Hush Hush Hush

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Abdelaziz Sarrokh

Sarrokh grew up as a young Moroccan in Ghent. His teachers advised him to do a vocational course, but he decided to opt for a technical education and became an electrician. It was made very clear that as an ethnic, he should not expect to get any further than that. After he had graduated, he managed to find employment as a street worker for the city of Ghent. His work brought him into contact with all sorts of problems in peoples’ lives. He saw how everyone is involved in a struggle for life, and how everyone is trying to find a way to survive within an environment that is often intolerant and without any understanding. By now he had also formed his own dance group, Al Fath.

Alain Platel invited him to participate in his dance productions (Bonjour Madame and later on, La Tristeza Complice). He found himself in a completely different world. He did not immediately understand what Platel meant when he told him to ‘just do something’. Sarrokh was a very skilled breakdancer. He had danced for the NTG and for Raymond Van Het Groenewoud. But Les Ballets C. de la B. introduced him to new ideas.

When the Berchem Cultural Centre asked him to lead a project with young dancers from different cultural – and dance – backgrounds, he automatically adopted the Platel system: ‘just do something’. He offered hints and encouragement, looked for a meaningful thread within the wide range of diversity that he was confronted with, and showed himself to be a good choreographer with a clear intuition for rhythm and high-power scenes. Carte Blanche was an unexpected success and after this there was no stopping him. Intended as a single performance event, this project gave rise to a company named Hush Hush Hush that soon became a smash hit. Breakdance and contemporary dance are dominant, but there is also room for flamenco, African dance, belly-dancing and MTV showbiz in Sarrokh’s dance theatre. It is precisely the encounters, the ‘crashes’, the inevitable clashes and the lovely symbioses and fusions between the different languages and stories that he finds so fascinating. After Via and K’Dar, which made the group even better known in Belgium and abroad, Sarrokh took up the theme of Tupac’s life. With 2Pack he delves even deeper into the human psyche. Into the psyche of the ethnic who wants to integrate into the culture in which he is growing up, and yet is deeply attached to his roots. But also into the psyche of the physically disabled person who wants to belong, of the secretary who wants to be accepted in the world of the breakers, of anyone who is somewhere else. And that is all of us. How far does one go when it comes to integration? To what extent are mutations and corruption acceptable? One can be flexible where clothes, language or work structures are concerned, but as a true Mohammedan, does one really have to drink beer and eat pork simply to be allowed to belong? And in how far are we ourselves tolerant regarding who is ‘different’ in one way or another? And how are friendship and tolerance connected? And what happens if the struggle for life allows other needs to take precedence? And which types of energy flood your body and your mind in all these situations and where do they lead to? Aggression? Unrestrained creativity? Sarrokh started 2Pack with all these questions in mind. The dancers were expected to find a solution. Surprisingly, they arrived at unexpectedly different answers that pointed to new questions and new directions.

The Hush Hush Hush dancers are not chosen for what they can do, but for what they have to tell. For Abdelaziz the most important issue is the ideas, stories and movements they come up with. It is this that sharpens his mind and gives him the right setting for the performance.

Sarrokh is not a moralist and is not out to change the world. In his fascination with human behaviour he is more of a sociologist who observes than a psychologist who offers all sorts of remedies.

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