Yves received a production grant for his show Voix Intérieures.
What is your artistic background?
I was born in Kisangani in 1988, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (which was Zaire at the time). I learnt hip hop dance at a very young age in a self-taught way. I was 13 years-old, the town was then isolated because of the rebellions that affected the Eastern Province, Kisangani in particular, between 1997 and 2003. Everything was blocked, but the young people made music and danced, a wave of hip-hop invaded the town. That's what made me stand up, but also to stand up to my father. He was dreaming of a more serious career for his son, as it seemed ridiculous in my chosen milieu, because, in the Congo, if finding food is the first challenge, then what is the point of dancing? For me however, it's a necessity. My meeting with choreographer Faustin Linyekula was decisive in 2007. Within his company Les Studios Kabako, I trained in contemporary dance, improvisation and directing with choreographers from all over the world such as Thomas Steyaert, Hafiz Dhaou, Ula Sickle, Boyzie Cekwana, Sylvain Prunenec... Contemporary dance has enabled me to structure myself, to work on dramaturgy and stage space. By integrating this new technique, I have multiplied my expertise. In 2011, I went to Dakar to undertake Keith Hennessy and Andrea Ouamba's improvisation workshops. In 2012, I showed my solo Juste Moiat the Connexion Kin festival in Kinshasa. In 2013, I was part of the team of Drums and Digging, by Faustin Linyekula. The show was performed in the Celestine Cloister in Avignon and at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, followed by a European tour that lasted two years. Since I moved to France in 2015, I have multiplied my collaborations with the KMK company during the 2016 edition of Nuit Blanche, as well as the Kivuko company and the Belladone collective for the realisation of educational and cultural actions. I was also involved with the Ballets du Nord Pas de Calais, the young audience show Dadaaa, and the S-vrai company. I regularly returned to the Congo to take part in festivals and to lead workshops. The Ateliers Médicis were a decisive meeting in my career. They accompanied me during the first edition of Création en Cours, where I started writing Voix intérieures. Two years later, I was a winner of FoRTE, the Île-de-France region's aid for emerging artists, and we launched the production of Voix Intérieures(Manifeste)with the Ateliers Médicis and the great Gardon Blanc. Voix Intérieures (Manifeste), which I completed in Reims in November, is my first choreographic piece. It questions the situation of censorship in my country and throughout the world. Built around a trio that brings me together with activist Rebecca Kabuo and musician Pytshens Kambilo, the piece restores, through the poetic language of Fiston Mwanza Mujila, author of the text and playwright, these thousands of voices that bubble without being able to express themselves, these many dreams smothered by brutality. The play opens with the voice of the activist Luc Nkulula who explains the battle of the citizens' movements for fundamental rights: access to water, access to electricity, education... I narrate the disastrous political context, I also narrate who we are, our names and our bodies. The choreography, which mixes Krump and contemporary dance, is a tribute to those who stand up. Our three Congolese voices also carry the demands of the whole world, or so I hope.
How do you see your profession today?
My profession is essential. With dance, I share my emotions, I tell stories and I try to make people dream. It's a space for dialogue where several disciplines intertwine, it's a space in movement where creation is constantly renewed. But it is a precarious sector, like the cultural sector in general. In my country, Congo, there is no aid for culture. In France, culture holds an important place, but I have the impression that there are hierarchies, between dance and theatre for example, and sometimes between dance worlds. This makes me think, I like crossovers and bridges. As artists, we are made to go from one bank to the other.
How do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?
I hope to still be on stage and create shows, to continue to nourish this desire to create and tell stories. I also hope to multiply collaborations with other artists who are close to my heart, such as choreographer Akram Khan or Lia Rodriguez, the author Léonora Miano, whose essays and novels I enjoy. There is a lot of work to be done to pass things on... And if I stop dancing... no, that won't happen any time soon!
This interview was conducted in 2020
Photography credit: Julia Grandperret