Everything begins in the dark, with the sound of voices, bodies moving and feet pounding the floor. These are the very first stages of a dance which soon emerges into the light, dragging us along in a whirlwind of music, colours and pleasure.
This dance is rooted in Middle Eastern tradition. Badke is actually a distortion of the word Dabke, the name of a folk dance that features especially at weddings and festivals in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, etc. It is also danced, albeit in a more codified way, by professional groups who have made it known around the world. In 'Badke', the collective aspect of this form of expression is most notably brought to light and mixed with influences from all four corners of the globe. Capoeira, contemporary dance, hip-hop and circus acrobatics are all seamlessly combined into the ensemble.
The show was a long time in the making, part of a collaboration between Les Ballets C de la B, the KVS and the A.M. Qattan Foundation in Ramallah. Since 2006 the three organisations have been working together to train young Palestinian dancers and actors, organise workshops and create productions in the field of performing arts. It was as part of this that the playwright Hildegard De Vuyst and the dancers and choreographers Koen Augustijnen and Rosalba Torres Guerrero created 'In the Park' in 2009, the fruit of a three-week workshop with ten young Palestinians.
This time round, the work was spread out over longer periods, first in Palestine and then in Brussels, with a final series of rehearsals and creative work in Zurich. This long-term work allowed the ten performers to deliver a compact, coherent show, overflowing with energy yet full of little unique touches.
The principal strength of 'Badke' clearly hinges on its huge group movements – full of life, joy and spirit. In the theatre hall, the irresistible music of Naser Al-Faris, made into a loop by Sam Serruys, causes spectators to swoon. Feet pound the floor of the bleachers and many audience members would happily join the nine performers in their pandemonium.
But beyond this galvanising collective effect, 'Badke' is scattered with more intimate sequences, in solos, duets and trios. Our eyes are constantly drawn from one side of the stage to the other in an attempt to follow everything. We are surprised by unexpected moments of tenderness and pleasure, but also pain, confrontation and loneliness.
Source: mad.lesoir.be, Jean-Marie Wynants
Born in Mechelen (Belgium) in 1967, Koen Augustijnen has been working closely with les ballets C de la B since 1991, initially as a dancer in performances staged by Alain Platel, Hans Van den Broeck and Francisco Camacho, and since 1997, he has become one of the dance company’s house choreographers.
To "Crush Time" (1997), his first self-choreographed production, was followed by "Plage Tattoo" (1999) co-directed together with three musicians from Zita Swoon and with Tamayo Okano. His third major production came in "Ernesto" (2000),a dance solo and docudrama, co-directed with his brother Sven Augustijnen, which in turn was followed by "Just another landscape for some jukebox money" (2002). "Bâche" (2004) brought him an international breakthrough, followed by "Import/Export" (2006) and "Ashes" (2009).
He studied history at the Ghent University (1986-1988) and enrolled for theatre workshops at the Antwerp Conservatory (1989) as well as workshops hosted by Jan Decorte in Brussels (1990). In addition, he attended dance workshops by Wim Vandekeybus, Caro Lambert, Min Tanaka, Laurie Booth, Suzanne Linke, Francisco Camacho, Christine Quoiraud, Frank van de Ven and David Zambrano (1990-1999) amongst others. His principal training and work experience, however, has been firmly rooted in his staging of performances as a member of les ballets C de la B. Apart from les ballets C de la B he sometimes works as a choreographer, joining forces with dEUS or working with Ivo Van Hove (Toneelgroep Amsterdam), Arne Sierens (compagnie Cecilia) and Stalker Theatre Company to name but a few. In 2009 he also made a mass choreography for the video clip Dance for the climate from Nic Balthazar. In 2011, he created in collaboration with TG STAN
Source : Ballets C de la B website
Torres Guerrero, Rosalba
Born in 1974, Geneva, Switzerland
“I have French and Spanish origins but was born in Switzerland in 1974. My training as a dancer therefore began in Geneva at the Conservatoire de Musique. Then, when I turned 18, I was accepted into the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers where, in my final year, I was involved in producing ‘Marguerites de l'Oubli’ by Bernardo Montet, as well as interpretations of "Visages de Femmes" by Dominique Dupuis and "Les Petites Pièces de Berlin" by Dominique Bagouet. In 1995-1996, I started working with Philippe Découflé and the DCA company with "Decodex". In 1996-1997 I worked with Ismaël Ivo at the Deutsches National Teater in Weimar on ‘Medeamaterial’, among other pieces. In 1997 I returned to France with Annette Leday's Keli company for "Cinderella Otherwise". In the same year, I went on the road with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's Rosas company for the productions of ‘Drumming’, "I said I", "In Real Time", "Rain", "April Me", "Bitches Brew/Tacoma Narrows", "Kassandra" and "Raga for a Rainy Season/Love Supreme", as well as re-interpretations of "Woud", "Achterland" and "Mozart/Concert Arias – Un Moto di Gioia". In September 2005, I took the train to Ghent and headed up “VSPRS, Pitié!” and “Out of Context – for Pina”. In 2011, Les Ballets C de la B produced my first choreography project "Pénombre", a video dance duet, in collaboration with the visual artist Lucas Racasse.” (Rosalba Torres Guerrero)
Source: the company Les Ballets C de la B 's website