|photo by Alice Defour-Feronce|
“I made a decision,” states Benali. “I had to dance and that meant I had to fight.” This determination, coming from within a culture where women do not dance publicly, took her south to sub-Saharan Africa, rather than the more typical path to France and Europe, for inspiration on how to become a contemporary dancer. Using her African experiences as a springboard, she has taken modern dance to public spaces in Morocco—historic sites, city parks, and theaters – and abroad.
Whether in solos for herself or in works created with others including non-dance members of the community, Benali takes life’s everyday texture and transforms it. She chases the inaccessible – a creative space that both honors and challenges society’s paradigms.
Benali’s works include HER OTHER SIDE (2012), a piece made and performed in collaboration with Esther Baker (Ohio State, Highways Performance Space, etc.). In 2010 and 2011, she created with Thabiso Pule the duets MIRAGE and EXPO (Dance Umbrella in South Africa, French Institute of Dakar, French Institute of Meknes, Oujda and Rabat, Cultural Center of Nador, Festival Action Danse in Oujda). VOI (2006) was performed in collaboration with non-dancers in local communities (French institutes of Morocco, jeux de la Francophonie in Lebanon, Le Lavoir Moderne de Paris). In 2003 Benali created the piece SEG SEGBO with Auguste Ouedraogo from Burkina Faso (danced in Dialogue de Corps in Burkina Faso, French institute of Bamako, Bobo Dioulasso, Zinder, Niamey, Casablanca, Marrakech, Abok I Ngoma in Cameroun, Printemps de la Danse of Tunisia).