A group of men gathers around some dead horses to perform a ritual. Summarized in one sentence like this, "nicht schlafen" might retain the semblance of a story. But everything instantly contradicts this notion. The area of the archaic cult is bounded by a giant blanket. And amongst the men there is one woman. Is this the staging of a new Rite of Spring? Will a woman be sacrificed once more to atone for failing masculinity?
For this production of director Alain Platel uses the work of the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler as its starting point, as proposed by Gerard Mortier. It wasn’t love at first sight for Platel. Initially, he did feel particularly affinity with the era Mahler expresses in his work: an age of great acceleration and disruption leading up to the First World War. But then, in the nervousness and aggressiveness, passion and yearning for a lost harmony that is expressed by Mahler's music, Platel discovered also a match for the images he’s looking for in his work.
The musical direction is in the hands of composer Steven Prengels. In the soundscapes he puts the Mahler in contrast to African polyphonic chants and herds in sounds of cowbells or sleeping animals. In terms of stage-setting, this is the first collaboration between Alain Platel and visual artist Berlinde De Bruyckere. What they have in common: a love for the big themes of suffering and death. Together with a group of nine dancers they started the search for the potential for transformation, with the shaky hope that things will not end in large-scale destruction. That potential, that possibility is what this group of dancers want to look for in every performance, without a safety net. A dance of life and death.
Direction Alain Platel
Composition and musical direction Steven Prengels
Creation and performance Bérengère Bodin, Boule Mpanya, Dario Rigaglia, David Le Borgne, Elie Tass, Ido Batash, Romain Guion, Russell Tshiebua, Samir M’Kirech
Dramaturgy Hildegard De Vuyst
Musical dramaturgy Jan Vandenhouwe
Artistic assistance Quan Bui Ngoc
Set design Berlinde De Bruyckere
Light design Carlo Bourguignon
Sound design Bartold Uyttersprot
Costume design Dorine Demuynck
Stage manager Wim Van de Cappelle
Photography Chris Van der Burght
Production manager Valerie Desmet
Tour manager Steve De Schepper
Production les ballets C de la B
Coproduction Ruhrtriennale, La Bâtie-Festival de Genève, la Biennale de Lyon, L’Opéra de Lille, MC93 - Maison de la Culture de la Seine-Saint-Denis, TorinoDanza, Holland Festival, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Kampnagel Hamburg
Video Production: Maison de la Danse
Video direction: Fabien Plasson
Alain Platel is trained as a remedial educationalist, and is an autodidact director. In 1984 he set up a small group with a number of friends and relatives to work collectively. "Emma" (1988) signalled his concentration on directing. He was responsible for "Bonjour Madame" (1993), "La Tristeza Complice" (1995) and "Iets op Bach" (1998), with which les ballets C de la B (as the group was now called) rocketed to the international top. In the meantime his collaboration with Arne Sierens had a similar effect on the Ghent youth theatre company Victoria, with the three plays "Moeder en Kind" (1995), Bernadetje (1996) and "Allemaal Indiaan" (1999).
After Allemaal Indiaan he announced that he was stopping making productions. But shortly afterwards Gerard Mortier persuaded him to do "Wolf" (2003) based on Mozart for the Ruhrtriennale. The choir project for the opening of the new KVS marked the start of close collaboration with the composer Fabrizio Cassol. "vsprs" (2006) proved to be a turning point in his career. So far his work had been exuberant in both the diversity of performers and the themes, but now it became more profound and intense and revealed a world of passion and desire. And violence, as in "Nine Finger" (2007) with Benjamin Verdonck and Fumiyo Ikeda.
"After the baroque pitié!" (2008), "Out Of Context – for Pina" (January 2010) is an almost ascetic reflection of the movement repertoire of spasms and tics. Platel consistently continues to search this language of movement for incarnations of feelings that are too vast. The yearning for something transcending the individual is becoming more and more palpable.
In collaboration with director Frank Van Laecke, he created "Gardenia" (June 2010), a production in which the closing of a transvestite cabaret affords us a glimpse into the private lives of a memorable group of old artists. In 2015 Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke renew their collaboration, this time joined by composer Steven Prengels, for "En avant, marche !" a performance about a society inspired by the tradition of fanfare orchestras and brass bands.
