“We must pay tribute to the success of the young prince of this Biennale, Mourad Merzouki, who, with Agwa […] has absolutely delighted audiences. With only one prop – plastic cups – and a thousand ideas expressed in movement, Merzouki’s version of hip-hop is on very intimate terms with grace. The venerable Théâtre des Célestins is still shaking from the experience.”
(Les Échos, Lyon)

Mourad Merzouki, Choreographer and Artistic Director

Mourad Merzouki was born in Lyon in 1973. He began studying martial arts and circus skills at the age of seven, before coming across hip-hop at 15. It was a thrilling discovery, and he threw himself into dance, rapidly developing his own hip-hop style and his ambition to become a choreographer. While pursuing his interest in hip-hop, he explored other forms of dance and worked with choreographers such as Maryse Delente, Jean-François Duroure and Josef Nadj.

In 1989 he co-founded the group Accrorap with three other artists. The troupe’s performances included Athina, presented with great success at the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon in 1994. Hip-hop admirably made the transition from the street to the stage without losing its identity or street smarts.

His experience with Accrorap and his mastery of the art of movement led in 1996 to the creation of his own company, Compagnie Käfig (“cage” in German and Arabic). He has choreographed nine pieces for the company, notably Récital, Terrain Vague, Corps est graphique and Dix Versions. His recent work Boxe, Boxe (Maison de la Danse in Lyon, 2010) plays with the contrasts and similarities between hip-hop and boxing.

In addition to creating exciting, inventive movement, Merzouki seeks to overturn the stereotypes of ghetto culture and to bring street dance to the stage. Mission accomplished. After eight years of work, in 2009 he celebrated the opening of Pôle Pik - Centre chorégraphique de Bron, a centre for hip-hop dance where he is the artistic consultant.

In 2009 he was named director of the Centre Chorégraphique national de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne, where he and his company Käfig offer dance workshops, public rehearsals and film projections.

Mourad Merzouki regularly works with artists from other countries, thereby expanding the international reputation of Käfig. His many independent projects include Pas à pas, an amazing mélange of traditional Zulu dances and hip-hop, which he produced with the South African artist Jay Pather. In 2002 he choreographed Le Chêne et le roseau (based on the Lafontaine fable The Oak and the Reed), a piece for young audiences that has toured France.

He also mounted an adaptation of Récital (first created 10 years ago for Käfig) for the Beijing Modern Dance Company, and in 2009 created Des Chaussées for the Junior Ballet contemporain at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris.

Mourad Merzouki worked with Jeannot Painchaud (Cirque Éloize) on ID. Initially presented in Incheon, South Korea in 2009, it was the opening piece at the 2010 Montréal Complètement Cirque festival. He is currently working on a new piece for Taiwanese and French dancers, to be presented in March 2012 at the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center. He has also worked as a theatre director, staging Arnold Wesker’s La Cuisine in 2004, and Feydeau’s L’âge d’or in 2005.

Key Dates
Le Progrès newspaper and Télé Lyon Métropole organize an event honouring the artists of Lyon, with ten trophies awarded in ten different categories. Mourad Merzouki and his company Käfig receive the Lumières de la Culture award for dance.

June 12, 2006: Mourad Merzouki receives the Prix Nouveau Talent Chorégraphie awarded by SACD.

July 14,  2004: Mourad Merzouki is named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the Minister of Culture and Communications.

May 30, 2004: Mourad Merzouki receives the Best Young Choreographer award at the Wolfsburg International Dance Festival in Germany.

For more information on the Centre Chorégraphique National de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne / Compagnie Käfig, visit www.kafig.com.

Lenght 1 h 15
Friday April 13, 2012
, after the show.


Artistic Direction and Choreography Mourad Merzouki with the collaboration of the dancers. Assistant Laurence Pérez. Musical arrangements AS'N. Lighting design Yoann Tivoli. Stage design Mourad Merzouki and Benjamin Lebreton. Costumes design Delphine Capossela. Video Charles Carcopino. Executive producer Compagnie Käfig / the Créteil and Val-de-Marne National Choreography Centre. Co-producers Espace Albert Camus de Bron. Acknowledgements Studio de la Maison des Arts de Créteil.

Artistic Direction and Choreography Mourad Merzouki. Assistant Kader Belmoktar. Musical director AS'N. Lighting design Yoann Tivoli. Stage design Mourad Merzouki and Benjamin Lebreton. Costumes design Angèle Mignot. Production Compagnie Käfig. Co-production Company Käfig, Lyon Dance Biennial, Espace Albert Camus de Bron. Acknowledgements Nouveau Théâtre du 8ème – Lyon, Centro Coreografico de Rio de Janeiro and the French Consulate at Rio de Janeiro.

Dancers Diego Alves Dos Santos known as Dieguinho, Leonardo Alves Moreira known as Leo, Cleiton Luiz Caetano De Oliveira, Aguinaldo De Oliveira Lopes known as Anjo, Cristian Faxola Franco known as Faxola, Geovane Fidelis Da Conceição, Diego Gonçalves Do Nascimento Leitão known as White, Aldair Junior Machado Nogueira known as Al Franciss, Wanderlino Martins Neves known as Sorriso, Jose Amilton Rodrigues Junior known as Ze, Alexsandro Soares Campanha Da Silva known as Pitt. 

Our sincere thanks to Guy Darmet, who made this encounter happen. The National Choreography centre of Créteil and Val-de-Marne / Company Käfig is funded by the Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles d'Ile-de-France - Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, le Conseil Général du Val-de-Marne et la Ville de Créteil. The Fondation BNP Paribas supports the company on its projects and the Institut français for the international tour. The Quebec tour ist supported by the Consulat Général de France au Québec.