French hip-hop dancer and choreographer Miguel Nosibor is in high spirits. The 44-year-old founder of Compagnie En Phase makes his first trip to India – and indeed anywhere outside France, he said – when he comes to the city this fortnight to present Temps d’Arret, which means Time-Out. “This trip is therefore a huge step in my life as a dancer and choreographer,” said Nosibor in an email interview. Invited by Alliance Française de Bombay, Nosibor will also team up with leading Indian contemporary dancer Astad Deboo for an improvised duet.
How did Temps d’Arret come about?
I had just turned 40. I had set up Compagnie En Phase with the intention of doing my ‘own’ thing after 15 years of doing things proposed by others. I wanted to assemble a team to write, listen and reflect on my perceptions. From this urge came the idea of this solo, which I thought of and wrote in 2008, created in 2009 and have danced since 2010. It is an intimate and personal work which I entitled Temps d’Arret/ Time-Out because I wanted to put down my bags and take time out to reflect on my life and the course it had taken.
I felt a great need to do something for myself. Little by little it evolved into a show because the more I worked on it the more I seemed to see what was going on around me. I don’t have a car so I use public transport and this offers a marvellous opportunity to observe. My first observation was that for most people in the city life was too fast. People were always running for everything. I studied their facial expressions. I noticed how they were always tense, strung out, [on the verge of a] breaking point. My solo invites the spectator to pause, take time out to reflect on what is really important.
From hip hop, you have taken to a variety of styles such as contemporary dance, capoeira and jazz. How would you describe your movement vocabulary?
My choreographic language is that of hip hop and influenced by the different techniques and styles of hip hop. My dance is enriched by other dance techniques like classical and contemporary dance. In my solo Time-Out, I am inspired by animals who like us are good at adapting and who, also like us, are being pushed around by the frenetic pace of the cities.
Hip hop continues to be an integral part of your choreography as seen in the quick, fluid to repetitive and jerky movements.
Exactly. I discovered it at 14 and I felt an immediate rapport with it. It spoke to me. I felt the need to defend it and share it. Hip hop is about inventing and the freedom is what I like best about the dance style. Each dancer adds to the evolution of the movement, nourishing it with his creativity without ever stripping it of its original meaning. My wife, also a dancer, accompanies me in my projects and my sons too are hip hop dancers. It’s a family thing.
You are collaborating with Astad Deboo.
I regret that I cannot speak English which prevents me from writing to Astad. But I am happy for the confidence that Anne Dubourg [director of Alliance Française in Mumbai] has shown in me by offering me this tour and the opportunity to meet Deboo. I have watched his videos and I realize that our worlds are different and I find it interesting to create and to surprise. The advantage of being a professional dancer is that one is always seeking projects which push us to the limits and lead us to question what we know. That is how I see my meeting with Astad: as lab time to discover each other.
By Suhani Singh on April 27 2012 4.30am
Photos by Yann Marquis