Until the Beginnings

Deutschland/Senegal (2024)

A captivating and visionary performance staged by two leading choreographers from different continents: UNTIL THE BEGINNINGS is carried by global rhythms and brings together an international team of eight dancers from Senegal, Germany and France along with musicians from the fields of percussion and spoken word. Together they create a moving dialogue about the nature of hospitality.
Giving and taking. Embracing, releasing and experiencing boundaries. The artists embark on a journey to deconstruct the concept of “at home” in an alternation of encounters, ruptures and new beginnings. In this mesh of transcultural movement they explore the possibilities of a shared groove.
Current political enfoldings of the criminalisation of hospitality in many parts of the world as well as thoughts on unconditional hospitality of Jacques Derrida and Anne Dufourmantelle found their way into the project.
Directors Alesandra Seutin (Artistic Director École des Sables, Senegal) and Stephanie Thiersch (Artistic Director MOUVOIR, Germany), both from different artistic and cultural realms, weave a choreographic tapestry that poses questions, shakes things up and challenges. This is melancholic and at the same time it carefully plants the seed of hope and joy.

The creation of UNTIL THE BEGINNINGS is accompanied by MOUVOIR’s online magazine SYBL. The interactive platform encourages participating and non-participating artists, friends and interested humans to contribute their own ideas on the topic of hosting and thus take part in the creative process of the production.
Being part of it is easy: Try www.sybl.de.

Choreography: Alesandra Seutin and Stephanie Thiersch with the ensemble

With: Latif Arafan Wa-hab Diedhiou, Nadia Gabrieli Kalati, Cola Lok Yee Ho, Kezia Jonah, Margaux Marielle-Tréhoüart, Alexandre Nodari, Joel Suárez Gómez, Christ Zié
Music: Tarang Cissokho, Shelly Quest
Stage: Stephanie Thiersch, Alesandra Seutin with the ensemble
Costumes Lauren Steel
Lighting Design: Begoña Garcia Navas/Ansgar Kluge
Sound: Thomas Wegner
Arrangements/music advisor: Yvan Talbot

Management: Josefine Sautier
Production: Sarah Heinrich (MOUVOIR), Hervé Breuil, Paul Sagne (École des Sables)
Financing: Béla Bisom, transmissions
PR, Social Media: Nina Lobinger
Press: neurohr & andrä

Produced by: MOUVOIR e.V. and Freihandelszone – Ensemblenetzwerk Köln, École des Sables Senegal

Coproduction: tanzhausnrw, Sommerblut Kulturfestival

Funded by: Kunststiftung NRW, NATIONALEPERFORMANCENETZ. Koproduktionsförderung Tanz funded by der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, Karin und Uwe Hollweg Stiftung
MOUVOIR/Stephanie Thiersch is funded by: Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Kulturamt der Stadt Köln

Duration ca. 70 min, no intermission

photos: © Martin Rottenkolber

Work in progress 1
Work in progress 2

“This dance performance is captivating and energetic, drawing on the wealth of cultural diversity and celebrating hospitality.”
WDR Westart/Anke Rebbert

“Distance and closeness, friendship and foreignness – the evening revolves around these poles. Hip-hop and artistry meet the African street dance krump. Last but not least, the evening is also a magnificent concert and poetic spoken word performance, a lament about migration and displacement.”
UNTIL THE BEGINNINGS is a wild mashup of associations and styles, an energetic plea for more diversity in the community. Innocent and thrilling despite seemingly omnipresent narratives of demarcation.”
Deutschlandfunk/Dorothea Marcus

“Danced hospitality”
“One of the strengths of the performance is that it repeatedly creates iconic still images that go right through you.”
Kölner Stadt Anzeiger/Rafael Greboggy

“Stephanie Thiersch, in collaboration with Alesandra Seutin, artistic director of the École des Sables from Senegal, staged the piece UNTIL THE BEGINNINGS, a wild ride of urban contemporary and traditional dance styles.”
“Inspired by current events and the consequences of inequality, war and flight, Thiersch and Seutin focused on the entanglements of those affected by the tension between hospitality and the criminalisation of foreigners. Drumming steps, trembling and writhing bodies – fear, anger, pain and hope were transmitted from the dancers to the audience. The musical performances by kora player Tarang Cissokho and rapper Shelly Quest, who gave voice to the emotional chaos with her lyrics, were also impressive.”
“The visitors that evening showered the dancers and performers with a well-deserved round of cheering applause”
Kölnische Rundschau/Dierk Himstedt

