Dance Fusion, project initiated by EUNIC Rabat and Casablanca, will foster creative and professional skills of Moroccan dancers and strenghten the resilience of the local performing arts scene by supporting the development of local cultural infrastructure and professional networks. The project also aims to boost collaborations between Moroccan hip-hop and contemporary dancers and European artists.
The EUNIC clusters in Rabat and Casablanca have for the first time joined forces to improve and promote cultural diversity and understanding between European societies and to strengthen international dialogue and cultural cooperation with Dance Fusion, project co-financed through the EUNIC Cluster Fund Call 2020. The project focuses on providing support to local cultural scenes affected by the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
Dance Fusion offers the opportunity to young Moroccan dancers to professionalise, network and train in a safe environment, and to overcome traditional restrictions of interactions between men and women, enabling the appropriation of (public) space through a creative process. Dance improvisation allows for the mixing of individuals from different national, cultural and social milieus, boosting a vivid local creative dance and music scene, and raises awareness for performing arts among a broader public. Dance-fusion will spillover from a rehearsal studio into a larger hip-hop and contemporary dance community, enabling a mixing of audiences. Fusion will scale-up from an initial target group to build "a mixed dance community".
Moroccan performing arts scene suffers from the lack of professional infrastructures offering a safe, socially accepted space. The limited network of funding institutions fails in ensuring awareness and diffusion of the values of performing arts in society. Dance suffers from a lack of recognition. Restrictive measures imposed by Covid-19 prevent artists from practicing, missing out opportunities to professionalise further and lead them to a state of fragility.
Dance Fusion will boost the impact of local organisations ensuring high quality education, professionalisation and financial support to the dance scene. Hip-hop and contemporary dance scenes represent a milieu where it is socially acceptable for men and women to experiment on an equal base outside the traditional gender roles. Moroccan artists (dancers and musicians) will meet during seven open masterclasses, strengthening their artistic and improvisational skills, networking and entrepreneurship abilities, guided by Moroccan and international mentors. Moreover, they will perform in a “dance-battle” open to a broader audience. Participants will gain know-how to market themselves and interact with diverse peer groups and publics, activating local cultural entrepreneurship by gaining access to professional networks, and contribute to local sociocultural development by empowering new audiences, also amongst the ones not sensibilised to dance. Dance Fusion addresses real needs for creating sustainable structures, socially accepted spaces, exchange across gender and disciplines; mixing audiences and social strata; networking and job opportunity; boost professionalisation.
The project kick-started with an open call launched by the clusters, in which 26 candidates, professional or very advanced dancers, were selected to participate. Dance Fusion offers the opportunity for these 26 dancers to further professionalise themselves, to create a network with national and international choreographers in the field of urban and contemporary dance. Every month until November, the dancers will participate in a masterclass with Moroccan and European choreographers to develop their technique and improve their artistic quality. The first Masterclass took place with the choreographers Wajdi Gagui and Ahlam El Morsli in Casablanca. In November, an improvisation-dance event "Street Vs Stage", in which the best of them will participate, will concretise all their achievements through a battle with European dancers. The project also envisages scholarships for Dance Biennale in Africa, that will take place in September 2021 in Marrakech.
For the succesful implementation and outreach of the project, EUNIC members rely on the partnerships with local associations, Hiba Foundation in Rabat, L'Uzine/Tazi Foundation in Casablanca, Queens Collective in Marrakech. The partners act as reliable interlocutors between local communities and dancers, provide safe spaces for masterclasses and support in shortlisting local mentors.