In New York in 1994, Robyn Orlin created and performed a solo titled In a corner the sky surrenders. Struck by the presence of homeless people she encountered on New York’s Lower East Side, she devised a show dedicated to them, which was performed inside an empty cardboard box for a refrigerator – the type of box for household appliances that homeless people carry through that part of Manhattan. In a corner the sky surrenders came to life again in 2022, transformed by a series of experiences from Robyn Orlin’s life – from her return to South Africa, to the period of pandemic isolation. Thanks to Ivorian dancer and choreographer Nadia Beugré’s powerful reinterpretation the performance lives again today as a result of playing with somatic incorporations and transmissions.
In a corner the sky surrenders reflects on strategies of adaptation, on one’s sense of loneliness and on the emotional as well as existential vulnerabilities triggered by being uprooted. And it makes us wonder on how the sky can become an exit point for these labyrinths of restlessness. Inspired by Orlin’s energetic rebellious force of the 90s, another body with another story re-inhabits and transforms the performance by tuning movement and words to the present.
Robyn Orlin is a South African dancer and choreographer as well as founder of the City Theater & Dance Group (1988). In 1981 Adrienne C. Sichel defined her as a “very angry young dancer”, grappling with theatrical attempts in order to deconstruct the colonial tradition of white classical ballet. From that moment, a critique of white colonial traditions is omnipresent in her work. Her path really takes off with an important recognition in 2003, the Laurence Olivier Award for Daddy, I have seen this piece six times before and I still don’t know why they are hurting each other (1999). In 2007 she choreographed L’Allegro, il Pensieroso e il Moderato for the Paris Opera. Robyn Orlin incorporates various artistic expressions (text, video, plastic arts) to explore the theatrical dimension in her choreographic vocabulary. In co-production with INA and ARTE, she made her first film Hidden beauties, Dirty stories in October 2004. Robyn Orlin was named a Knight of the National Order of Merit in 2009 and a Knight of Arts and Letters in 2015.
Nadia Beugré is a choreographer and performer born and raised in the Ivory Coast. She made her debut in 1995 as a member of the Dante Theatre company. She is one of the founders of TchéTché by Béatrice Kombé, with whom she has toured with for years around Africa, Europe and North America. After training at Germaine Acogny’s École des sables in Senegal, in 2009 she entered Ex.e.r.ce., Mathilde Monnier’s program at the Center Chorégraphique National de Montpellier. Among her productions is the solo work Quartiers libres (2012). Her first ensemble piece, Legacy, premiered at the La Bâtie festival in Geneva (2015) and then at the Festival d’Automne in Paris, launching an important tour. AfterTapis Rouge (2017) and Roukasskaas Club (2019), Beugré presented L’Homme rare (2020), an all-male quintet. In the same year she directed the choreography of Atem, a musical piece for the Darmstadt Staatstheater. Beugré also performs in works by other choreographers, such as Seydou Boro, Alain Buffard, Dorothée Munyaneza, Bernardo Montet, Rémy Héritier and Boris Charmatz. She was artist in residence at Vooruit in Ghent and since 2021 she is an associated artist at Briqueterie in Vitry-sur-Seine (France). Nadia Beugré has recently founded Libr’Arts, a production, training and touring platform between France and the Ivory Coast.
a project by Robyn Orlin, created in 1994 and revived in 2022
performer Nadia Beugré
costumes Birgit Neppl
set design Annie Tolleter
technical direction Beatriz Kaysel Velasco and Cruz
sound and music Cedrik Fermont
light design Romain de Lagarde
promotion Damien Valette
coordination Alice Tabernat
production City Theatre & Dance Group, Damien Valette Prod
coproduction Montpellier Danse, Chaillot – Théâtre National de la Danse
supported by DRAC Ile-de-France
sustained by Institut Français Italia, Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati
ph François Kohl