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