Mourad Merzouki

Choreographer : Stage Director

A major figure on the hip-hop scene since the early 1990s, choreographer Mourad Merzouki works at the crossroads of many different disciplines : he adds circus, martial arts, fine arts, video and live music to his exploration of hip-hop dance. Without losing sight of the roots of hip-hop movement – of its social and geographical origins – this multidisciplinary approach opens new horizons and reveals original outlooks.

His training took root at the age of 7 in the practice of martial arts and circus arts in Saint-Priest, in eastern Lyon. At 15, his encounter with hip-hop culture led him to the world of dance. He started choreographing and created his first company Accrorap in 1989, with Kader Attou, Eric Mezino and Chaouki Saïd. He developed this movement born in the street while confronting other choreographic languages with Maryse Delente, Jean-François Duroure and Josef Nadj. In 1994, the company presented Athina at the Lyon Dance Biennial, a real success which succeeded in transposing hip-hop dance from the street to the stage. The company’s first international performances took it to uncharted territory, such as a refugee camp in Croatia, where Mourad Merzouki experienced dance as a powerful means of communication.

In 1996 Merzouki decided to establish his own company. Naming it after his inaugural piece, Käfig (which means “cage” in Arabic and German), he set a symbolic tone that paradoxically represents his “openness” and refusal to become locked into a single style. From 1996 to 2006, Merzouki created 14 pieces that explored the world of dance through a multitude of styles.

Starting from January 2006, he designed a new creation and choreographic development centre dedicated to hip-hop dance, where he also implemented the Karavel Festival : Pôle Pik, in Bron, opened its doors in 2009.

Since June 2009, Merzouki is director of the Centre chorégraphique national de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne, where he develops an artistic project that uses “dance as a window on the world”: while creating and performing new works, Merzouki also provides support for independent groups and emerging companies, as well as training and awareness of hip-hop dance, by creating original encounters that promote access to choreographic art. In 2013, he created the Kalypso Festival, offering a new level of exposure to hip-hop dance companies in the Paris region.

In March 2016, Merzouki was appointed artistic advisor for Pôle en Scènes in Bron, where he brought together Pôle Pik, Espace Albert Camus and the Fort, in support of the common goal of training, creating and promoting the performing arts. He has stayed true to his artistic beliefs by creating bridges between disciplines, opening diverse spaces to an ever-wider audience.

Mourad Merzouki is member of the support committee to choreographic art of the French Ministry of Culture (DRAC Île-de-France) and the sponsorship committee for dance of Caisse des Dépôts.