Lac deS Singes & Our circumscribed days

Lac deS Singes
20, 21, 25/05 20:30
24, 26/05 > 18:00
Rosas Performance Space

Our circumscribed days
13/05 > 20:30 (première)
Parking Dansaert
16/05 > 21:00
8, 20, 24, 26/05 > 18:00
17, 19, 23, 25/05 > 13:00
Cosy Media

Language: English

“Strange human race, unscrupulous voyeur!” Following the uncomfortable feeling Hans Van den Broeck had when standing in front of the chimpanzee cage at Antwerp Zoo, he developed the idea of Lac deS Singes using the brutal metaphor of man as a political animal. Hans went into dance after obtaining a degree in psychology and spending time working in a psychiatric environment. As a choreographer at the core of Les Ballets C. de la B., he created his first works alongside Alain Platel. He likes the logic of dreams that reveal, in heightened form, the most repressed conflicts in our everyday lives. His dance makes it possible for these conflicts to be read on our bodies. It is no surprise, then, that this keen observer also makes use of film. His creation Lac deS Singes will be featured alongside the premiere of his medium-length film, Our circumscribed days, which was shot in Moscow, the poetic chronicle of a faltering city.

Lac deS Singes

Mise en scène/Regie/Direction: Hans Van den Broeck

Assistant/Assistent/Assistant: Mette Edvardsen

Créé avec et dansé par/Gecreëerd met en gedanst door/Created with and danced by: Carole Bonneau, Gianfranco Celestino, Antonella Cusimano, David Ferrasse, Harold Henning, Ellen Meijer, Gustavo Miranda, Kevin Taylor

Installation sonore/Klankinstallatie/Sound installation: Dirk De Hooghe

Concept Musique/Concept Muziek/Concept Music: Nic Rosseeuw, Dirk De Hooghe

Musique/Muziek/Music : Nic Rosseeuw

Costumes/Kostuums/Costumes: Hilde Schamp, Dorine Demuynck

Concept décor/Concept decor/Concept set : Dirk De Hooghe

Construction du décor/Decoropbouw/Set construction : Dirk De Hooghe, Kris Van Oudenhove, Hans Valcke

Eclairages & Régisseur de scène/Lichtontwerp & Toneelmeester/Lighting design & Stage manager : Jenn Ryan, Iain Robert Anderson

Son/Klank/Sound : Maarten Mees

Photographie/Fotografie/Photograpgy : Chris Van der Burght

Directeur de production/Productieleiding/Production manager: Ingrid Lammerant

Production/Productie/Production: Les Ballets C. de la B. (Gent)

Coproduction/Coproductie/Coproduction: Kunstencentrum Vooruit (Gent), Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), La Rose des Vents (Villeneuve d’Ascq), Tanztheater Internationaal (Hannover), Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz (Berlin), Stad aan zee Oostende – Dienst Toerisme (Oostende), KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

Agent: Frans Brood Productions

Avec le soutien de/Met de steun van/Supported by: Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen, Stad Gent, Nationale Loterij/Loterie Nationale

Présentation/Presentatie/Presentation: Rosas Performance Space, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

Our circumscribed days

A film by: Dirk De Hooghe, Georgii Michailovski, Hans Van den Broeck, Martine Van Hecke, Benoit Vivien

Filmed in Moscow, August 1999

Production: Les Ballets C. de la B.

Presentation: KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

Language: EN

Duration: 1:16

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“I thought to myself that if I end up going mad, I’d really like to be sent here. It was an unbelievably beautiful place. There was an enormous lawn in front of the château and lots of garden chairs scattered about. A person sitting down seemed to be waiting, alone. The place was called La Borde and was used to accommodate psychiatric patients. The receptionist was a mild psychotic, slow, gentle and absent-minded. Somewhere, near Blois, in one of those beautiful châteaux of the Loire, there were carers who, with their patients, considered the world to be mad. This tacit fact immediately lifted the taboo weighing down on their mental frailties and unusual behaviour. There was humour all around. The simple fact of sensing that their particular perception of things was accepted, of knowing that they could, unashamedly, allow their pathology to emerge, gave these people a serene strength and soothed a great many of their anxieties. This experience influenced me a lot.”

