La Pileuse by Sarah Elola

a person dancing

La Pileuse – Sarah Elola (© Stacyann Lee)

La Pileuse is Sarah Elola’s second solo piece presented at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) for 3 days only on November 24, 25 and 26. It draws upon the traditions of Burkina Faso and more specifically those of Oulo and Boromissi villages where the dancer and choreographer spent her childhood. La Pileuse dives deep into the origins of rhythm and dance. This art of entering in communion with the elements instead of resisting them, of neither enduring nor dominating them; this art of renewal that can transcend the laborious. La Pileuse takes stock of all this and represents a mine of movements, sounds and philosophical reflections in what is ultimately an intimate encounter with the African woman.

In Africa, dance is an extension of life and daily activities – a mode of expressing thoughts and feelings through a liberation of the body and an abandonment to rhythm. There are many times when music and dance are born of repeated gestures, whether those of the farmer, the canoeist, or of the women who gather together around a single mortar to grind millet, sorghum or corn. They work together like this for long hours, now striking the pestles against the mortars, now throwing them up into the air and clapping their hands before catching them again, grinding the grain, each one performing more and more elaborate feats, punctuating their movements with shouts, sounds, words or melodies. All of this comes together in a single rhythm to produce a sometimes complex symphony.

a person dancing

La Pileuse – Sarah Elola (© Stacyann Lee)

Here is an art of resilience and renewal so fruitful it gives rise to a whole repertory of rhythms, songs and dances specific to each village. A plethora of movements, sounds and philosophical reflections emerges from which choreographer Sarah Elola draws upon to produce her second solo piece: La Pileuse.

A protean performer originally from Burkina Faso, Sarah Elola coloured her first 15 years with a kaleidoscopic African life both rural and urban, traditional and contemporary. Sarah Elola grew up both in Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire and studied drama, choral singing, and dance in many forms. She has danced in particular for Zab Maboungou/Compagnie Nyata Nyata. Her process borrows traditions from several African countries while also becoming a distinctly contemporary
style of dance.

Elola created her first solo, Dans le ventre de l’éléphant, for the 2016 edition of Eclectik at the MAI. She also presented this piece in Montreal at the Forum Social Mondial and as well as at the Festival International de Danse de Ouagadougou (FIDO) presented by the French Institute in Burkina Faso.

Winner of the joint mentorship program in dance CAM + MAI in 2016 for the creation of La Pileuse, Sarah Elola carried out exploratory fieldwork on the ground in Oulo (Burkina Faso) this past spring for her new work.

La Pileuse

November 24 and 25 at 8 pm and November 26 at 2 pm. A discussion led by Marilou Craft will follow the performance on Friday, November 24.

Where?

MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)

3680 Jeanne-Mance, Montreal

Source: MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)