Dance show reveals aspects of personality

Belgium’s dance company Les Ballets C. de la B. is young, subversive and equipped with lots of humor. The group’s every move, both on and off stage, proves its passion for art. On its first appearance in Greece, the group will close Kalamata’s 11th International Dance Festival with performances of «Bache» tomorrow and Sunday. Les Ballets C. de la B. first appeared in Ghent in 1984, founded by legendary choreographer Alain Platel. It is a group of artists who share anarchist and slightly surreal ideas and come from different backgrounds in the fine arts, such as modern dance, theater, music and poetry. «Bache» is a collaboration between choreographer Koen Augustijnen, singer Steve Dugardin and composer Guy Van Nueten. The production is a mixture of dance theater, ballet and modern dance, break dancing, hip hop and acrobatics, pre-classical and contemporary music. Kathimerini spoke to Koen Augustijnen about the performances. Can you tell us something about «Bache»? It is a work for six men: a tenor, a pianist, an acrobat, a break dancer, a modern dancer and me. In this work, the men reveal their vulnerable and tender sides, the hidden sides that do, however, exist. The stage is covered by a canvas, which at some point will be lifted to reveal what is underneath… The same applies to the interpreters. They gradually reveal themselves, their good and bad qualities, desire for control, power, fears, doubts and loneliness. You have an impressive cast with you on stage. What is the secret of a successful collaboration? Above all, you must be polite and respect your interpreters. In general, I choose mature artists who have open minds. For this particular work, I had certain issues in mind I wanted to work on and a very clear idea of the music and sets. We based our improvisation on that. What distinguishes the company’s work? We combine dance, theater, acrobatics and sometimes film and visual arts. We often have live music. There is no particular message, or a logical story in our work. Yet our audience will identify with something and will find their own story. We work with people from different countries, of different educational levels and different abilities. They all bring their own stories. For centuries, theater and dance have been about kings and princesses. That still happens. It is about time we woke up. Every person, regardless of their gender, nationality, age and social position, has a voice. Why did you only use men? I had never worked with just men before. I wanted to create something new. I was also inspired by photographs in an exhibition about concentration camps in Russia, where men and women were kept apart. You have said in the past that you think fear is very prevalent today and that you want to create something that opposes it. How do you perceive it and how do you think that dance and art in general can help us face our fears? We have noticed a conservative shift all over Europe and in the United States. Many right-wing ideas make themselves felt in politics and society. People are afraid of losing what they have. We have all become isolated in our small castles, with a television. Art, especially when presented in a live form, is exactly the opposite. It’s as if it opens the doors and says: «We are here to communicate with you, come out of your castle and let’s share our thoughts, our joys and sorrows. You are not alone.» You see how people leave at the end of a good performance. They are rejuvenated; they question themselves and their thoughts and emotions have become more sensitive. That is culture. On a personal level, dance is an outlet for my energy. It calms me down. What will define dance in the future? There is a new trend in Northern Europe that some call «conceptual dance,» although I do not like that term. It is about dancers who think so much about dance that they don’t actually dance anymore… The idea is more important than the choreography itself. Some artists like Jerome Bel have produced interesting work, but much of that work is very hermetic. I believe it is part of a process that will eventually be reconnected with the physicality of dance and (in my dreams) with many new trends in order to create something new. «Bache» is part of that process which I am also working on, probably for the rest of my life… Tickets are available at Kalamata’s Cultural Center, open 10.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. daily, except Sunday. For ticket information and credit card bookings call 27210.20374 and 27210.20795. End of Kalamata’s 11th Dance Festival Along with Les Ballets C. de la B., which will perform at 10 p.m. at Kalamata Castle tomorrow and Sunday, Kalamata’s 11th International Dance Festival also ends with a final performance by an Australian newcomer – Prue Lang’s production «Fiftyfourville,» inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 film «Alphaville.» In Godard’s film, set in an utopian world, a computer dictates every individual’s moves. Lang, in her choreographed version, is concerned with the meaning of existence and the processes of survival and communication between people. The performance, which features four dancers, electronic music, sound effects and video projections, will take place at 8 p.m. at the gym of Kalamata’s former lyceum tomorrow. The festival officially closes with «Black Box,» in which the concept creator of the Athens Olympics ceremonies, Dimitris Papaioannou, will share his thoughts on the structure of the opening ceremony at 9 p.m. at Kalamata Castle on Sunday.

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