Seduced by the beauty of the Arabic-speaking populations and countries of North Africa and the Middle East, to where he regularly travels, Thierry Smits created this piece in order to pay tribute to them at a time they were being stigmatised as a result of reaction to the attacks of 11 September 2001.
He selected eight dancers in order to try to reproduce through them the voluptuousness, friendship, and sense of complicity he encounters in the male environments of these sun-drenched lands, which he remembers with wonder and emotion. He delivers a vision, at once sensual, joyful and highly personal, which does not demean itself through Arab-style like stereotypes, but rather suggests the vitality, tumult and trepidation of contemporary urban worlds. From this perspective, the music laden with oriental undertones, pierced by electronic sounds, renders the effervescence of these cities.
Smits brought back from Egypt elements that structure the scenography and punctuate this radiant performance’s three times-spaces: large feather fans for the first scene which evoke, in an atmosphere of half-light and languor, the hammams, the voluptuousness, the caresses, the massages and the flabellations; bales of raw cotton scattered across the stage form an undulating, warm and silky sea that allude to desert sand in the second scene, and finally a vast calico covered with inscriptions reminiscent of calligraphy in order to complete the presentation with a swirling and festive performance of great virtuosity.