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Fascinated as a youth by the agility and bodily mastery of Bruce Lee, the choreographer decided to approach the Shaolin monks and put them on stage in a show where dance and martial arts are combined and complete each other, eventually becoming inseparable. On stage, 17 Buddhist monks from the Shaolin temple brilliantly showcase elements of t'ai chi, kung fu and contemporary dance. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is exploring new ground. He designed this piece as the dream of a child fascinated by martial arts. He has joined forces with the sculptor Antony Gormley, who has designed an astonishing set decoration for the occasion. This dance piece, which is at once profoundly hypnotic, entertaining and athletic, presents a stunning confrontation of East and West and questions both the conflict of generations and cultures and our view of the world and
'Sutra' is a form of travel journal which led Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui to one of the sources of his inspiration: the Shaolin temple in China, the birthplace of kung fu. In this mythical place, we come across the ghost of Bruce Lee and one of the most elaborate forms of bodily thought in the world, monastic spirituality and the practice of martial arts.
Working on-site at the Henan monastery, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui sought a dual initiation: he learnt the movements, rituals, rhythms and intuitions of the monks of the Shaolin temple, while offering them a contemporary choreographic framework made up of other capacities of the body, other speeds and musicalities. This exchange, made into a show on stage, resembles the learning process of a new language, written between East and West, that respects the tradition of kung fu and gives it an original point of view. It is as though we are being taken to the very origins of an art form that is also a lifestyle. The body and its energy – mastered, liberated, vital, animal – bring the stage alive in 'Sutra', where seventeen Shaolin monks surround Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in a choreography that avoids folkloric reconstitution in order to better reinvent a philosophy of life through its paces and pauses, its bursts and withdrawals, its apparent vivacity and its internal relaxation, its animal inspiration and its spiritual desires. British artist Antony Gormley has composed the visual and scenographic aspect of this world, while the Polish musician Szymon Brzóska has created his most intimate, revelatory piece, between impulsive rhythm and melancholic wisdom. In this strange area, where bodies draw on all available means while conserving the soothing powers of meditation, a physical language is written, made up of tradition and modernity, substance and the imaginary, that aims to build a bridge between a civilisation and the eyes discovering it; a maiden voyage that leads to the beauty of movement.
Cherkaoui, Sidi Larbi
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s debut as a choreographer was in 1999 with Andrew Wale’s contemporary musical Anonymous Society. Since then, he has made more than 20 fully-fledged choreographic pieces and picked up a slew of prestigious awards.
In 2008, Sadler’s Wells named him as an Associate Artist, and since 2010 he has been artistic director of the Festival Equilibrio in Rome. He also has been appointed as the new artistic director of the Royal Ballet Flanders and will take up the post on 1 September 2015.
While Cherkaoui’s initial pieces ("Rien de Rien", "Foi", "Tempus Fugit") were made as a core member of the Belgian collective les ballets C de la B, he also made work that both expanded and consolidated his artist vision: "Ook" (2000) with Nienke Reehorst and the mentally disabled actors of Theater Stap, "D’avant" (2002) with Damien Jalet and dancer-singers of the Sasha Waltz & Guests company and zero degrees (2005) with Akram Khan. Between 2006-2009, during his stint as associate artist at Het Toneelhuis in Antwerp, he extended his exploration of the equations between self and otherness through "Sutra" (2008), his dialogue with the warrior monks of the Shaolin Temple and "Dunas" (2009) alongside flamenco bailaora, Maria Pagés, and "Play" (2010) with kutchipudi danseuse Shantala Shivalingappa.
In 2010, with the founding of his company Eastman (in residence at deSingel International Artcampus) in Antwerp, Cherkaoui began a new phase in his trajectory, marked by the multiple-award-winning Babel, co-choreographed with Damien Jalet and designed by Antony Gormley. "TeZukA" (2011) – his homage to Osamu Tezuka, the founding father of modern manga – and "Puz/zle" (2012) followed. 2013 saw the premiere of 4D and "生长genesis" (Eastman), "Boléro" (co-created with Damien Jalet and Marina Abramovic, for the Ballet of the Opera of Paris) and "M¡longa" (for Sadler’s Wells).
He continues to work with a variety of theatres, opera houses and ballet companies from the world (Dutch National Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, GöteborgsOperan Danskompani, Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon in Tokyo, Stuttgart Ballet. Los Angeles Dance Company). Cherkaoui also received much international acclaim for his choreography in Joe Wright’s feature film Anna Karenina (2012). Cherkaoui directed and choreographed Shell Shock (2014), an opera for La Monnaie (Brussels) with music by Nicholas Lens and text by Nick Cave.
In 2015, Cherkaoui directed his first full-length theatre production Pluto based on the award-winning manga series by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki at Bunkamura in Tokyo, bringing
the beloved manga character Astro Boy to life on stage, and was movement director for Lyndsey Turner's Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch at the Barbican Centre in London. He also made a trio Harbor Me, and choreographed a new Firebird for Stuttgart Ballet. In the same year, Cherkaoui created a new production Fractus V for his company Eastman, in which he also performs, and made his first work for the Royal Ballet of Flanders Fall.
Cherkaoui assumed the role of artistic director at the Royal Ballet of Flanders in 2015. He is also associate artist at Sadler’s Wells, London, guest artistic director of the National Youth Dance Company, as well as dance director of Festival Equilibrio in Rome.
Source: Eastman⎜Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
More information : east-man.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
Artistic direction / Conception : Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Choreography : Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Choreography assistance : Ali Thabet, Damien Fournier
Interpretation : Ali Thabet, Chen qi, dong Ganglong, Chen Xianglu, Wang dezhi, dou Shipeng, Guan Tingdong, Hu Jun, Guo Chenglong, kang Wei, Liu Shijie, Jiahao Huang, Jiang Hao, Li Xin, Song Xingping, Li yongmeng, Liu yangqun, Wang Jingfei, Li Chengbin, Wu Yuanhang, Yan Kunnan
Stage direction : Lou Cope, An-Marie Lambrechts (aides)
Original music : Szymon Brzóska (composition), Szymon Brzóska (Piano), Emilia Goch, Olga Wojciechowska (Violon), Laura Anstee (Violoncelle), Raimund Wunderlich (Percussions)
Lights : Ben Nichols, Adam Carrée (consultant)
Costumes : Leila ransley
Sound : Jon Beattie
Other collaborations : Antony Gormley (création plastique), Izzy Perrin (Régisseur plateau), Simon young (Régisseur charpentier), Zhang Lifei (Manager et traducteur du Temple)
Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Production Sadler’s Wells (Londres) / Coproduction Festival d’Athènes, Festival Grec (Barcelone), Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, la Monnaie (Bruxelles), Festival d’Avignon, Fondazione Musica per Roma et la Shaolin cultural communications Company / Sadler’s Wells Suzanne Walker (production executive), Dawn Prentice (Chef de tournée), Sandra Castell-Garcia (Productrice adjointe), Isabelle drummond (Coordinatrice de production et de tournée), Georgia Kersh (Stagiaire pour la production et la tournée), Hisashi Itoh (Production originale et producteur associé), Maître Shi yongxin (Directeur général du Temple de Shaolin, moine de Shaolin), Maître Shi yan zhuang (Chef des moines guerriers), Qian Daliang (Directeur général Shaolin intangible assets Management co.ltd)
Production / Coproduction of the video work : Maison de la Danse - 2015
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