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Review: Afrique en Cirque at Factory International is ”full of death defying acrobatics and jaw dropping performances’

Step into the vibrant world of Afrique en Cirque at Factory International, where the pulsating rhythms of West African music meet death-defying acrobatics, creating an immersive celebration of Guinean culture.

After an incredible set of opening shows, from Yayoi Kusama’s psychedelic polka dot wonderland to the mind-blowing dance moves of Free Your Mind, Aviva has been having a pretty incredible run of it so far.

So heading down to their latest installation, as part of a series of events called The Welcome, you had to wonder, what was next?

And again, punters were not disappointed, treated to another electrifying performance.

Step into the incredible world of Afrique en Cirque, where the heart-pounding rhythms of West African music meet the breathtaking spectacle of acrobatics.

Inspired by daily life in Guinea, this performance shares the beauty, youth and artistry of African culture

A colourful show beyond its scenery, costumes and staging, will make any theatre vibrate with energy and the crowd was certainly up for it, getting into the spirit of things with dancing, singing and more.

Founded by the dynamic Yamoussa Bangoura, Kalabanté Productions are delivering a four-night extravaganza.

Afrique en Cirque

From the moment the first drum beats resonated through Aviva Studios, Afrique en Cirque transported attendees to the heart of Guinea.

The risk and intensity were palpable as acrobats, clad in beautiful costumes, seamlessly combined tumbling, juggling, singing, and dancing into an 80-minute spectacle that left the audience breathless.

The unexpected thrill of Magic Mike-style grinding with yellow workman’s helmets added a delightful touch of humour to the performance.

The colourful costumes and daring acrobatics are complemented by live Afrojazz and traditional West African instruments, creating an immersive experience.

Death Defying Acrobatics

The acrobatic prowess displayed by the six men and two women of Kalabanté Productions was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Afrique en Cirque brought forth a raw and intense energy.

The daring feats performed without safety ropes underscored the troupe’s commitment to delivering an authentic, heart-pounding spectacle.

One of the performer’s dislocation of his joints and movement provokes shrieks of delight from the audience, and really has to be seen to be believed.

Transported to a traditional African village, the stage became a canvas depicting a vivid contrast to the bustling life of Manchester.

The tranquility was disrupted by the primal pulse of a beating drum, heralding the entrance of contortionists and acrobats who moved in perfect unison, captivating the audience with their collective prowess.

The show effortlessly wove in cultural heritage, with sharp cries in the Kpelle language serving as a constant reminder of the roots and traditions that formed the heartbeat of the performance.

Yamoussa in the Hoop

Yamoussa Bangoura, the show’s lead, stepped into a simple hoop, transforming it into a mesmerising dance that unfolded with unparalleled elegance, perfectly synchronised with the melodic notes of a skilfully executed piano.

A seemingly ordinary fishing scene in the familiar village setting turned extraordinary, unveiling a mesmerising display of contortionist artistry by Mohamed Ben Sylla.

Gasps of shock and disbelief filled the room as he defied the laws of physics, leaving the audience unable to look away from the irresistible allure of the spectacle.

The grand finale saw the entire cast reunite for a breathtaking human pyramid, with an unexpected twist that defied gravity.

The removal of two cast members from the bottom of the structure led to a mesmerising and electric configuration, leaving the captivated onlookers in a state of shock and awe.

Another Banger from Factory

It was another astounding night at the world renowned venue, blending traditional circus elements with the pulsating energy of West African culture.

Afrique en Cirque, curated as part of The Welcome series, not only showcased the best in circus arts but also demonstrated the power of storytelling through dynamic performances.

Don’t miss the chance to catch Kalabanté Productions before they disappear, leaving behind memories of a truly exceptional cultural and circus experience.

You can get your tickets by clicking here

This performance was part of Factory International’s ‘ The Welcome’.

Programmed over two years by a cross-section of Greater Manchester residents, The Welcome (11-19 Nov) is an invitation from local people to celebrate the new cultural space opening in the heart of their city.

From a reflective group performance inspired by Tai chi and Qigong to a full-day Mancunian street-culture takeover of rap battles, workshops and skateboarding demonstrations, The Welcome offers an array of opportunities for local people to come together, take part, and explore different parts of the building.

You can find out more here

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