I wish it was normal to dance and make music on the streets
Joffrey Anane might celebrate by dancing, but he is not only a dancer. He’s a multi-disciplinary artist and cultural worker, currently collaborating on an intimidating number of creative projects across Belgium and beyond. Soon he’ll be dancing in his hometown for Take It To The Streets, Dear Antwerp.
Hi Joffrey, tell us about what you do?
I’m a dancer, choreographer, actor and musician - a rapper, actually. I don’t want to define myself by one thing, but people always want to use labels. For some people, I’m a TikTokker, for other people I’m a dancer, or I’m a choreographer.
We live in a time where it’s possible to be multidisciplinary. It’s more accepted. I was already rapping before I was dancing, but dancing was where I first found success.
We live in a time where it’s possible to be multidisciplinary
Can you tell me about Take It To The Streets?
For De Singel I’m doing a performance with Rabbadance, a really good friend of mine. He also organises Afroblood, an event about Africanism. It’s a mixture of dance performance and music. We dance a lot together. We celebrate our friendship and love of dancing in Take It To The Streets.
And the name of the show, what does it mean to you?
Since the Black Lives Matter movements and everything that happened in the media last year, our cultures and subcultures are getting more celebrated in the media. We have been given a platform. It’s a bit tricky to think about because sometimes it can feel like a gesture to be politically correct. On the other hand, we are finally here. Take It To The Streets sounds more like us.
We are finally here. Our cultures and subcultures are getting more celebrated in the media
I met Rabba on the streets, where I saw him recording a video. I don’t see that a lot in Antwerp, so it was really nice. I told him ‘keep doing what you do.’ That’s how our friendship started. Take It To The Streets is really a celebration for us, a collaboration combining house dance, hip hop, afrobeat and afro-dance.
How do you feel about Antwerp?
I was born and raised in Antwerp. I love Flanders, but I wish it was more normalised for people to dance and make music on the streets. That’s a thing that has to change. We need artists doing their thing, so people can watch and enjoy without the police trying to stop it. We need our culture. Still, I really like Antwerp. It’s a city, but it's also a village. You can support and visit people easily; it’s cosy.
What else are you working on?
I’m working on several projects. There’s Afro Belg, which I started during quarantine. I made jokes about how some white people are surprised that we can speak Flemish. I made sketches in the local dialect, which not a lot of black people speak. Thanks to Arenberg, Untold Stories and Rondini, we’re going to premiere the web series on 2 October in Arenberg, Antwerp. It was a joke, but now it's a whole production.
I’m also part of Osei Bantu, an art collective with friends, theatre-makers, DJs, choreographers and dancers. Plus, I’m organising a big dance battle in Mons in collaboration with Denis Inghelbert and Wellfit Expo and I’m performing soon in Rotterdam with Granvat in Come On Feet, a theatre piece about footwork. All these things need preparation and rehearsals. I guess everybody’s busy now, with new rules and new work. Artists need to be flexible, especially now.
Artists need to be flexible, especially now
Just keep on dancing, I guess?
Thank you. I will until my body says ‘enough.’