Fitry is an intriguing one-man show from Faso Danse Théâtre, Brussels, featuring Serge Aimé Coulibaly as the performer. He is also the company’s Artistic Director and Choreographer of this work.
A combination of visual imagery, movement, sounds and music encourage the mind to wander
The piece could be entirely abstract; a combination of visual imagery, movement, sounds and music encourage the mind to wander across a variety of possible interpretations. A classical orchestral piece marks the opening, sounding like the start of a pageant or something pompous and ceremonial. In contrast, Coulibaly sits on a chair in casual off-white clothes in darkness, except for the projected white shapes that move across his face and around the stage. He stands to adopt a cruciform shape and has outbursts of laughter gradually moving to the floor where erratic hand and arm gestures extend and contract while beating around his head. It’s a style that dominates the performance as the music changes, finally ending with African song. As the images move from waves to a seashore he begins to use more of the space, deepening the sense of travel.
The journeying motif is strong in sequences that in fact are choreographed to show a lonely man standing at the crossroads. Perhaps the outstreched arms were not a cross, but a signpost pointing north and south for this man is torn between his commitment to Africa and Europe, struggling to stay afloat in a changing world and amidst the trials of life. It’s a message that is easily read into the work even if it is not always clear, enhanced by the strong physicality of his movements and repeated motifs.
The different elements are of interest in themselves. Obviously the dance and gesturing, but also the contrasting choices of music. The visuals, in shades from grey to white, stand out and have a fascination of their own. What is less clear is the extent to which they harmonise, support each other and contribute holistically.