L’Homme rare by Nadia Beugré

12 & 13 June

Supported by the French Institute, L’Homme rare by Nadia Beugré uses innovative choreography to probe and challenge perceptions of gender.

The issue of gender has always featured in Nadia Beugré’s work, but in L’Homme rare she tackles it head-on, questioning the attention paid to bodies and the qualities attributed to their movements. Starting with a game that blurs perceptions of gender, the choreographer places the spectator in the position of a voyeur, inviting the audience to experience her research on our understanding of the body, particularly black and male, in history and today.

The faces of the five dancers are not visible. The choreography is executed solely using their backs, inspired by dance techniques and styles that principally utilise the pelvis. With the insistent use of buttocks, these practices are seen as being more feminine, challenging or even chipping away at a strongly built and assimilated masculinity.

L’Homme rare also acts as a reflection on the history of Europeans’ gaze on black bodies and its persistence today


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About Nadia Beugré 

Born in Ivory Coast, Nadia Beugré made her first appearance in 1995 as a member of the Dante Theatre. Two years later, she became a founding member of Béatrice Kombé’s groundbreaking, all-female dance ensemble, TchéTché, with whom she toured for years to critical acclaim across Africa, Europe and North America. With Béatrice, Nadia Beugré understands that the stage is a ‘tatami’, a ring where anything can happen.

Following a training at Germaine Acogny’s Ecole des sables in Senegal, she joined in 2009 Ex.e.r.ce., Mathilde Monnier’s programme for talented, up-and-coming choreographers at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier. She was soon staging productions of her own, including the still-touring solo Quartiers libres (‘Free Rein’) in 2012.

A second decisive encounter marked Nadia’s career. Alain Buffard, for whom she performed Mauvais genre and Baron Samedi pushed her to understand why she kept questioning the body, gender and nudity. “He was generous, available and an extraordinary listener, but that didn’t prevent him from also sharing his dark side with us. In the same way, I question this dark side in me, the darkness in the light that makes us complex beings.”

Her work merges traditional folk dances, contemporary experimental dance and urban/hip-hop influences. The New York Times wrote in praise of her work: “It’s harrowing, both in action and sound; Ms. Beugré knows how to make a crowd trust her just as, in a split second, she knows how to knock the air out of people. She’s wild, like the wind.” With Virginie Dupray, Nadia Beugré has founded her own dance company in Montpellier Libr’Arts, a platform for production, touring but also training between France and Ivory Coast. Nadia Beugré has just been awarded the 2023 SACD Prize for New Choreographic Talent.

  • Credits: Olivier Miche and Ruben-Pioline