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  • Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

This article looks at three generations of choreographic performers in urban Senegal to examine the creative ways in which people develop their bodily skills, not only for the pleasure of innovation, but also to ‘make their way into the world’. In so doing, they produce new social spaces and engage with a multiplicity of existing ones. I suggest that this multiple engagement characterizes contemporary urban Africa, where social mobility is conceived of as multiplying the possibilities of building a decent life in spite of economic hardship. In West Africa, this is in continuity with a long history of social mobility achieved through travel and the acquisition of new skills. Through a multiple engagement with different genres, performers also experiment with new ways of producing choreographic work. At every juncture, the social spaces thus produced either intensify or reduce the connections with global spaces already laid out by previous generations.

Cet article s'appuie sur les trajectoires de trois générations d'artistes chorégraphiques en milieu urbain sénégalais pour examiner les stratégies créatives par le biais desquelles les jeunes développent leurs compétences corporelles. Ces stratégies sont mises en œuvre, non seulement pour le plaisir de l'innovation, mais aussi se ‘frayer un chemin vers le monde’. Ces artistes produisent alors de nouveaux espaces sociaux, tout en se branchant sur de multiples espaces existants. Cet article suggère que ce type d'engagement multiple est caractéristique de l'Afrique urbaine contemporaine, où la mobilité sociale se conçoit en termes d'une multiplication des opportunités en dépit des difficultés économiques. En Afrique de l'Ouest, ce type de stratégie représente une continuité avec une longue histoire de mobilité sociale réalisée par le voyage et l'acquisition de nouvelles compétences. D'autre part, à travers leur engagement avec un large répertoire de genres, les danseurs expérimentent avec de nouveaux modes de production chorégraphique. A chaque période charnière, les espaces sociaux ainsi produits intensifient ou réduisent les connexions avec des espaces mondiaux déjà établies par les générations précédentes.

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