"C(H)ŒURS" (2012), so far Platel’s biggest project, is created on demand of opera director Gerard Mortier. He got to work with the famous choral scenes from Verdi’s operas, later on he added pieces of music from Richard Wagner’s works. In "C(H)ŒURS" he examines –together with his dancers and the Teatro Real choir – how ‘dangerously beautiful’ a group can be. The political connotation in performances such as "tauberbach" (2014) and "Coup Fatal" (in collaboration with Fabrizio Cassol 2014) lies in the joie de vivre and energy that is displayed on stage to show how people sometimes live or even survive in undignified circumstances (a landfill in tauberbach and the real living conditions of the musicians from Congo in Coup Fatal). “Lust for life” as a way of rebellion.
But let it be clear, Platel is not just into large scale projects nowadays. In the recent past, he worked on small projects such as Nachtschade (for Victoria in 2006) and coaching work for amongst others Pieter and Jakob Ampe and their production "Jake & Pete’s big reconciliation attempt for the disputes form the past" (in 2011). Two projects which have had a significant influence on his way of perceiving theatre. He also almost surreptitiously entered the arena of the dance film together with the British director Sophie Fiennes ("Because I Sing" in 2001, "Ramallah!Ramallah!Ramallah!" in 2005 and "VSPRS Show and Tell" in 2007) and solo with de balletten en ci en là (2006), an impressive view of what goes on in a twenty-year-old dance company, taking us all the way to Vietnam and Burkina Faso, but also and mainly being an ode to his home town Ghent.
Source: Les Ballets C de la B
More information : lesballetscdela.be
Born in 1977, Fabien Plasson is a video director specialized in the field of performing arts (dance , music, etc).
During his studies at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (joined in 1995) Fabien discovered video art. He was trained by various video artists (Joel Bartoloméo Pascal Nottoli , Eric Duyckaerts , etc) .
He first experimented with the creation of installations and cinematic objects.
From 2001 to 2011, he was in charge of Ginger & Fred video Bar’s programming at La Maison de la Danse in Lyon. He discovered the choreographic field and the importance of this medium in the dissemination, mediation and pedagogical approach to dance alongside Charles Picq, who was a brilliant video director and the director of the video department at that time.
Today, Fabien Plasson is the video director at La Maison de la Danse and in charge of the video section of Numeridanse.tv, an online international video library, and continues his creative activities, making videos of concerts, performances and also creating video sets for live performances.
Sources: Maison de la Danse ; Fabien Plasson website
More information: fabione.fr
Les Ballets C de la B
Artistic Direction: Alain Platel
Les Ballets C de la B (Belgian Contemporary Ballet), formed by Alain Platel in 1984, is a company now regularly acclaimed in Begium and elsewhere. Over time it has adopted a working-platform structure which brings together several choreographers. Christine De Smedt and Koen Augustijnen figure alongside Alain Platel; Hans Van den Broeck and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui have also taken part. Since its inception, Les Ballets C de la B has been committed to involving talented young artists, active in different disciplines and from varied backgrounds, in the dynamic creative process. The company is currently host to two guest choreographers, Lisi Estaràs and Ted Stoffer. The unique mix of diverse artistic visions, which feed each other, makes it impossible to define the Ballets precisely. Nevertheless, a kind of “house style” is emerging. It is popular, anarchic, eclectic and engaged, under the motto “This dance is part of the world and the world belongs to everyone.”
Source: Les ballets C de la B 's website
More information : lesballetscdela.be
Artistic direction / Conception
Artistic direction assistance / Conception
Quan Bui Ngoc
Bérengère Bodin, Boule Mpanya, Dario Rigaglia, David Le Borgne, Elie Tass, Ido Batash, Romain Guion, Russell Tshiebua, Samir M’Kirech
Artistic consultancy / Dramaturgy
Hildegard De Vuyst (dramaturgie), Jan Vandenhouwe (dramaturgie musicale)
Berlinde De Bruyckere
Steven Prengels (composition et direction musicale)
Wim Van de Cappelle
Chris Van der Burght (photographie)
Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work
Ballets C de la B // Coproduction Ruhrtriennale, La Bâtie-Festival de Genève, la Biennale de Lyon, L’Opéra de Lille, MC93 - Maison de la Culture de la Seine-Saint-Denis, TorinoDanza, Holland Festival, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Kampnagel Hamburg
Production / Coproduction of the video work
Maison de la Danse, Biennale de Lyon