Hans Van den Broeck is a choreographer and, together with Alain Platel, Koen Augustijnen and Christine Desmedt, is part of the artistic collective Les Ballets C. de la B. (meaning Contemporary Ballets of Belgium) based in Ghent. He studied psychology at the University of Leuven in the early 1980s, a time when the Stuc (what was then the Studenten Centrum and is now the arts centre) invited the best pioneers of American contemporary dance. Steve Paxton gave workshops on contact-improvisation. Jan Fabre held audition-workshops and performed his second theatrical piece of work there, Le Pouvoir des Folies théâtrales (1984), a performance lasting eight hours. “Thanks to the Stuc, we had the opportunity to be in direct contact with these artists; we immersed ourselves behind the scenes of whatever they were doing. I attended the workshops held there. Jan Fabre exhorted us to exceed our limits, to abandon the masks we wear and reveal ourselves. It was audacious and painful but, in the end, very intense because theatre is cruelty and it is from this cruelty that its beauty emerges. Psychology has a lot to do with theatre and the dramatic art. I wasn’t sure whether to carry on studying or give it all up to go into theatre. I continued with psychology and began studying psychotics in psychiatry – it made quite an impression on me! Everything that happened externally had immediate internal and physical repercussions for them. Their ‘me’ was the world. Their bodies betrayed the slightest turmoil going on in them. Anxiety overwhelmed them when they felt they no longer had any point of reference. I did movement workshops with them that I really enjoyed, but I kept being struck by a very strong urge to return to theatre.”

In 1988 he met Alain Platel, who before becoming involved in dance had himself been a teacher rehabilitating people with mental and physical disabilities, and together they created the short piece, Alchemie. But a scholarship for ‘dance therapy’ that he had applied for during his training took him to New York University. There he dropped his course and signed up for the scriptwriting course given by the Film Department. The course is attended as much by beginners as by Hollywood scriptwriters who come to test the effectiveness of their writing. There, Hans tried out the coercive rules of American narrative logic, while in the packed cinemas he discovered the American public’s feverish passion for the unconventional cinema of Cassavetes and Chantal Akerman. “They weren’t wasted years. Even though I felt very uncomfortable with a rigid screenwriting technique that, based on the audience’s potential fatigue, times to the last minute how long the exposition lasts, or another moment of tension or the need for there to be surprise, all this writing led me back to dealing with situations of conflict by relying on the construction of characters, thus on the motives of human behaviour. I was fascinated by it – the world is not in harmony and, for me, theatre can only emerge if it allows the twists and turns of our strange reality to flourish.”

Back in Brussels, Hans joined forces for a time with Alain Platel (O Boom, Mussen, Bonjour Madame), then at the core of Les Ballets C. de la B. began his own work of ‘dance-theatre’ withHow to approach a dog (1992), Everyman (1994), (They feed we) Eat Eat Eat (1996), La Sortie(1999), interspersed with other creations: video installations, happenings in public places and films. His inspiration is fed by the human being, the physical signs that betray his inner state and his reactions in an environment that interacts with him. “I distrust words – they lock in meaning. I prefer painting – I’ve been painting for a long time and it’s a mode of expression that doesn’t require words – or working with a very concrete body language, but one that more immediately manages to translate sensations that are difficult to formulate. I’m fascinated by stories but I am never going to construct a logical narrative. ‘Dance-theatre’ suits me because it allows human behaviour and relationships between people to be explored in a physical way, beyond the control of conscience.”

Now 2001 brings us Le Lac des Singes. “Some time ago, I was at Antwerp Zoo standing in front of the glass chimpanzee cage. I had the feeling that they had the feeling… that they and I felt how absurd and cruel it is to imprison life in a glass cage like that, being served up to inquisitive eyes. I couldn’t drag myself away, glued to their eyes, suddenly remembering the staggering beauty of the man-monkeys in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was struck by the chimpanzees watching me patiently like this. Our roles were reversed – they were spying on me with my air of being a human being watching them. Strange human race, unscrupulous voyeur. This uncomfortable confrontation determined the direction my new creation would take.”

In no way is Le Lac des Singes (Monkey Lake) a parody of the romantic ballet, Le Lac des Cygnes (Swan Lake), even if the title came from a slip of the tongue when Hans, a native Dutch-speaker, faced a Parisian journalist interviewing him in French on his background in classical dance and he confused cygnes with singes. “Zoos often pride themselves on ensuring the survival of a particular kind of animal. But what kind of survival is it? The chimpanzee is the animal closest to us in the evolutionary scale – its behaviour has many common features with that of humans, more crude, more coarse, less psychologically refined with its share of positive and negative sophistication. Aristotle described man as a political animal, capable of strategies that make some the manipulators and others the manipulated. Machiavelli described these refinements very well. This material was my starting point. It’s up to us now to physically recreate the dialogues and conflict involved and above all to enable the appropriate rhythms to seep into the space on stage. A person’s rhythm says a lot about him or her – it divulges his or her state. Facing the actor-dancers will be an orchestra of dolls like an audience of judges, a cruel audience whose mouths and eyes will be heavily accentuated. If Le Lac des Singes becomes a symphony, the instruments will be bodies, its polyphony will be spatial, anchored in reality according to the logic of dreams… .”

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