“Trace follows the trail of my childhood. I was orphaned young, and we children came to our grandmother. There was war, drought, sickness and corruption where we were born and grew up. My childhood was one long struggle. I sold cigarettes and alcohol day and night. I gave the money to my grandmother to support the family. I only saw the school from outside. Anything I’ve learned, life taught me, and it wasn’t a sheltered childhood. I was fascinated by the army, but my grandmother would have none of it. I was disappointed, because in the army you could get rich and no one could touch you. In my neighbourhood it’s busy all night. There are lots of bars and prostitutes from different African countries, Chadian soldiers and French Legionnaires.
This piece is about my story and that of other children in Chad, in Africa, and also in other countries – I’m thinking about the children from the favelas in Brazil or elsewhere. Everything can go on stage. The historical events, the phases of life burned into my body in the long wakeful nights on the street, the darkness in my mind, the lack of perspective, the endless emotional torment.”
Jamal Noudjingar Theodore sees Trace as a kind of campaign taking his message into different communities through art. The piece merges contemporary and traditional African dance, hip hop and Western techniques.
Choreography and Performance: Jamal Noudjingar Theodore