Urban and contemporary dance meld with capoeira and martial arts in this UAE premier in Abu Dhabi


The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi presents What The Day Owes To The Night.

Dance has been at the very centre of the body of work in The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Season 8 programme.

And now in a UAE premier, The Art Center presents What The Day Owes To The Night (Ce Que Le Jour Doit A La Nuit) by Cie Hervé Koubi, which takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, 26-27 October at 7.30pm in The Red Theater.

The UAE premiere will be presented with the support of Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels.

What The Day Owes To The Night features a highly physical, stunningly fluid, gravity-defying piece that combines capoeira, martial arts, urban, and contemporary dance with powerful imagery evocative of orientalist paintings and the stone filigree of Islamic architecture.



Through its mystical, enchanting, and hypnotic choreography, choreographer Hervé Koubi retraces his own history by relating it to the story of a young boy from a novel by Yasmina Khadra.

Executive Artistic Director at The Arts Center at NYUAD Bill Bragin said: “Hervé Koubi is a key figure in a circle of leading French choreographers.

“His work pushes the boundaries of contemporary and urban dance, and explores meaningful themes, in this case of family history, migration and identity, with the highest level of artistry.

“It is thrilling to present this show after more than two and a half years of planning and re-planning due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“And it’s even more thrilling that the popular response has been so strong that we added a second public show. We are certain the performances will leave a powerful mark on our audiences.”



On Monday, 24 October at 6.30pm, The Arts Center also hosts an Urban & Contemporary Dance Workshop, presented with the support of Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels.

Guillaume Gabriel, co-founder of Compagnie Hervé Koubi, leads participants through some of the fundamental principles of urban and contemporary dance, together with an excerpt from Koubi’s own world-renowned choreographic work.

What The Day Owes To The Night navigates a diasporic identity that shifts between Arab and European orientations, reflecting Koubi’s Algerian heritage, as well as his upbringing in France.

In line with the season’s theme, Stories, the piece draws from Koubi’s own story of self-discovery and family history, as he traveled as an adult to discover his Algerian roots more deeply.

The Arts Center has a long commitment to contemporary dance and has seen a tremendous response to work by artists of the Arab diaspora, such as Badke, Compagnie Käafig, and Mourad Merzouki and Kader Attou, as well as the forthcoming residency by Yaa Samar Dance Theatre.

For more information and tickets, go to nyuad-artscenter.org

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Image source NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

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