Negotiate (Négocier)

(2011)

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

Premiere

Nov 17, 2011, French Institute of Senegal, Dakar

Credits

Choreography by Keith Hennessy (San Francisco) in collaboration with Momar ‘Klou’ Ndiaye (Dakar), Yves Mwamba (Kisingani), Francis Djidjo-Blassou (Lomé)

Videos

This is a chronological montage of excerpts from Negotiate, a performance at the Institut Français in Dakar, Nov 17 2011. Choreography and production by Keith Hennessy / Zero Performance in collaboration with Momar Ndiaye (Klou), Yves Mwamba, Francis Djidjo-Blassou. Negotiate was made in just a few days as part of AEx-Corps 2011, a workshop and festival of contemporary dance in Dakar. Mostly the work focused on the strangeness of colliding fictions and realities during my first trip to Africa.
This is an excerpt from Negotiate, a performance at the Institut Français in Dakar. Negotiate was made in just a few days as part of AEx-Corps 2011, a workshop and festival of contemporary dance in Dakar. I rarely dance to pop music and almost never in performance, so that is just one of the negotiations I'm performing. The dance is improvised. Mostly the work focused on the strangeness of colliding fictions and realities during my first trip to Africa.

This video is a montage of dancing from the workshops of Ouamba and Keith Hennessy (San Francisco) with a few street scenes. Camera: Keith Hennessy Editing: Kenneth Olguin

In 2013 I was invited by Andréya Ouamba to mentor 5 choreographers from Senegal, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mozambique*. This video shows excerpts of their projects, excerpts from the choreography labs I facilitated, and scenes from the street outside the studios. AEx-Corps is an ongoing training project for contemporary dance in Dakar. The 2013 edition was a collaboration with PAMOJA. My participation was supported by The Suitcase Fund, a project of New York Live Arts. * In each of these countries there is already a hybrid and emergent dance culture that is situated within the practices recognized in Europe as "contemporary dance." The term “African contemporary dance” is used frequently even if it is just as likely to be avoided as both vague or falsely unifying.

Director's Notes

Click here to read Dancing Dakar, 2011-2013 by Keith Hennessy.

Funding

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.