// Premiere: October 31, 2018, Festival DENSE BAMAKO DANSE, Donko Seko, Bamako (Mali)

inititated and granted as part of TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries by the Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes) 

// In collaboration with: Donko Seko Bamako, Theater im Ballsaal Bonn, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr Mülheim 

// Funded within the TURN Fund der Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Kunststiftung NRW, Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bundesstadt Bonn, Theatre-ProVS, Le Conseil de la Culture Etat du Valais, La Loterie Romande

In coproduction with Goethe-Institut (International coproduction fund) 


SIGNIFYING GHOSTS, funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, is a collaborative project of extraordinary dance personalities with previous work experience in the mediation between Africa and Europe. Together, they’ll revisit their work and hand it over to their fellow female artists for a radical examination, while following the transformation process as observers.


Four extraordinary personalities - Rafaële Giovanola (Bonn), Vera Sander (Köln), Nelisiwe Xaba

(Johannisburg) and Kettly Noël (Bamako) - who already built in previous productions cultural bridges between Africa and Europe - will cooperate in the project. All of them have not only worked extensively as performers and choreographers, some already in collaboration, but they also ventured into new terrain by forming companies and different artistic organizational structures, including for dance education. The dancers will include members of CocoonDance, young African dancers and students of the Cologne Hochschule.


The creation of such a space for intercultural, artistic encounter links to the cultural studies and postcolonial theories around the terms “threshold” (Turner) or “third place” (Bhabha). Whereas the concept of borders tends to lead to binary structures, to absolutize and to confront the other, the “threshold” is rather characterized by the elimination of barriers and the hybridization (or fusion) of cultures. The threshold embodies both a spatial and a temporal expansion, to be understood as a process with uncertain outcome for the participants. The challenge for the artists in such liminal experience consists in taking a radical review of their own cultural values, to unlock their artistic productions and to dissolve as creative artists. It requires from them to recognize and value thresholds as places of loss of control, where things are drawn into a maelstrom and some developments cannot be explained and reflected for the time being.


“What happens between two, and between all the ‚two’s‘ one likes, can only maintain itself with some ghost, can only talk with or about some ghost. So it would be necessary to learn spirits … And this being-with specters would also be, not only but also, a politics of memory, of inheritance, and of generations.” (Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx, New York 1994, p. 14-15)

For our artistic conception, the Derridean spectre, as a deconstructive figure hovering between life and death, presence and absence, which making established certainties vacillate seems to be fitting as an in-between figure that establishes a relationship without letting itself be fixed, and as a mindset for the intercultural encounter. In practice, this would mean a remarkable display-disposition in contemporary dance and a toolset to experiment with motives and themes of that are already viral in the current projects of the partners. 


By and with: Ibrahima Camara, Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina de Dominicis, Álvaro Esteban, Ana Koné, Werner Nigg, Léonce Konan Noah, Sanga Ouattara /also part of the research Ana Koné, Greta Salgado // Choreography: Rafaële Giovanola // Composition: Jörg Ritzenhoff // Light design: Florent Blanchon // Dramaturgy: Rainald Endraß


EX-SITU rehearsal:  Trailer from the 3rd project period in Octobre 2018 in Bamako (Mali): Martina De Dominicis

Documentation of the second project period in June 2018 in Bonn and Cologne: Michael Maurissens/ Carré Blanc Productions 



Rehearsal pictures EX-SITU: Martina De Dominicis