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Review: Wakatt

The opening of “Wakatt” casts the stage in a radiant glow as a half sun fills its horizon. Is it setting or rising? Does it matter? The arresting sight offers a glimpse of warmth, a sense of hope. That ends fairly quickly as dancers, frozen in silhouette, appear and disappear in a series of blackouts. Was one anonymous figure wearing a padded vest with a suspicious red light? As “Wakatt” becomes increasingly volatile, the idea that this figure might be a suicide bomber makes more and more sense. Despite moments of euphoria, “Wakatt,” choreographed by Serge Aimé Coulibaly and performed by his Belgium-based Faso Danse Théâtre, sticks to the dark side. In the Mooré language of Burkina Faso, the title translates to “our time,” which, for Coulibaly, has become a culture of fear. “Wakatt” is not only a dance, it’s a state of being. As Coulibaly, who was born and raised in Burkina Faso and has lived in Brussels for more than 20 years, writes in a program note, “we live in a time of fear in which the ‘other’ is synonymous with ‘threat’” and that “paranoia, the constant identification of supposed enemies and the terror that goes with it, set a self-destructive machine in motion.”

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