From March to June 2019, contemporary dance from Flanders hits South African stages. Three of Flanders’ leading dance companies will showcase their work in Johannesburg, Oudtshoorn and Cape Town. The first performance took place on 16 March at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg.
Flemish dance world internationally
Contemporary dance from Flanders has a large international resonance. The 1980s saw the explosion of a radical and creative dance scene in Flanders, which would earn Brussels the title of contemporary dance capital in Europe. A new generation of choreographers redefined the concept of dance, developing a new approach towards dance and leaving a personal imprint that 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. Prominent South African choreographers Dada Masilo, Gregory Maqoma, George Khumalo and Moya Michael are among 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.
South African tour in 2019
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 Flemish dance 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 National Arts Festival) and Cape Town (Baxter Theatre): Rule of Three by Jan Martens; the boxing/dance performance (B) by Koen Augustijnen and Rosalba Torres Guerrero; and Requiem pour L. by Alain Platel and Fabrizio Cassol. In addition to the performances, other exchanges are organised via workshops, lectures, debates.
(showed in March 2019)
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, 14 musicians from different continents reworked Mozart’s Requiem, fusing 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 dumped, to 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| Tue 4 & Wed 5 June 2019, Baxter Theatre, Cape Town
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 and the public – are explored. 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 eclecticism to generate new meanings from interdisciplinary cross-overs.
African première: Fri 31 May 2019, Market Theatre, Johannesburg
Further performances: Sat 1 June, Market Theatre, Johannesburg | Fri 7 & Sat 8 June 2019, Baxter Theatre, Cape Town
Age restriction: 14+