Two outstanding dance companies from Flanders in Belgium will be performing at the Baxter Theatre Centre from June 4 to 8, following on from their successful seasons at the Klein Karoo Kunstefees in March and at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg at the end of May.
In Cape Town, les ballets C de la B will present ‘Requiem pour L.’ on Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5; and Siamese Cie will present ‘(B)’ on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 7 and 8. Both these works demonstrate innovative, eclectic and unusual interpretations of contemporary dance from Flanders.
‘Requiem pour L.’, directed by Alain Platel from les ballets C de la B, is a deeply philosophical work that translates anxieties about mortality into art. The piece, inspired by Mozart’s unfinished burial hymn, has a cast of fourteen musicians and singers from across the globe, making this a movement concert rather than a dance piece – a ceremony of mourning alongside an uplifting celebration of life. Composer Fabrizio Cassol has reconstructed Mozart’s emblematic ‘Requiem’ and merges the funereal composition with jazz, opera and African music.
‘(B)’, created by choreographic duo Koen Augustijnen and Rosalba Torres Guerrero from the Siamese Cie company, is a lively interaction between seven dancers and three boxers with a focus on the successive daily rounds of continual drive to stay alive, keep “fighting” for a better life, no matter the challenges faced. The large-scale set represents a boxing arena, creating a space wherein two worlds and two disciplines spar with, yet complement, each other.
Flanders is home to a prolific creative and radical contemporary dance scene with choreographers and dancers alike questioning and breaking through the traditional and institutionalised dance norms of the (Western) canon. The region boasts a rich and hybrid artistic landscape where dance is no longer just a neatly delineated discipline, but an amalgam of the many artistic practices that connect to the phenomenon of dance. Contemporary dance from Flanders and Brussels has a large international resonance – not only through the visionary and creative approaches, but by allowing more social, cultural and gender diversity influences.
Over the years, this dance scene has absorbed the richness of international collaborations, and the impact has resulted in cross-cultural and gripping productions. Through the likes of Gregory Maqoma, Dada Masilo, George Khumalo and Moya Michael, South Africa has contributed to the eclectic and continuously evolving contemporary dance aesthetic in Flanders. The Flemish dance season in South Africa is an opportunity to share the result of these combined influences with South African audiences with the intention of creating bridges to the enclave that is contemporary dance. While in Johannesburg and Cape Town the companies will interact with local dance and music groups and companies through talks and workshops.
* The Flemish dance season is presented by the Government of Flanders in association with the Baxter Theatre. Tickets cost from R80 to R150 via www.webtickets.co.za.
Note that there is an age restriction of 14 on ‘(B)’ and 16 on ‘Requiem pour L’.