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REVIEW: Afrique en Cirque – A Dazzling Spectacle of Talent

Review by Markus Hamence – Performance date: Thursday 15 February 2024, Adelaide Fringe, Gluttony, South Australia

Imagine stepping into a world where every beat of the drum, every acrobatic feat, and every dance move tells a story of heritage, resilience, and joy. This is precisely the experience that ‘Afrique en Cirque’ delivers. It’s a spectacle that transcends the conventional circus, offering a vibrant celebration of African culture through the lens of spectacular performances. As I delve into this review, let me share why this show is an unmissable event that captivates hearts and minds.

Kalabanté productions were created in 2007 by Yamoussa Bangoura, a multidisciplinary artist of Guinean origin who has always dreamed of founding a circus school and having his own multidisciplinary company in African arts.

Installed in Montreal for several years, Yamoussa Bangoura, artistic director of the company, also transmits and shares his values and his passion thanks to the teaching of the various artistic disciplines which he masters in circus arts, African dance and traditional music of West Africa.

The Heartbeat of Africa Through Music and Dance

At the core of ‘Afrique en Cirque’ is its pulsating music. The rhythm is irresistible, drawing you in from the first drumbeat. It’s not just background music; it’s a vital part of the narrative, with performers often moving in perfect harmony with the beats. The live musicians are masters of their craft, seamlessly blending traditional African instruments with contemporary sounds, creating a musical tapestry that’s both authentic and refreshingly modern.

The dance sequences are equally mesmerizing. They’re a blend of traditional African dances and modern choreography, showcasing the diversity and richness of African cultures. Each movement is executed with such precision and energy that you can’t help but feel a part of the celebration. It’s a testament to the dancers’ skill and dedication, making every performance feel personal and alive.

Acrobatics That Defy Gravity

What truly sets ‘Afrique en Cirque’ apart are the breathtaking acrobatics. These are not your run-of-the-mill circus tricks; they are awe-inspiring feats that defy gravity and challenge the limits of the human body. The acrobats blend strength, flexibility, and creativity to create sequences that leave audiences gasping. Whether it’s a solo performance or a synchronized group act, the acrobatics are a thrilling display of human potential and artistry.

One of the most remarkable aspects is how these acrobatic acts are woven into the narrative, telling stories of adventure, community, and the spirit of Africa. Each flip and tumble carries with it a message of hope and perseverance, making the spectacle not just visually stunning but emotionally resonant as well.

A few honourable mentions I must hand-out – Alya Sylla is HUGE, physically and in nature, yet the way he dances and glides across the stage is truly like a graceful butterfly. It was mesmerising to see. Mohamed Ben Sylla is mind bending a human oddity, he does things with his body that, up until last night, didn’t think was actually possible. Met with shrieks of ‘OMG’, Mohamed continued to defy the norm and challenge the bodies mentally imposed limits. Mohamed, you have inspired my notions of mind over matter. And, of course, leader of the pack – Yamoussa Bangoura, what you do is pure brilliance, bringing to life these beautiful and cultural stories across the world is appreciated and memorable. Full respect to you and your troupe. Side note: I have NEVER seen such ripped bodies on-mass in a show. Now, where did I put my gym membership???

A Celebration of Culture and Community

‘Afrique en Cirque’ is more than just a performance; it’s a celebration of African culture and the sense of community that binds it together. The show manages to capture the essence of Africa’s diverse cultures, from the colorful costumes to the intricate set designs, each element is carefully chosen to reflect the continent’s rich heritage.

The performers themselves are ambassadors of this cultural celebration. Their energy and passion are infectious, creating an atmosphere where audience members feel connected to the stories being told on stage. It’s a communal experience, where performers and viewers come together to celebrate the vibrancy of African culture.

Final Thoughts

I barley have enough adjective or noun in my humble bank of words to describe the feelings that rise after seeing this show – ‘Elation’ is one that comes to mind first and foremost though. ‘Afrique en Cirque’ is a testament to the incredible talent and rich cultural heritage of Africa. It’s a show that entertains, educates, and inspires, leaving a lasting impression on all who witness it. Whether you’re drawn in by the mesmerizing music and dance, the gravity-defying acrobatics, or the cultural celebration, there’s something in this spectacle for everyone.

The happiness, pure joy and ‘living in the moment’ attitude of this show grabbed me by the heart. And if that wasn’t enough, their sunshine smiles were close to blinding. I was in awe from start to finish. Brilliance on stage.

There was even a tongue-in-cheek, ultra-sexy, Magic Mike segment that showcased their comedic skills on top of their physical. It was hilarious, and VERY VERY sexy! Everyone in the audience connected with it and proved that sexy, sexuality is not necessarily gender based but appreciation of what is simply beautiful. And ‘beautiful’ is what that are, for a solid one and a half hours (I don’t know where they find the energy tbh. Probably beneath their very well toned abs haha)

For those who have yet to experience ‘Afrique en Cirque’, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a unique opportunity to see the heart and soul of Africa brought to life on stage, a dazzling display of what happens when talent, tradition, and storytelling collide. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unforgettable journey.

Adelaide Fringe – The Flamingo, Gluttony, Adelaide, South Australia
From 15 -25 February 2024 / Various time slots
Tickets and show information here!

Markus Hamence Zooms with Yamoussa Bangoura from Afrique En Cirque
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