17 — 19.05.2024

Idio Chichava Maputo



Le 140

Please confirm your attendance with a wheelchair during online reservation or through box officeAccessible for wheelchair users | ⧖ 1h10 | €21 / €17

Thirteen performers dance and sing their hearts out, as if in ecstasy. They move as one global body through scenes reminiscent of street life, at times evoking a procession. Periodically, one will escape the dance only to be lovingly reunited with the group. They sing traditional and contemporary Mozambican songs, gospel and baroque motifs. Choreographer Idio Chichava found inspiration in the migratory movements of groups of people and the dance rituals of the Makonde people living in Mozambique and neighbouring countries. He believes only bodies that dance and sing simultaneously express themselves fully and exist in synergy with others. Vagabundus depicts life as a constant coming together and being together in a group, and migration as a possibly emotional, spiritual and collective journey. Chichava explores the expressiveness of the body and points the way to our true selves celebrating life with a pared-down stage design carried entirely by the explosive impact of dance and voices. This dazzling dance production invites us to recognise that our identity is strengthened by the community, through an overwhelming group performance showcasing song and dance as a means of resistance and a ritual of survival.

read more


I went to see Vagabundus completely unarmed, without any prior information or preparation, not having read the script or anything like that, a habit I keep to defend myself against the influence of the author or the critics. Depending on the motivation or mood, I choose my company: either my head or my heart. Sometimes, and without meaning to, one of them supplants the other and takes me by storm. This time it wasn’t my choice and I didn’t even have time to make it. As soon as the door opened, I suddenly felt as if I were possessed by the demons of undisciplined discernment. When this moment arrives, it won’t let me go, blocking my ability to use my head or balancing mind, which, when it works, sometimes creates disturbances that don’t allow me to enjoy the moment and enjoy the inexplicable feelings of the moment, because when emotions are strong, they break all the codes that guide and control my senses of reason and necessary discernment.

While I was still trying to settle into the front-row seat, so that I could hear the dancers’ breathing and look right into their eyes, I saw strange figures, wrapped in rotten cloths, mingling with fine, clean and well-scented people, all gazing like me at the no man’s land and, to my surprise, I heard humming that reminded me of the songs of yesteryear, as my friend JP used to say, the Soul Man or the Blues Man of the “Monsters”, carrying the utilitarian objects or swidjumbas that always accompany the Molwenes in their wandering for their use and comfort on their adventurous expedition to the supposed no man’s land; after all, when it doesn’t belong to anyone, it could belong to everyone. Were these the vagabonds? The mind was still struggling to understand what the heart was receiving with such gratitude, because it had already found its own space and time to live out its emotional freedom without the rule-keeper and commander of the dictatorship of my miserable daily life.

Bodies moving in a jumble, traveling sometimes in a seemingly known world from the Makonde Plateau to the South African Zulos and sometimes where, suddenly, everything was deconstructed, creating strange, wonderful and hallucinating images. I was excited by their songs, which took me back to paradise as well as hell; they seemed to be familiar and strange environments at the same time. The chants of the Xibalo and the conversion temples of the rebellious Molwenes seeking promises that their ancestral Xikwembus denied them. Their possessed bodies, rolling around, writhing, throwing themselves to the ground, raping themselves, in a manifest test of endurance like African reincarnation magic. These were men and women seeking the same thing as me, cowering in my chair pretending to be a spectator. I was spellbound by the atmosphere of the light and the wandering silhouettes, the sounds coming from the ground that hides the gods of ancestry, the voices echoing melodies coming out of the baked throats and the chants interpreted in extremis of human capacities due to the energetic movements of the bodies that under normal circumstances would prevent breathing capable of allowing vocal emission. But the songs were united to the bodies in such a way that there was no separation or subordination of one by the other. Such a feat would only be possible in bodies possessed by “demons” or by such African magic. The rectangular space, a tiny platform just to create an illusion, looked like an entire planet where those who appeared to be Molwenes walked their class, telling various stories of dreams and reality, metamorphosing into the incarnation of their dreams. In the harsh space that denied them, they were transformed by their ability to take in the different suns and moons, smells and tastes of each ground they walked on.

The wandering march continued unabated until I woke up as if from a dream. My head was back at the controls, taking control of me and exercising its dictatorship (with a view to) always appealing to reason, hurting my whorish heart that gets carried away by unbridled emotions when it has the chance to enjoy its forced or consented respite, offending the author by associating him with his daydreams about things the author doesn’t know about. For this reason, nothing that has been said here should be public knowledge, as it would be a dishonour to both of them, including the author’s friend and admirer, the theatrical artist or theatrical designer, as they wish, the choreographer, the thinker and other good and bad attributes that they attribute to him, depending on the “tide” of the Indian Ocean. Angry and ashamed as I am, I can’t even relate these tales of crazy dreams that my undisciplined heart wanted to attribute to the young Idio Chichava, through the fault of the person who commissioned a critical and technical analysis of the work. All I can do is put up with and accept the heart’s demands for its freedom, which gives me a lot of joy, peace and infinite light in return.

  • David Abílio, February 2024

David Abílio, is the former Director of Companhia Nacional de Canto e Dança (CNCD) This text was published on March 3rd 2024 in the mozambican newspaper domingo.

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Le 140
Company: Converge + | Concept and choreography: Idio Chichava | Assistant and rehearsal director: Osvaldo Passirivo | Performers: Açucena Chemane, Arminda Zunguza, Calton Muholove, Cristina Matola, Fernando Machaieie, Judite Novela, Mauro Sigauque, Martins Tuvanji, Nilégio Cossa, Osvaldo Passirivo, Patrick Manuel Sitoe, Stela Matsombe, Vasco Sitoe | Lights: Phayra Baloi | Tour manager: Silvana Pombal
Production: Yodine Produções | Coproduction: Companhia Nacional de Canto e Dança (CNCD), KINANI - Plataforma Internacional de Dança Contemporânea, One Dance Week

website by lvh