Smaïl Kanouté
Never Twenty One

US Premiere

Wednesday, September 27, 2023
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

A work that walks side by side with death has never felt so vital and alive.
— Karina Buckley, SpringBack Magazine

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement’s #Never21 hashtag, French-Malian choreographer and dancer Smaïl Kanouté’s deeply resonant piece—making its U.S. premiere—pays tribute to young people of color who have lost their lives to gun violence all over the world before reaching the age of 21. The performance, separated into three segments, focuses on the senseless deaths of young Black youth in New York, Johannesburg, and Rio de Janeiro.

Excerpts of powerful testimonies from victims’ family members are transcribed on the dancers’ bodies, combining dance and visual art. The dancers’ intense movement draws on contemporary and intuitive dance, krump, popping, and baile funk in recounting the stories of many broken lives.

Choreographed by Smaïl Kanouté
Performed by Smaïl Kanouté, Aston Bonaparte, and Salomon Mpondo-Dicka

Co-presented with New York Live Arts and Villa Albertine, as part of the Albertine Dance Season

Approx. 60min

Smaïl Kanouté

Smaïl Kanouté is a French-Malian multifaceted artist based in Paris. A “choreo-graphist,” as he calls himself, he is a graphic and silkscreen designer, a visual artist, and a professional dancer.

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    • His numerous collaborations in fashion, design, video and performing arts reflect his prolific creativity. With Company Vivons!—founded in 2016—Kanouté develops performance projects, more personal choreographic artworks, dance-videos, and short films. His current works investigate the impact of colonialism and the persistence of ancestral rites as asserting identity, in the light of the Afro-futurist movement.