Princess Madoki, the freedom of waacker

” THE waacking, it’s a way of creating a character, of telling stories, of reinventing oneself. When it comes time to dance, you’re a princess. » And this is how the dancer and choreographer Josépha Madoki became “Princess” Madoki. A title of nobility that she wears with all smiles and grace to praise this dance of liberation whose merits she continues to add. “I found myself as a woman and an artist thanks to waacking, she specifies. It highlights femininity, regardless of the person’s gender. »

This amplified version of herself, Josépha Madoki, 42, who presents her show DISCO (Don’t Initiate Social Contact with Others), as well as a battle of waacking from April 26 to 28 at the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, owes it to a shock. In 2005, the one who had already accumulated varied learning since the age of 10, including jazz, hip-hop and classical, took part in the renowned battle “Juste Debout” in Paris. One of the judges of the competition, the Japanese champion Yoshie Koda, does a demo in which she introduces movements of waacking. “I was blown away by his arm work, she remembers. I really wondered how she did it. That was the beginning of my love for this style. »

But where does this come from? waacking ? It emerged in the 1970s, in the heart of Los Angeles nightclubs where the Afro-Latino gay community took refuge. “They had found a safe space to express themselves, says Josépha Madoki. They created this glamorous dance inspired by Hollywood cinema and its stars like Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe, but also cartoons and martial arts that these men, most of them very young, appreciated. »

“I danced my life that evening”

On disco hits, the movement flies away thanks to the tremendous velocity of the arms. “It is, among other things, the use of the nunchaku which inspired these gestures, she continues. Nothing comes out of nowhere. » As for the word wack, it covers two things: an onomatopoeia from the comics representing a blow, and a slang term meaning “you fear”. These two influences, and particularly the second, gave the movement its name. “It was an insult against the gay community, which turned the term around by making it positive. »

If AIDS decimates waackers Americans in the 1980s, the dance nevertheless returned two decades later. “The survivors no longer had a place to go, nor the desire to dance,” she adds. Fortunately, some, like historical figure Tyrone Proctor (1953-2020), continue to pass it on. In 2014, Josépha Madoki went to meet him in Los Angeles and took his classes. “I talked a lot with him because this culture is preserved orally. »

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