Choreographer Simona Deaconescu and her mentor Mathilde Monnier got together in Bucharest in late March to finetune the performance Ramanenjana, which explores the 1863 “dance epidemic“ in Madagascar. Before meeting in Bucharest, Deaconescu and her dancers spent a nearly month-long work-stay in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
There, in addition to rehearsing the performance and presenting a work in progress to a Malagasy audience, Deaconescu also delved deeper into additional research. She interviewed artists, historians, and ethnomusicologists, including Ray Amandreny Benoit Randrianasolo and Olombelo Ricky, on the origins and meaning of Ramanenjana, historically and in today’s cultural tradition.
The performance Ramanenjana, developed in collaboration with Malagasy choreographer and activist Gaby Saranouffi, melds historical and contemporary testimonies and embodied gestures, overlaying Western and local narratives to address biased history-telling.