A performance of perpetual movement

Self-taught choreographer, Nacera Belaza. | Photo by Jerry Adiguna

Self-taught choreographer, Nacera Belaza. | Photo by Jerry Adiguna

Confronting one’s own demise” is the premise of choreographer and dancer Nacera Belaza’s performance in her work Le Temps scellé. The performance is being presented at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival from Jan. 27 to Jan. 29.

Le Temps scellé was originally commissioned by the Festival d’Avignon in France in 2009.

“I had to create it in a very short period,” says Belaza, who will be sharing the stage with her sister Dalila Belaza. “This was extremely difficult because creation is a long process that needs a maturation phase.”

Through her art form Belaza closely examines repeated gestures, slow movements and stretching time. She explores light, space, time and the body to define her own style of dance.

Le Temps scellé is not only the title of a book by Russian-born filmmaker Tarkovsky; it was also part of what helped Belaza grow as an artist. Le Temps scellé is a journey that explores perpetual movement. Nacera expresses the emotion behind this perpetual movement, saying Le Temps scellé communicates her wishes that:

“it were possible to confront one’s own demise while shouting one`s rebelliousness to the world, express every thought and then slowly begin to erase all traces of oneself so that all that remains is the desire to merge with the air, the sky and the emptiness in which the deafening noise of our existence resonates.”

The body as first language

Liberation through dance. | Photo by Pons Braley

Liberation through dance. | Photo by Pons Braley

Born in Médéa, Algeria, Belaza now lives in Paris. She went to France when she was five years old. While her focus was on modern languages when she was at university and not on the arts, she has always danced. With the Compagnie Nacera Belaza, she has created over a dozen works and has performed them internationally.

“I have been dancing since I was a child and dance has always been part of my life. Dancing is like speaking for me. It’s a natural way of communication,” says Nacera.

A self-taught choreographer and dancer, Belaza’s way of expressing herself is entirely personal.

“It’s lucky to be an autodidact because you must find your own methods, your own rules. And this is the main duty of the artist: to find out and to create a unique path,” explains Belaza.

Belaza adds that she doesn’t believe in traditional teaching for the arts. There are some basic tools that can be taught, but art is mainly a thought process, a quest that everyone must go on.

“Dancing is a liberation as a human being and not as a woman. I used, and I still use, the art of dance to grow, to ask questions, and to communicate,” says Belaza. “It’s not only the pleasure of dancing, it’s also a way to express myself.”

The world as a source of inspiration

Belaza is inspired by the world that surrounds her as well as by other kind of arts such as literature, poetry and theatre.

“A great source of inspiration is how people, scientists, poets, etc., will experience my work and how they feel it,” says Nacera. “I am deeply interested in how differently the same thing is felt, analyzed and thought about.”

This is this kind of diversity that Belaza prefers – the diversity of emotions, the diversity of receiving life.

“I am not interested in what is different between people but what they have in common.”

She does not want to deliver a message. She does not want to stimulate the intellect of the audience.

“I want to stimulate their emotions. Nowadays the intellect is overstimulated whereas the other parts of the body are not stimulated enough,” says Belaza.

Last December, Belaza was named a Chevalier de L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. The quest of this new knight is to catalyze the spectators into reactivating their emotions.

For more information, visit: www.pushfestival.ca