I am my first audience member

Serge Aimé Coulibaly

I really like working with creators, with artists, with people who bring me something. Being in dialogue. What ties us together is the story we want to tell, this thing that we share, our visions. Working with me takes total commitment, there are no half measures, nothing is done by halves. We engage with our soul, our humanity, our entirety, our body, our spirit, and we try, always, to touch the other, the one who is looking at us, the one who comes to discover something – to touch that person in a way that they might not suspect.

I’ve known Magik Malik and his music for ten years. It’s very surprising. The pace isn't regular; you have to find the tempo and that clearly corresponds to what I'm looking for: a dance that surprises. What interests me is working, creating, bringing people together, to make them dream, to get them out of this daily life which is not necessarily always cheerful. Which doesn't mean that what I do is always gay, but it's often the confrontation that creates something in the other, a hope for life.

I’ve worked with a lot of musicians, but he has an incredible strength, a gaze, an incredible sensitivity so that I don't even have to tell him how the music should be to be at its best with the dance. I discover every day how he accompanies the dancers. And when I say accompany it’s on several levels. Bringing emotion and accentuating certain elements or being completely out of step and developing another imagination.

For him, as for the dancers, there are spaces for improvisation in the performance. I resist the temptation to define everything, even if it might take me an hour. But these are humans on the stage and I want them to surprise me every day. In that sense, I'm my first audience member.


— Words collected by Benoît Henken on September 4, 2020