Philly files // Faustin Linyekula

Philly files // Faustin Linyekula

‘Congolese dancer and choreographer Faustin Linyekula looks at North Philadelphia through movement, storytelling, community, and live music.  The work includes King Britt’s musical mixes with musicians Tim Motzer, Heru Shabaka-ra, Anthony Tidd, and dancers from the University of the Arts.  Scenography by Jean-Christophe Lanquetin.  The performance will take place in a warehouse in North Philadelphia’. 

Dancers: Chloe Newton, Maya Simmons, Haylee Warner, Matthew Emig, Meredith Pellon, Stephanie Bernal-Villarrea, Lea Sargiotto, Rhiannon Laymon, Indigo Sparks, Cameron Childs

See Painted Bride website HERE


The ‘theater’ an old warehouse in an area of North Philly: two open air spaces, one next to each other. The scenographic principle will be to just ‘clean’ them, and use what does exist there, particularly bricks.

Rehearsals with the young dancers / students from the University of Arts.

Faustin’s reflexion is on the circle. See his statement HERE. We start working by building a geometrical circle with bricks, a one who can be deconstructed and rebuilt by the performers, with in mind the idea that building in a way or another our communities is constantly a challenge, the ‘perfection’ of the circle being an utopian challenge.

The performance goes through two moments : the first one is around the bricks circle, around, on and in which the dancers and Faustin perform. At some point the circle is brocken, or deconstructed. And the dancers shift the bricks into the second building (next to the first one), where they build a frontal space. Faustin comes then, and performs there. The dancers ask the audience to join as the musicians keep playing.

In such a project, beyond the simplicity of it’s tools, the point is the process, the way various people are involved: the students, the relation with local communities even though they are not physically in the performance, the workers and people in the place, the musicians, etc. Our ideas and concepts are shifted all the time by the circumstances and constraints related to the place. But at the end tt creates (we perform 3 times) an strong moment, at the same time simple and intense, where a kind of conviviality replaces the conventional theatrical relation between performers, musicians and audience.