On February 18th, I went to Nyon to run a workshop for undocumented migrants. Some of them would later obtain a residence permit or a visa, while others would be deported across various borders, some further away than others. The workshop was to begin at 10 am and last two hours. I was a bit nervous. I wondered what choreography could contribute to a context where reality was reduced to little more than a question of survival. Standing before a group of people for whom every moment is pure instability – what good is dance?
11:00: No one’s here! I’m resigned to the situation, telling myself I understand them. 11:10: a group of fifteen bright-eyed, smiling men enter the studio.
We begin. I suggest we introduce ourselves and pass dances on to one another. At that point, there’s an outbreak of fireworks, singing, traditions, grappling, laughter, pride, screaming, and hand-holding. That day, a project was born.
Among these men is Jutyar Ali, a young Kurdish refugee from Iraq. Today, he works on a farm near Nyon. I am so impressed with his joie de vivre, his way of pulling men over to him by their shoulders, his energy, his singing – which he plays for us over his phone. Since then, despite the distance, we have remained in touch writing to each other using an automatic Kurdish-French translator.

This project with Jutyar reflects the complexity of his experience.

  • Mickaël Phelippeau

choreographic project by Mickaël Phelippeau
performance Jutyar Ali
artistic collaboration Claire Haenni

production Fabrik Cassiopée, far° Nyon
executive production bi-p association