Last weekend we took a Dance Consortium trip to France to visit Compagnie Kafig ahead of their tour to the UK in March and April next year. They’re bringing their 65 minute show Boxe Boxe which sees Hip Hop, ‘smurfing’, popping and locking mixed with contemporary dance and boxing put to a wonderful live on stage sound track of a string quartet, playing recognisable works of Schubert, Phillip Glass and Verdi to name a few!
We left the gorgeous Christmas decorations of St Pancras station behind as we set off on the Eurostar to Paris. It was my first time on the Eurostar so I was very excited for a new adventure but didn’t quite fall for the ‘If you look really close you’ll see the fish’ jokes! Nick, Dance Consortium’s Technical Production Manager, even tried to charge me £1 for some binoculars for a closer look!
On our arrival at Gare du Nord in Paris, I noticed immediately that there were no Christmas decorations to be seen. (The station management must have heard my complaining as the next day on our return to the station the place has been completely transformed for the Christmas season!) We then headed down to the metro where we travelled to a suburb called Sceaux where Compagnie Kafig were performing.
The trip allowed us to spend time getting to know the company, work out tour schedules and the chance to create online content ahead of the tour for website use and social media. We spent an afternoon with the dancers, interviewing them, getting lots of signatures for competition prizes, taking photos for the programme and online use and watching the dancers warm up for their performance. Accompanying us were members from the different theatres who Compagnie Kafig are visiting in the UK.
We then got to see Compagnie Kafig perform Boxe Boxe that evening to a sell-outaudience. If we were impressed with the show on DVD before we went away, it was nothing compared to the show live. The dancers have such stamina to continue to perform with such physicality and strength throughout the whole show and I loved the way the live musicians were incorporated into the performance. The audience obviously loved the show too with cries of ‘encore’ to be heard throughout the bows and my first ever experience of an ‘encore clap’ where the audience clapped repeatedly in time to one another (but not in time to any music). It did take a while to realise that they hadn’t just fallen into this rhythm by mistake – it was on purpose! I also enjoyed the techno music track played over the encore in which the string quartet returned on stage to play the shows Classical and Romantic soundtrack over the top.
We didn’t have to leave Paris until late afternoon on Saturday which meant a day of sight-seeing was suggested. We walked from the Gare du Nord to Le Louvre which was breath-taking. We attempted to go and see the lady herself, Mona Lisa, however the queues were astronomical and we resigned ourselves to the fact we probably did need to get the train home on time!