Compagnie Herve Koubi
Didier Philispart / Compagnie Herve Koubi

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See Algeria’s all-male Muslim dance company at the Prince Theater

Compagnie Hervé Koubi kicks off NextMove Dance’s season with five shows this week.

Compagnie Herve Koubi
Didier Philispart / Compagnie Herve Koubi
Billy Penn statue

From NextMove Dance

Compagnie Hervé Koubi, Algeria’s all-male dance company, makes its Philadelphia debut kicking off NextMove Dance’s 2017-18 season with five performances Oct. 12-15, at the Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut St.  The program features the Philadelphia premiere of Ce que le jour doit a la nuit, a full-length 75-minute work that fuses hip hop, contemporary dance and martial arts choreographed by Artistic Director Hervé Koubi.

Performances take place:

  • Thursday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 13 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 14 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $20-$62 and can be purchased in person at the Prince Theater Box Office, by phone 215-422-4580 or online.

Set to music by Maxine Bodson, Hamza El Din with the Kronos Quartet, Jean Sebastian Bach and Sufi music, the movement vocabulary features over-the-top gravity-defying flips, whirling dervish head-spins, super-human handstands, kicks, falls, catches and lifts interspersed with quieter moments of trance-like reflection.  Closing sections include 12 Muslim men bare-chested in white skirted-pant costumes (designed by Guillaume Gabriel) head spinning like flower petals and a dancer speaking in Arabic a poem written by Hervé Koubi translated as “I went there.”

Randy Swartz, Artist Director of NextMove Dance states, “We titled NextMove Dance’s 2017-18 the Season of Wow in part because Compagnie Hervé Koubi exceeds expectations of what we expect are the limits of extreme movement. In viewing the work, I wanted Philadelphia audiences to experience the artistry, passion and physicality of this extraordinary troupe who defies gravity.”

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Didier Philispart / Compagnie Herve Koubi

Ce que le jour doit a la nuit (What the day owes to the night) (2013) traces Koubi’s Algerian heritage. Koubi considered himself French only to discover at the age of 25 his family‘s ancestry was rooted in Algeria.  Inspired by a 2008 Yasmina Khadra’s novel of the same name, Orientalist paintings and Islamic architecture, the work explores Koubi’s path to discover his African roots. Ce que is his second collaboration with 12 street dancers from an audition of 200 from Algeria and Burkina Faso. Koubi notes “They are not my dancers. They are my brothers.”

Noted dance critic Marcia Segal states, “What the day owes to the nightincorporated the tricks in a larger framework of movement. It seemed to me an affirmation of multiculturalism and-beyond that- a communal journey with spiritual significance.” Koubi’s piece overturned expectations in so many ways it could be called innovative, groundbreaking.”

In addition to the performances, Compagnie Herve Koubi will be offering a master class TBA and two post-performance chats that will take place after Friday’s 8 p.m. and Saturday’s 2 p.m. performances.