The Student Volunteer Corps is a high school job shadow program designed to give local students insight into the business of arts presenting. Twenty students from across Northwest Arkansas were selected to participate after submitting an application, referrals and an essay on their interest in the arts. From January to May, they will shadow Walton Arts Center staff and working theatre professionals at Trike Theatre, University of Arkansas and Theatre Squared. The final component of the program is to attend a 10x10 Series performance and write a one page review, in an effort to get them thinking critically about theatre. Our first two reviews are on Compagnie Herve Koubi, a French-Algerian dance troupe that features martial arts, capoeira and hip hop dance.
Written By: Kennedy Fuller, 12th Grade, Fayetteville High School
Big fan of shows from out of this country? Love stunts and break dancing? Want to watch a show but don’t have a lot money? Well then Walton Art Center’s 10x10 presentation of Compagnie Hervé Koubi by Hervé Koubi is just the show for you.
On Thursday, February 2nd, the Walton Arts Center performed their 2nd 10x10 show and Arkansas Debut What The Day Owes To The Night or Ce Que Le Jour Doit à La Nuit, choreographed by Hervé Koubi. The French-Algerian show has travelled around the America and internationally and has been praised for its raw and fluid way of showing history through dance. The show is inspired by Yasmina Khadra’s novel about a young man traveling from family to family during the Algerian war and seeing the man grow up and mature into being his own person.
Through traditional music, the dancers combine breaking dancing, martial arts and stunts to create a story. All the dancers share a story differently than their partner, but that what makes the show better - the dancer tells their story. Watching men being thrown in the air and falling from various heights makes you stare at the dancers with wonder and curiosity.
This show will open your eyes to different cultures and even self-discovery. You will find the story to be fascinating and interesting, the music being lively and the dancers being storytellers. I rate this show a 9.5/10 and I would love to see this company come back again and spread their cultural arts amongst this state.
Written By: Chloe Kilpatrick, 10th Grade, Haas Hall Academy
Alongside his Algerian dance group, Frenchman Hervé Koubi has been sharing his choreography titled What the Day Owes to the Night to illustrate his Algerian pride and heritage through a remarkable combination of traditional music and physical talent. La Compagnie and Hervé Koubi use their contrasting and awe-inspring talents to evoke emotions and thoughts in a way only few can accomplish.
Before the start of the show, the choreographer Hervé Koubi came out to tell the audience his story and the underlying emotions behind it. Koubi and his dancers took different paths in pursuing dance. He was trained in France to be choreographer, while he discovered his incredibly talented dance company street dancing in Algeria. As they worked together in arranging the performance, they created a unique blend of martial arts, hip-hop and traditional dance education that exceeds any audience member’s expectations.
The dance lasted 75 minutes with no intermission, with a mix of traditional Algerian music and chants from the dancers in the background. The immense physical talent and cultural depth is shocking, but for the performers, they are simply telling their story in a manner that makes sense to them.
In the performance, dancers embody an entire culture rather than specific people. Even having no knowledge about the Algerian War of Independence, the audience leaves with an intimate understanding of the struggle and emotions of the Algerian people. Each stroke of a hand represents a cry for help and each leap represents fleeing citizens. Even Koubi himself couldn’t have imagined the success he had in his endeavors to represent his heritage.
The music played throughout the work helped evoke emotion, as enormous physical stunts were completed in total silence and martial arts during opera. The dancers were perfectly balanced, as they created a paradox of separation and unification. Dancers split into two groups in contrasting movements, yet remained in a large group. It is as though they are trapped within the stage much as they were trapped in the government, yet they have free spirits to express themselves.
Koubi and his gifted company have accomplished a haunting experience that could not have been executed better. Their motives screamed out at the audience without saying a single word, leaving a deep respect and awareness for the Algerian people. This experience is a decisive technique in history education, providing the audience with empathy rather than facts and using immense talent to promote a shared intent.