Compagnie KÄFIG

Mourad Merzouki

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.

Beginning at the age of 7, Merzouki trained in the circus school of Saint-Priest, in Lyon’s eastern suburbs, while also practicing martial arts. At age 15, inspired by hip-hop culture, he gravitated towards dance. From there, Merzouki began working on his own choreography; he soon created his first dance company, Accrorap, in 1989, with Kader Attou, Eric Mezino and Chaouki Saïd. With this group, Merzouki continued to develop his unique brand of hip-hop movement while simultaneously exploring other dance genres with contemporaries Maryse Delente, Jean-François Duroure and Josef Nadj.

Accrorap performed Athina during the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon in 1994 and earned acclaim for bringing hip-hop from the street to the stage, enabling the troupe to perform internationally. It was during a performance at a refugee camp in Croatia that Merzouki saw the power of dance to communicate and express emotion.

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.

He appears in the famous Who’s Who book and was recently included in the dictionary Petit Larousse Illustré 2019.


October 2, 2021 Artistic codirector of the event Nuit Blanche 2021 with Sandrina Martins, Nominated by Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris.

December 18, 2020 Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters, promoted by Roselyne Bachelot, minister of Culture.

February 16, 2020 Sharjah Light Festival Artistic Award, Dubaï.

January 13, 2020 Medal of the City of Créteil.

January 15, 2019 2018 Best international dance performance Award for Pixel, by Circulo de Críticos de Artes in Chile.

April 29, 2014 Author of the 32nd International Dance Day message, under the aegis of UNESCO, after Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Akram Khan, William Forsythe, Maurice Béjart…

February 15, 2013 Medal of Honour from the City of Lyon.

July 14, 2012 Knight of the Legion of Honour, appointed by François Lamy, minister for Urban Affairs.

July 5, 2011 Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters, promoted by Frédéric Mitterrand, minister of Culture.

June, 2009 Director of the Centre chorégraphique national de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne.

February 19, 2008 2008 Award Designers without Borders, acknowledging Merzouki’s impact on the international arts scene, presented by Bernard Kouchner, minister of Foreign and European Affairs.

December 4, 2006 Lumières de la Culture Award in the Dance category, presented by the newspaper Le Progrès and Tele Lyon Métropole, at an event rewarding Lyon’s cultural stakeholders.

June 12, 2006 Choreographic New Talent Award, assigned by the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques, alongside Gad Elmaleh, Julie Ferrier, Radu Miahaileanu, José Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu.

July 14, 2004 Knight of Arts and Letters, appointed by Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, minister of Culture.

May 30, 2004 Prize for Best Young Choreographer at the International Dance Festival in Wolfsburg, Germany, alongside Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Tero Saarinen and Maurice Béjart.

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  • Mourad Merzouki, dance alchemist
    Hip-hop dance would never have reached the great international stages without Mourad Merzouki. A recognised choreographer, his shows are now touring worldwide, with more than 2800 performances in 58 countries. The film offers an immersion into the heart of his creation: Vertikal. How dancer do defy gravity and create a visual vertigo.
    لم يكن رقص الهيب هوب ليبلغ أرقى خشبات المسارح العالميّة لولا مراد مرزوقي، مصمّم الرقص الشهير الذي تجول عروضه اليوم العالم كلّه، مسجّلةً 2800 عرض في 58 بلدًا. يقدّم هذا الفيلم فرصة نادرة للغوص في أعماق عرضه "فِرتيكال"، فيظهر كيف أنّ الراقص يتحدّى الجاذبية بالفعل ويولّد دُوارًا بصريًّا على خشبة المسرح.