Bird flu, or la grippe aviaire as it is known in France, is all the rage in Parisian nightclubs. Not the disease, you understand, but the dance, a variation on the popular style coupé-décalé, which originated in the Ivory Coast.
The dance imitates the jerky movements of a dying bird.. Coupé-décalé is also about showing off – some of its founding choreography focuses on adjusting expensive clothes, drinking champagne, smoking cigars and throwing banknotes. Décalé chinois, another branch, incorporates kung fu and is inspired directly by the films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.
Maïmouna Coulibaly, a Paris-born dancer from a Malian family, teaches regular coupé-décalé classes in the chic 4th arrondissement. She also teaches Kudoro, an Angolan dance, which emerged in 1996 but only reached Parisian nightclubs three years ago, probably through the city's Cape Verdian communities who speak Portuguese like their Angolan counterparts. The name is inspired, surprisingly, by Jean Claude Van Damme. It derives from the Portuguese cul duro, literally 'hard ass' – a reflection of the Belgian actor/ martial artist's stiff, muscular gait.
In August Coulibaly is hosting a week-long workshop in Paris. Her classes are popular, she says, as the basic moves are relatively simple and the music a joy.