Contemporary dance from Flanders has a large international resonance. The 1980’s saw the explosion of a radical and creative dance scene in Flanders, which would earn Brussels the title of contemporary dance capital in Europe. Anew generation of choreographers redefined the concept of dance, developing a new approach towards dance and leaving a personal imprint which broke traditional barriers and conceptions, both at home and abroad.
Dance in Flanders has developed many perspectives since then. Choreographers no longer come exclusively from Flanders or Brussels, and international influences and collaborations have added their own eclectic interpretations to the mix. ProminentSouth African choreographers Dada Masilo, Gregory Maqoma, George Khumalo and Moya Michael are amongst those who have received training and worked in Brussels. What does remain is the independent and unique spirit of those earlier days, transformed and continuously evolving.
In 2019, South African audiences can experience this for themselves when three of Flanders’ most acclaimed choreographers bring their shows to these shores, showcasing the rich and vibrant artistic talent of the dance community in Flanders, and engaging audiences in challenging and thought-provoking ways.
The South African tour is a collaboration between Flanders and South Africa, supported by the Government of Flanders, and brings three Flemish productions to the stage in Johannesburg(Market Theatre), Oudtshoorn(Klein Karoo NasionaleKunstefees) and Cape Town(Baxter Theatre): Rule of Three by Jan Martens;the boxing/dance performance (B) by Koen Augustijnen and Rosalba Torres Guerrero; andRequiem pour L. by Alain Platel and Fabrizio Cassol. In addition to the performances, other exchanges are organised via workshops, lectures, debates.
Rule of Three by GRIP | Jan Martens in collaboration with NAH –
Dancers: Steven Michel, Courtney Robertson, Daniel Mussett
In Rule of Three, Flemish choreographer Jan Martens blends storytelling with live music to create a night-club vibe combined with the feeling of getting lost in the pages of a book, with the result of a stunning dance piece that is loud, bright and brilliant. A succession of dance tableaux unfolds with surprises lurking at every corner, unrelated short scenes give impressions of the profusion of information we are constantly subjected to.
American drummer and producer NAH sets the score for the entire performance mixing live and programmed drums with manipulated sounds, establishing a unique atmosphere where music, lights and movement, interact and overlap in a superb experimental mix. The layering of rhythm, light and music creates a variety of landscapes that might just as easily exude the sweet whiff of nonchalance as set bodies alight. Rule of Three is rebellious and fiery, it unleashes an untamed meditation on the contrasts of our era: numbness and explosion, the decided upon and the intuitive, the heart and the mind.
African première: Sat16 March 2019, Market Theatre, Johannesburg
Age restriction: 16+ (full nudity)
REQUIEM POUR L. by les ballets C de la B|Alain Platel& Fabrizio Cassol
Flanders-based Les Ballets C de la B are world-renowned for their collaborative ventures and breaking down conventional barriers while placing multiculturalism at the epicentre of each work they create. Requiem pour L. confirms this in the best possible way: Mozart’s emblematic swan song provides the perfect condition for an unprecedented fusing of musical traditions from lands across Europe and Africa.Under the direction of composer Fabrizio Cassol, fourteen musicians from different continents reworked Mozart’s Requiemfusing the classical masterpiece with jazz, opera, popular African music, and lyrics in Latin,Lingala and Swahili.
Director and choreographer Alain Platel augments this modern interpretation by visually and physically translating the images and associations the requiem evokes from the funeral hymn to the mass grave in which Mozart himself was dumpedto build a visual world of death and ritual for the musicians and dancers to inhabit. Requiem pour L. is a deeply philosophical work that translates our anxieties about mortality into art and poignantly offers a glorification of the lives and deaths that we cannot control.
African première: Tue 28 May 2019, Market Theatre, Johannesburg
Further performances: Wed 29 May 2019, Market Theatre, Johannesburg
Age restriction: 16+ (sensitive images)
(B) by Siamese Cie I Koen Augustijnen& Rosalba Torres Guerrero
With the dance-theatre production (B), this Flemish artistic choreographic duo draws the audience deep into their fascination for both the art of boxing and the art of dance in all its contemporary multiformity. (B) is the powerful heavyweight clash between three boxers and seven dancers. From a variety of backgrounds, they all throw everything they have into the dance ring. In dazzling group choreographies and intimate duets, their interior worlds debate with the unrelenting outside world. Competitive boxing is taken to the stage where all its aspects –from the extreme physicality to the psychology of the boxer ànd the public- areexplored.
The hidden side of the boxer, his vulnerability, his loneliness and his humanity get revealed. Frenetic soundscapes and old arias enhance the performers in a set designed to recall a boxing arena. Live and recorded video allows the showdown to be highlighted: zoom in on the bodies, where desire flirts with danger. This new work celebrates the diversity of movement and dance languages and shows how they can respectfully stand next to each other. The duo deliberately uses hybridity, cultural mixing and eclecticismto generate new meanings from interdisciplinary cross-overs.
African première: Fri 31 May 2019, Market Theatre, Johannesburg
Further performances Saturday 01 June 2019, Market Theatre, Johannesburg