Dance Preview: North American Premiere of Radouan Mriziga’s ‘7’ Comes to Wexner Center
The Wexner Center for the Arts has cultivated relationships with cutting-edge dance and theatre artists from around the world throughout its 30-year history. That trend continues this weekend as they present the North American premiere tour of Marrakech-born and Brussels-based choreographer Raduoan Mriziga’s 7.
Mriziga studied in Tunisia and France before making his way to Belgium to study with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s (currently making U.S. headlines for her choreography of Ivo Van Hove’s new Broadway revival of West Side Story) at Performing Arts Research and Training Studios (P.A.R.T.S.).
7 concludes a trilogy of rave-garnering pieces. The New York Times said of the first installment, 55, “Through gesture and by using his body like a tool, taking what he calls ‘an almost architectural approach,’ he tries to find answers [to questions about his purpose as an artist.]”
In an interview for Ň̃ Magazine (from Clarín) with Laura Falcoff, Mriziga talked about synthesizing his interests and crossing between boundaries (translations via Google Translate).
“There are many things that interest me in that sense, among them the street dances with which I started. And then I did German and African contemporary dance, composition and of course everything I received at PARTS school,” Mriziga says. “The work of Anne Teresa de Keersmaker and the New York choreographer Trisha Brown and postmodern dance, in general, has also influenced me. But at this moment I am particularly attracted to multimedia languages and crossings between the arts…I do not want to stop specifically at any time and in any place but to look back on everything that is necessary and include what allows us to build into the future.”
In the same interview with Falcoff, Mriziga spoke about work that’s often overlooked by the hierarchies of academia and art institutions.
“The street dances are what I call ‘other forms of art not institutionalized,’ forms that have many possibilities of being discovered,” Mriziga says. “In Morocco, it allowed me to discover contemporary dance and choreography. I also believe that it is a form of art that has long been marginalized by its nature, but the material generated by hip-hop is full of knowledge, not only in dance, but also in rap, in music. An amount of knowledge marginalized by the hierarchy with which the movements of the street are located. And I think there is now an awareness that it is as important as other manifestations.”
Mriziga not only concerns himself with intellectual hierarchies, he also engages and embraces the materials of the space where his works are presented. For 3600’s (the middle piece of the trilogy) appearance at the Marrakech Biennale, Oculus said, “Based on its duration of a choreographed 3,600 seconds’ sequence, four dancers using mud bricks on the bridge of the palace’s lake, take apart the pre-existing geometric formation of the bricks in order to form a different structure similar to the first, embodying symbolic Islamic patterns. The result is a transcending visual experience that collapses the boundaries between mathematical systems, spiritual exercise and performative action and in combination with the context within which it manifests itself, activates the space and its historical significance.”
For 7, the Wex published an excellent piece by Morgan Amonett as part of the Writing About the Performing Arts at Ohio State project, describing the piece as “Influenced by the seven wonders of the ancient world, he says that participants in the piece will hold those monuments in their imaginations while not actually seeing them represented on stage. In this way, the space created is one that will take shape collectively.”
For anyone with an interest in contemporary dance, architecture, or modernism, 7 is not to be missed.
7 has performances at 8:00 p.m. Friday, November 15, and 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Saturday, November 16. For tickets and more info, visit wexarts.org/performing-arts/radouan-mriziga.