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La Sape

"A cult, the deity of style and fashion. Adherents of La Sape have a style unlike any other. The clothes may look familiar, but the way they wear them isn't. The sapeur style and relationship to clothes is completely unique. It is a throwback to a world of pre-colonial elegance and decadence."

Tamagani et al., (Gentlemen of Bacongo, 2009)

Photo: Alan Vaughn, GDIF (2020)


An Expression of




Inspired by the gentlemen of the Congo, Dandyism is my first creative work realised in 2018. The appropriation of the 18th Century French and English Dandy’s flamboyance was embodied by African men as a defence and a provocation against slavery, described by some as a resistance movement. By the 1960’s, African Dandyism had become a subculture phenomenon, and began gaining recognition worldwide.


This dance theatre piece embodies the raw and unrefined energy through rich, ostentatious costumes and expressive movement as a way to convey the dynamism of dances originating in various places across Africa. 


My intention behind the work is to celebrate life and cool as well as address the nuances concerning humanity such as gender and identity in an attempt to challenge stereotypes.


Dandyism is a testament of what was once regarded as 'Master's style' being reclaimed as a cultural resilience through interweaving a western sartorial elegance with African self expression. 

Photo: Roswitha Chesher, GDIF (2021)
Photo: Roswitha Chesher, GDIF (2021)
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The Guardian review, Sunday 29th August 2021


"....... with snazzy costumes, Patrick Ziza’s Dandyism presents the style of Congolese Sapeurs, outrageously well-dressed men (and women), often defying their circumstances in dandyish fashions, sharp suits, hats and canes and a riot of colour. There’s a deeply political subtext to the subculture (which emerged under colonial rule) and Ziza’s infectiously energetic quartet show a dance of personality, identity, pride and playfulness, with high-stepping footwork, gentlemanly gestures and a lot of fun and funk."

Kate Green (DX Smithfield, 2022)
Dandyism Performances | Patrick Ziza
Dandyism Audience Feedback Sunderland
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Helen Green 
Director Performing Arts & Programme Director, Sunderland Culture

Dandyism was both a visual and choreographic treat that brought something really different to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens as part of Black History Month.  The performance was high quality and engaged an extremely varied half term audience with many children fascinated by the dance and the costumes.  

Stella Hall
Artistic Director, Festival of Thrift Redcar

This is a note to thank you for your fabulous contribution to Festival of Thrift’s success this year. The show was really tight, professional, and managed to be both exuberant and joyful – and deeply moving. The audience feedback we’ve had for Dandyism has been amazing  with huge numbers saying it was their favourite thing in the Festival.

Kate Craddock 
Gateshead International Festival of Theatre

Dandyism was such a vibrant and unexpected encounter, operating on lots of levels. It was both powerfully political and yet totally accessible and uplifting. It was wonderful seeing how the audiences around me were transfixed and how playful the performers were in their interactions. Locating the work in multiple public settings in Sunderland was really exciting, and ensured the piece reached audiences who might not have otherwise encountered this work.

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