Latifa Laâbissi (*1964, France) began studying contemporary dance in France and completed her studies at the Merce Cunningham Studio in New York. She has been working as a dancer and choreographer since 1990. She collaborates with other performers in many of her pieces, including the "L’âme et le corps" duo and "To Play" (1998) in collaboration with Yves-Noël Genod, "Phasmes" (2001), "I Love Like Animals" (2002), "Love" (2004) together with Loïc Touzé, "Habiter" (2005), "Distraction" (2006) in collaboration with Isabelle Launay and Laurent Pichaud, the solo "Self Portrait Camouflage" (2006) and a piece for four performers "Histoire par celui qui la raconte" (2008). Her dance pieces often feature contortions of the body and grimaces, thus harking back to such artists as the radical dancer Valeska Gert. Her interest in teaching has inspired her to stage her work in various settings, such as universities, art schools and centres of choreography.
Two ghosts begin singing karaoke, but the accompanying music is missing. This is the start of a truly frightening set of events: a one-hour live performance that recalls a minstrel show, a popular American entertainment format in the mid-19th century. The two white ghosts become two completely black figures with big black wigs, faces painted pitch-black and deep red mouths. In several short acts, the two figures compound racist jokes, pop music fragments, twisted fairy tales, prejudice poems, propaganda speeches and preposterous gestures – all in at least four different languages – and a dance using a whole arsenal of weapons, in which the audience literally becomes a target. In their costumes, the performers Latifa Laâbissi and Sophiatou Kossoko enact a variety of themes, holding up a mirror to the audience while entertaining them at the same time. The title Loredreamsong refers to ‘lore’, as in folklore, and Laâbissi states that, for her, “the notion of lore is that one can belong through what is shared.” In other words, “this creates possibilities of mixing which go quite far beyond certain kinds of identification or identificatory fixation.” The performance ends when the same haunting ghosts recite a text by the poet and singer Lydia Lunch.
Courtesy Latifa Laâbissi