Created quickly and in collaboration with the three other performers, Negotiate developed as a series of improvised dances, videos, and performance actions. The music included both global pop and an original composition by one of the dancers, DJ Klou. Negotiate was created within the context of AEx-Corps, a contemporary dance training and performance series produced by Andréya Ouamba and Association Premier Temps where Keith was a resident artist for 3+ weeks in Fall 2011.
Negotiate: to try to reach agreement or compromise by discussion.
Negotiate: to bargain, to get the best price.
Negotiate: to find a way through or around an obstacle or difficulty.
I was struck by how much everything is negotiated in Dakar. Every price. Every taxi ride. Every translation from Wolof to French, French to English, English to Wolof, and so many other languages too. Cars, people, and animals sharing undifferentiated streets in the neighborhood around the studio. Negotiating, improvising, pushing and pulling until an agreement is reached, however temporary. I started to see negotiation as a practice and a state, a way to practice cross-cultural collaboration and living together despite immense differences and asymmetrical access to resources, power, space, time.
My friends tell me that “Africa” will change me, that everything in Africa is different from USA, and that even I will be different in Africa. The media tells me that Africa is a problem, a crisis that cannot be negotiated. How can I negotiate these ideas of difference and crisis and the failure of negotiation? How do I negotiate the fantasy of Africa with the realities of Dakar. How do I negotiate with myself while trying to negotiate the world around me?
Duration: 40 min
Nov 17, 2011, French Institute of Senegal, Dakar
Choreography by Keith Hennessy (San Francisco) in collaboration with Momar ‘Klou’ Ndiaye (Dakar), Yves Mwamba (Kisingani), Francis Djidjo-Blassou (Lomé)
Negotiate was created within the context of AEx-Corps, a contemporary dance training and performance series produced by Andréya Ouamba and Association Premier Temps (Dakar). Keith’s work at AEx-Corps was funded by The Suitcase Fund NYLA.