Ula Sickle Brussels / Kinshasa

Kinshasa Electric

In her performances, choreographer Ula Sickle traces the individual histories of dancers and the way their movements are culturally and politically coloured. For the past several years she has been fascinated by the popular dance styles in the nightclubs of Kinshasa, a melting pot of diverse and complex identities that are far from her own Western dance background. In dialogue with two performers from Kinshasa, she created the solos Solid Gold (2010) and Jolie (2011). In 2014, Ula Sickle returned to the Congolese capital in order to construct a group performance. Four young dancers and a DJ release their energy on stage. With virtuosity, they tell of their desires, disappointments, and visions of the future. The individual voices write a collective story based on cultural movements. Why are we still dancing while the social fabric continues to unravel around us? Ula Sickle places our postcolonial, a priori leanings, and our ideas about art, under high voltage. A generous exchange process.

Ula Sickle is a choreographer and performer, living and working in Brussels. She studied Art History in Toronto and Performance Studies in Paris before attending P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels. From 2008 to 2010 Ula studied film and video at Le Fresnoy – Studio National des Arts Contemporains in Tourcoing (FR). While her work takes many forms, from film to installation to live performance, it is frequently informed by a choreographic approach to movement and a work on perception and reception, specific to the live arts. Her interest in looking for an alternative to the canon of contemporary dance, has led her to seek out performers who embody other movement histories – such as in her collaborations with performers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Solid Gold, 2010 & Jolie, 2011), or in her work with a self-taught dancer Marie De Corte (Extreme Tension, 2012). Frequently centered around a strong performer, in these recent solo works Ula Sickle searches for forms of choreographic writing, where the culture coding and political power of popular dancing can be revealed or where the musicality and materiality of the body itself take centre stage. 

NXTSTP partners: Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival (Groningen)