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Les Ballets C. de la B. (Belgium)
Choreographer: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

May 8, 9 & 10, 2003
Centre Pierre-Péladeau

For contemporary dance fans, a visit by Belgium’s Les Ballets C. de la B. to Montréal is something to cheer about. Alain Platel’s celebrated troupe, which has built its reputation on audacious performances where dance and drama combine, will be returning to Montréal in the spring of 2003. Les Ballets C. de la B. will present Foi, the second production commissioned for youthful choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherakoui, “an extraordinary talent of which Belgium can be proud”, NRC Handelsblad.

The contemporary dance world is talking about 25-year-old Belgian artist of Moroccan descent. Winner of a Best Belgian Dance Solo award in 1995, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui was recruited in 1997 by Alain Platel, who invited him to join in the creation of Iets op Bach, a production that went on to become a world-wide success story (Festival de théâtre des Amériques, 1999). “Iets op Bach revealed (Cherkaoui’s) talent, that of singular interpreter who has, after three personal creations, joined the lead team of the explosive Belgian choreographers collective.” Marseille l'Hebdo

After three years touring with Iets op Bach, Platel invited Cherkaoui to conceive a production for Les Ballets C. de la B. His response took the form of Rien de rien, a work for six dancers featuring cellist Roel Dieltiens. Its originality and humor proved contagious. “This compact little theater of truth is danced in misty figures, a kind of reworked hip-hop, Swan Lake on Prozac, a salon dance ‘medley’ dressed up with mock-heroic flourishes, lambada muy caliente or unchained rock (…) A lover of opposites, Cherkaoui piles prohibitions atop the non-p.c. asides he loves to let drop. Just like us…and we can’t get enough.” Les Inrock.com. A co-production of the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris along with the Rotterdamse Schouwburg, Botanique Bruxelles and the Centre d’arts Vooruit of Ghent, Rien de rien is an eclectic, theatrical work in which “against the trend, there’s more dancing than talking (whew!) and when words do have a part to play, they are an adjunct to the language of hands and body.” Libération. “Impressive!” De Morgen.

For his Montréal première visit, the Ballets C. de la B.’s new recruit will be presenting Foi, a production Cherkaoui describes as a “medieval-contemporary opera” conceived in conjunction with musician Dirk Snellings and the ensemble Capilla Flamenca for six dancers and an equal number of musicians. The music, closely related to the Ars Nova movement of the nineteenth century, incorporates folksongs and lends its driving force to movement, word and dance. Articulated around such questions as: what have you learned from your parents? What are your favorite stories? What do you most believe in? What do you believe today? Are you convinced? Foi explores in his own inimitable way the links between belief and myth, between oral and written tradition.

Foi will be created at Ghent in March 2003, and will then relocate to the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris. Certain to be one of the surprises of the 2002-2003 Danse Danse season, the production will then begin a North American tour, starting in Montréal. A perfect occasion to take the pulse of the new Belgian dance.
Presented as part of the “Vooruit in Québec”

April 2002

Photos: Chris Vander Burght