Choreographer and performer Leïla Ka wins the "Danse Élargie" competition

By putting words to what we feel, we become quite fragile.

Emerging in 2018 with her dazzling solo Pode ser, choreographer and performer Leïla Ka has just won the Danse Élargie competition, organised by the Théâtre de la Ville with the support of the Institut français. She was rewarded for her latest creation, Bouffées, in which we meet five women struggling with a grief that is both immense and liberating. 

Updated on 26/09/2022

5 min

After starting out in urban dance, Leïla Ka took part in a springboard event organised by Adami, which enabled her to be spotted by Maguy Marin, who recruited her to revive the mythical piece May B. This experience instantly made her want to go on to create her own show. 

Created alone in a studio in her home town of Saint Nazaire, Pode ser is a solo in which she explores different genres and deals with the theme of the difficulty of freeing oneself from shackles in order to reveal oneself. An intense show in which she appears in an iconic pink dress, it has won five international awards since its creation in 2018. It unfolds in a form of wordless theatricality which she continued to experiment with in her second duet creation, C'est toi qu'on adore, which she performs with Jane Fournier Dumet, often presented in diptych with Pode ser

Self-taught, Leïla Ka's career path is quite unusual in a very structured and codified environment. She likes to tell stories without words, both intimate and collective. She explains that her practice explores the fact that "bodies speak of shackles, oppression, domination, class, assignment", and stems from a "desire to throw away everything that hinders me". Hence the desire to free oneself from language in order to invent a new language of movement.

Leïla Ka's dance thus transforms the stage into a place where desires and identities come into conflict and try to extricate themselves in order to regain control. In this theatre of the female soul, the choreographer deploys a poetics of movement that shows the body "fighting with and against its limits". 

Supported by the Tremplin network (which supports emerging choreographers) until 2024, Leïla Ka is also an associate artist at the Centquatre and the Théâtre de l'Etoile du Nord. For the Danse Élargie competition, organised by the Théâtre de la Ville de Paris and supported by the Institut français, she created the show Bouffées, which she performs alongside four other dancers. Wearing floral dresses, they wipe their cheeks flooded with tears, bearing a grief that is both deeply intimate and universal in scope. A show without music, because the choreographer considers that "the breath is charged with a strong dramaturgical meaning and gives voice to the intimate, it makes this territory palpable". Presented alone or in a diptych with Leïla Ka's previous creations, Bouffées will begin a long tour in the autumn.

Leïla Ka dans ARTE en scène
Leïla Ka dans ARTE en scène
  • 2016


    She performs May B with Maguy Marin's company.

  • 2018


    Pode ser, her first creation, wins five international awards.

  • 2020


    C'est toi qu'on adore, duet.

  • 2021


    Se faire la belle, choreographic revelation award from the Syndicat de la Critique.

  • 2022


    Bouffées wins the Danse Élargie competition.

L'institut français, LAB