9, 10, 11/05 – 20:30

12/05 – 18:00


One of the most important dance figures in Belgium, Pierre Droulers is a choreographer who composes his pieces by following a primarily sensorial logic. Treating bodies and movement as well as objects, sounds, light and space as plastic material, he sculpts remarkable stage objects in which emptiness is confronted with fullness, presence with absence, life with death and exhilaration with melancholy. For his new work, it is light – philosophically and physically – that he invites on stage: light all the way to the incandescent ecstasy of the sun, but also light waiting in darkness; light diffracted in matter, but also the kind that irradiates bodies. He revisits the burning energy of carnivalesque rituals and processions. Set in a captivatingly beautiful stage space, Soleils reaffirms the fire of life in the face of the grimace of history.

Created by
Pierre Droulers (in collaboration with the dancers)

Yoann Boyer, Malika Djardi, Stanislav Dobak, Youness Khoukhou, Renan Martins, Benjamin Pohlig, Peter Savel, Jonathan Schatz, Katrien Vandergooten

Artistic collaborator
Yuji Oshima

Beth Gibbons, Eric Thielemans

Lighting design
Pierre Droulers, Marc Lhommel

Jean-Paul Lespagnard


Artistic assistance & sound design
Arnaud Meuleman

Assistant choreography
Michel Yang

Technical direction
Marc Lhommel

Alice Dussart, Philippe Fortaine

Benoit Pelé

Aurore Labrosse

Stage construction
Maurizo Pipitone

Thanks to
Jean-Biche, Benoit Caussé, Gwenaël Laroche, Sylvie Mélis, Wagner Schwartz, Rebecca Chaillon

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Charleroi Danses/La Raffinerie

Charleroi Danses, Centre chorégraphique de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Festival de Marseille, NEXT Festival

Pierre Droulers is associate artist at Charleroi Danses, the Choreographic Centre of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation

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Interview with Pierre Droulers

With this new creation, Pierre Droulers continues his exploration of movement, articulating it in a reflection on light. The pleasure and freedom of dance is confronted with questions about the presence, creation and manipulation of light sources.

For the first time (with the exception of the Multum in Parvo experience) you're embarking on a new work with a large number of performers. What are the reasons for this?
You generally create in quite standards formats of five to seven people. Five people are the dimension of a hand for me. I can approach each individual and the piece comes together like that. I think a large number - a group, the representation of groups in general - is needed for this new project. If there are ten or so people, I feel you can draw another type of energy from it, energy from ten bodies that come to life among themselves. This allows an emulation and flow to be created which I hope for this piece will unfold in one single movement. It will be about a time continually sustained by moments of suspensions. Working with a large group allows you to change masks and attitudes and generate the feeling of a crowd, a corpus. In our system of information overload and networks, you really have to go deeply into groups to reach one person. People themselves increasingly want to be associated with groups. This poses the question: does the quality of the group match the entity of the individual? For all these reasons, I'm interested in the symbol of the group in this piece.

As part of this project you're undertaking research into light. It's one of your main preoccupations, both personally and professionally. What are the angle or angles you want to tackle here?
The question of light goes back to childhood for me (a fascination with magic lanterns and shadows) as much as it does to the philosophical question of the myth of the cave. Are we lights, appearances or reflections? I generally have a feeling quite quickly for the part played by shadow in light. Goethe said: "Clarity is a proper distribution of light and shadow". There are several ways of tackling the subject. First, acknowledge that you put on the light to see things. Then in this piece we want movement to create light. Working so that the dancers themselves produce light. Lastly, the question of light and visibility goes hand in hand with that of darkness and invisibility. In darkness, light is always in waiting. We're therefore going to question the possibilities of light both practically and technically, delving into the world of appearance and apparition. I imagine that the piece will follow all the figures and apparitions in one single movement. At the same time shadow will be working on it from the inside.

On this question of light, two poems have provided you with inspiration for the creation: Emily Dickinson's There's a certain slant of light and Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas.
Yes, these two poems are symbolic. On the one hand we have Emily Dickinson who finds greater clarity in dissolution and extinction. For her, the more the candle dims, the better you see. Like when you whisper to get people to listen harder. On the other hand with Dylan Thomas there's this rage at living, this refusal of death and extinction. It's the kind of rock'n'roll attitude you find in artists like Johnny Rotten, the Last Poets or Jimi Hendrix. A vehemence of faith, of inner light. They live life on the edge and are consumed by it. This incandescence can also be found in Emily Dickinson. Anger and melancholy go hand in glove with one another. I like working with these paradoxes, this movement that exists between the two poems, the two visions, and that ultimately come together in a form of ecstasy and spirituality.

This group piece brings pleasure back to movement.
My creation has been influenced by our recent trip to Brazil on tour with de l'air et du vent and my vision of Marcel Camus's film Orfeu Negro. These two experiences gave me the desire again to see bodies fired up and in unison for the pure joy of the energy you can only feel in a group. It's a reminder of dance as the body's expression of joy. What's fun for the dancers is this unison. Feeling that they're no longer doing something, but are in the being of the body which moves and then proclaims its pleasure. It involves physicality, and that goes beyond the mental state and performance. It's closer to ecstasy, the need to come out of yourself and have a great time.

You're using bunraku, Japanese puppet theatre, once again in this new process, something you refer to in de l'air et du vent.
Bunraku is about manipulation. Who is authentic in which group? Does the group form the individual or vice versa? It's interesting too because it poses the question of the origin of movement: where does movement come from? What's animating a moving body? And then I have this image running through my head today: "the need for beauty in the face of the grimace of history". Using bunraku, we are going to develop a moment of carnival, a kind of farandole, a procession of grimaces or lights. We're going to play with the metamorphosis of bodies. Manipulation allows us to create this game, modify the characters. It's also why there have to be a lot of us on stage so that we can revisit the mythologies of carnival, whether it's the carnival in Rio or Binche or even James Ensor's Christ's Entry into Brussels. This links up with our need to come out of ourselves by staging new rituals and celebrations.

Interview by Fabienne Aucant

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After Mudra, Pierre Droulers (b. 1951) continued his training with Grotowski and Robert Wilson, discovering the work of the Judson Church group and Steve Paxton in 1978. He has choreographed several projects, including a two-part work inspired by James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake (Comme si on était leurs petits poucets, 1991 and Jamais de l’abîme in 1993) as well as with Steve Lacy (Hedges), Sherryl Sutton (Tao), the future Grand Magasin (Tips), Minimal Compact (Pieces for nothing), Winston Tong and Sussan Deyhim (Miserere). Mountain/Fountain (1995), De l’Air et du Vent(1996) and MA (2000) were created from his collaboration with the artists Michel François, Ann Veronica Janssens and Yuji Oshima. The question of the form and construction of a work has led to abstraction, removing the theatricality that hindered him. Petites Formes, which questions the individual, and the collective piece Multum in Parvo were created in 1997 and 1998 respectively. In 2001, he took to the stage again with Sames, a duet in collaboration with Stefan Dreher, and created Inouï in 2004. After Flowers, a piece for eight dancers created during the Charleroi Danses Biennale and the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in 2007, and All in All, commissioned by the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, Pierre Droulers presented Walk Talk Chalk at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in 2009. In 2010, he recreated De l’Air et du Vent which he presented in May 2011 at the Théâtre de la Cité internationale in Paris. The piece is still touring. Pierre Droulers is now associate artist at Charleroi Danses, the Choreographic Centre of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

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