Modou Fata Touré is a contemporary circus artist. He juggles between the disciplines and combines his Senegalese culture with that of new circus. He discovered circus performance as a teenager after coming across the Swedish company Cirkus Cirkör. The discipline fascinated him, and he decided to devote his life to it and make it his profession. A few years later, Cirkus Cirkör invited him to train in Sweden. Rather than forging a career in Europe, he chose to return to Empire des Enfants, where in 2009 he founded Senegal’s first circus: Sencirk. It is a charity that puts together shows, trains the professional circus artists of the future and provides assistance to children in Dakar suffering from severe social problems.
He is artistic director of Sencirk today, and has the ambition of giving a new face to circus in Africa. He experiments by shaking up traditional codes by bringing together artists from different horizons (breakdance, acrobatic gymnastics, traditional dance...) which combine their specialities and Senegalese culture with that of new circus from elsewhere.
Modou Fata Touré was in residency at the Cirque Électrique in Paris Between February and April as part of the Visa for Creation programme. With the support of his director, Hervé Vallée, and the Clowns d’Ailleurs et d’Iciteam, he has been working on creating Ancrage with Ibrahima Camara, who received a writing grant from the Beaumarchais foundation. A week has also been spent creating at the théâtre du Bas-Chemin, in Quessoy (Côtes-d’Armor), with Nathalie Tarlet, director of the Vis Comica company.
Modou uses local materials to question contemporary circus. He believes that the few attempts budding contemporary circus has made are inspired directly by European practices, at the risk of losing their African identity. With Ancrage, he questions Europe and Africa: What if contemporary circus was not just European? What if African circus was not just traditional? Through Ancrage, Modou and Ibrahima give circus back its African identity and let a discipline tinged with great freedom be seen. A few materials have been brought back from Senegal: bags of rice, traditional broom, wooden ladder... which are joined by raw materials like earth, sand, aluminium, straw. Materials are taken away from their usual use and serve to create new apparatus and new techniques.
Sencirk is supported by the Accès Culture programme. co-sponsored by the French Development Agency (FDA) and the Institut français, the Accès Culture programme aims to to finance and support cultural projects in Africa in order to foster social ties and strengthen collaboration between African and French cultural agents.
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