Compagnie Hervé KOUBI Brings Spellbinding Contemporary Dance to the Royal Theatre!

Compagnie Hervé KOUBI in Barbarian Nights. Photo: Frédérique Calloch
Compagnie Hervé KOUBI in Barbarian Nights. Photo: Frédérique Calloch

Dance Victoria brings “a touch of theatrical magic” (The New York Times) to the Royal Theatre with Compagnie Hervé KOUBI (France/Algeria) in The Barbarian Nights (or The First Dawns of the World) on February 2 and 3, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.

The Barbarian Nights is the sequel of Compagnie Hervé KOUBI’s seminal work, What the Day Owes to the Night, which astounded Dance Victoria audiences as a virtual presentation during the pandemic. The company’s long-awaited Royal Theatre debut showcases thirteen male street dancers from Algeria, Morocco, France, and Burkina Faso. Dressed in Swarovski crystal-inspired headgear, dancers whirl around the stage in outbursts of cartwheels, somersaults, back flips and head spins against a musical backdrop of Mozart, Fauré and traditional Algerian melodies.

The Barbarian Nights takes a sensitive look at the history of the Mediterranean basin, where the mixture of cultures, religions and the sacred reveals the foundations of a common geography on which, according to artistic director and choreographer Hervé Koubi, “we are standing too often without knowing.” Koubi’s interest in one’s origins is personal. When he was 25, his father broke the news that Hervé and his mother were not native French, but Algerian, a designation that for more than a century equated to being a second-class citizen in France. The Barbarian Nights investigates ancestral fear of strangers and the innate desire to resist people who are different. Koubi explains, “I use dance to develop the relationship we have with the unknown, with the so-called Barbarians. What I seek is not a rehabilitation of history towards these peoples, but to bring a more sensitive light, filled with humanity.”

On a quest to assemble the perfect cast of dancers, Koubi traveled to North Africa and auditioned more than 250 people for his company, ultimately selecting 13 men with street dance backgrounds mostly in hip-hop and specialized acrobatics. Mixing their dance skills with his contemporary style, Koubi creates a one-of-a-kind, ritualistic performance that explodes with athleticism, verve, and irresistible, raw force. As part of Dance Victoria’s Community Engagement programs, Compagnie Hervé KOUBI will lead a free masterclass for local students during their time in Victoria.

Dance Victoria’s presentation of Compagnie Hervé KOUBI is made possible with generous support from Season Sponsor Derma Spa, Lead Presentation Co-sponsors Luxe Home Interiors and Andy Stephenson | Sotheby’s Realty, and public support from the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Government of BC, BC Arts Council, and the CRD Arts Development office.

About Compagnie Hervé KOUBI

Of Algerian descent, Hervé Koubi grew up in France where he studied biology and dance at the University of Aix-en-Provence before graduating as a Pharmaceutical Doctor in 2002. Deciding to concentrate on a dancing career, he graduated from the Rosella Hightower School of Dance in Cannes, gaining experience as a dancer and creating his first project Le Golem. He formed his own company in 2010, working with male street dancers from North Africa on several works including What the Day Owes to The NightThe Barbarian Nights (or The First Dawns of the World), and Boys Don’t Cry. Hervé Koubi was Associate Choreographer at the Pole National Supérieur de Danse in France and received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2015.

Compagnie Hervé KOUBI

Royal Theatre
Friday, February 2, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 3, 7:30 p.m.

How to Buy Tickets

Dance at the Royal Series single tickets3-show subscriptions and discount flex passes are available for purchase online. Find out more about our Pay Your Age and Night Moves program for discounted tickets.

In Person: Visit the Royal or McPherson Box Offices, Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Royal is closed 1:00 to 1:30 pm)
Phone: 250-386-6121 or Toll Free 1-888-717-6121
Online @ or
Check the Royal and McPherson Theatres website for current Box Office details.



Dance Victoria’s Dance at the Royal Series 
Compagnie Hervé KOUBI | February 2 + 3, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
Nrityagram Dance Ensemble | March 8 + 9, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
Ballets Jazz Montréal | April 26 + 27, 2024, 7:30 p.m.

About Dance Victoria

Dance Victoria brings the World’s Best Dance to the Royal Theatre and supports the development of new dance for the international stage from its studios in Quadra Village. Dance Victoria is a non-profit charitable society.

Media Materials

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Media Contact

Anne-Sophie Cournoyer
Marketing Manager, Dance Victoria

Downloadable PDF media release here.