“Thiersch and Seutin manage to balance between rousing, energetic dance performances and global rhythms. To achieve this, they bring eight dancers on stage with musicians and spoken word artists from Germany, Senegal and France. They conjure up images of refugees in camps, of people hoping for a new start in a foreign country and wondering whether they are really welcome. In doing so, Thiersch and Seutin make reference to current political events, which allow us to experience hospitality in a completely different light and illuminate what can be defined as ‘home’ in many different ways. This is captivating and at the same time leaves room to question one’s own views on welcome culture and hospitality.”
Rheinische Post

“The performance skilfully delivers a wild mix of contemporary and traditional dances, accompanied by percussion, kora, spoken word and electronic sounds.”
UNTIL THE BEGINNINGS endeavours to develop a common groove that celebrates togetherness and allows for coexistence. It’s about offering, accepting and an encounter without compromise”
“a strong plea for welcoming culture and hospitality”
WDR Cosmo/Danko Rabrenovic

“There are wonderful moments in which the movements resemble ecstasy and could lead to complete exhaustion, yet at the same time they are gentle, dynamically varying, alternating between floor rolls, jumps and turns and, above all, loud and quiet.”
“The result is a performance that captivates with its choreographic and musical quality and poses profound questions about hospitality and cultural exchange. UNTIL THE BEGINNINGS is thought-provoking: What does it mean to be a guest or a host?”
tanznetz/Svenja Hoffeller

„Partition“ – performed by Shelly Quest

Wave hello to the hands
the bodies floating in the sea
risking love and lives
for an unspoken dream
last breath to belong
to a burning Kingdom
that pushes them away
Bodies in the ocean
partitions of the sea
what comes out on top
The cream
Or the tyranny
Black mermaids
sirens of the abyss
granting safe passage
to the dreamers on overcrowded fishing ships

What boundaries
winds carry seeds
and snow falls on hills unbiasedly
What borders
wind carry songs
and tears rolls down faces
of kings to pawns
I bleed you bleed
in the end we are dust
Returning to the same.
In energy we trust 

The empire is falling
We see the fringes dissolve
the empire is falling
it’s time to evolve
The empire is falling
the empire is no more
The empire is falling
Watching it implode
We wonder what it was for

„Borders“ – performed by Shelly Quest

In the times of walls and frontiers
Barriers and blockades
families pushed like cattle
Even the kids encaged
The world is fucked up/spotted up with all types of camps
With all types of people
cus they’re taking all the land
The world is partitioned off
half is migrated
some live their dreams
while others die jaded
There’s no freedom of movement
There’s no freedom of the press
got people calling for help and making martyrs of the rest
There is no rest for the weary
Only trauma and stress
Only a few be eating good
We gotta fight for the rest
And we know that it’s wrong.
And I know that you feel it
cus it’s darkening the hearts
and it’s tearing the spirits
We need to be

Copyright “Partition” & “Borders”: Shelly Quest for MOUVOIR

on Tour:

31.08.2024, 14.15 h
Open Studio/Talk

Internationale Tanzmesse NRW

tanzhaus nrw, Düsseldorf

22.06.2024, 20 h
10-jähriges Festivaljubiläum

Tanz | Moderne | Tanz, Chemnitz

St. Markus Kirche, Chemnitz

18.05.2024, 20 h

tanzhaus nrw, Erkrather Str. 30, 40233 Düsseldorf, Deutschland

17.05.2024, 20 h

tanzhaus nrw, Erkrather Str. 30, 40233 Düsseldorf, Deutschland

16.05.2024, 20 h

tanzhaus nrw, Erkrather Str. 30, 40233 Düsseldorf, Deutschland

04.05.2024, 20 h

Eröffnung Sommerblut Kulturfestival

Schauspiel Köln, Köln

Pre-Premiere Senegal

École des Sables, Dakar, Senegal