CNDB AWARDS 2022 x Ramanenjana

  • Performative docufiction
  • In the frame of CNDB Awards 2022

60 min.




Atelier Hall, National Theatre "I.L. Caragiale”




The CNDB Awards Gala is an annual event to recognize those who have contributed and confirmed the value that contemporary dance and choreographic culture have in society. Beyond any hierarchies, the CNDB Awards celebrate dance and the role of art for people and community.

In 2022, the CNDB Awards Gala also offers the audience the opportunity to see the performance RAMANENJANA, a performative docu-fiction about a dance that literally made history. The show is a co-production Romania – Germany – Madagascar, created by Simona Deaconescu (RO) in collaboration with Gaby Saranouffi (MG/SA).


1863. Antananarivo. Thousands of people enter the city dancing in a hallucinatory way to the magnetic music of the drums. They can keep dancing for days without getting tired, in a powerful mental state that is difficult to define, performing impossible acrobatics and tensing their bodies in improvised movements. It is rumored that they have red eyes and that they want to convey the message of a mother to her son through their rigid movements.

In the general agitation, they are labeled sick, possessed, exploited, mad, pathologically empathetic, unnatural. The dancers are called Ramanenjana and go down in history as a group of people who were part of a choreomania, a mysterious mass dance, often called the «dance epidemic». It is unknown exactly how the disease that causes them to dance is transmitted. It is rumored to be contagious due to superstitions, the sound of music, exaggerated sympathy, or even mosquitoes.

Two months later, the «epidemic» comes to an abrupt halt as the political regime changes and European influence on the island diminishes.

1896. France annexes Madagascar. Ramanenjana floods the city again.

The show critically discusses several versions of the same historical event, questioning the role of dance in society. Working closely with ethnomusicologist and musician Olombelo Ricky, the two choreographers and their team of three performers humorously explore rhythm in text, gesture, movement, and sound.

A performative docufiction by: Simona Deaconescu
In collaboration with: Gaby Saranouffi
Performed by: Haja Saranouffi, Simona Dabija, Maria Luiza Dimulescu
Accompanied by the music of: Olombelo Ricky
In costumes designed by: Cristina Milea
Mentored by: Mathilde Monnier


Simona Deaconescu works interdisciplinary, at the border between performance, installation and film, examining social constructs, between fiction and reality, sometimes with irony and black humor.
She completed her bachelor’s and master’s studies at the choreography department of the National University of Theater and Film in Bucharest.
She received the danceWEB scholarship in Vienna (2014), the National Center for Dance Bucharest Award (2016), was nominated as an Aerowaves Artist in 2018 and 2022 and as Springboard Danse Montréal Emerging Choreographer in 2019.
For the last two years, she has been a resident artist in the European projects Moving Digits and Biofrictioni, and in 2021 she became Forecast Mentee, under the mentorship of the French choreographer Mathilde Monnier.
Her works have been selected and presented on dance and theater stages, cinemas, galleries, museums and architectural sites, reaching audiences in Europe, North and South America.
In 2014, she founded Tangaj Collective, and since 2015 she has been the co-founder and artistic director of the Bucharest International Dance Film Festival.

Gaby Saranouffi is a Malagasy born dancer, choreographer, art activist, Founder and Creative Director of the I’ TROTRA International Dance Festival in Madagascar, one of the most recognized dance festival that has run for 19 years in the heart of the Malagasy art landscape. Currently living in South Africa, she has been recently appointed to join the Artistic Committee of one of the most renowned arts festivals in South Africa; the National Arts Festival (NAF) in the Dance Section. Her fight for dance is relentless and she continues to expand her political artistic statement through her works, in the most tackling issues of the Gender Based Violence perpetuated against women.

Produced by
Tangaj Collective Associationin co-production with the National Centre for Dance in Bucharest and Forecast

The CNDB 2022 Awards Gala is an event presented in partnership with the “I.L. Caragiale” National Theatre in Bucharest.

The wine of the CNDB Awards 2022 is offered by Caii de la Letea.

Media partners
Radio Guerilla

Special mentions

Performance presented in English with Romanian surtitles.

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