In the 21st century the notion of death is very present. New incurable diseases are haunting us, suicide rates are increasing yearly, climate change calls forth images of apocalypses. How can we cope with the idea of death? How would a dance of death be danced today?
Dances of Death is a physically intense performance with seven dancers and one singer. We encounter a community coming together on stage to commemorate death. The performers evoke a ritual in which they time travel through different associations to dances of death, from the distant past to more recent history. Building upon the ashes of the past, they dance, they breathe, they cry, they laugh, they sing, in a cycle between life and death. The dance material is based on three short 16mm videos that choreographer Michiel Vandevelde inherited from his mother. Her dance consists of movements with influences from social, folkloristic, and modern dances. With this performance, Vandevelde wants to bring people together and connect them through their sadness or fear in relation to death, in a very tangible and physical way.
Michiel Vandevelde studied dance and choreography at P.A.R.T.S., Brussels. He is active as a choreographer, curator and writer. Political and artistic activism is the common thread running through his work. In his work he investigates the elements that constitute or obstruct the contemporary public sphere. He explores which other social, economic and cultural alternatives we can imagine in order to question, challenge and transform dominant logics and ways of organizing. As a curator, Vandevelde has worked for Bâtard festival, Precarious Pavilions, and he is currently connected to Arts Centre DE SINGEL. From 2017 to 2021 Michiel Vandevelde is artist in residence at Kaaitheater, Brussels.
Choreography: Michiel Vandevelde
Dance: Amanda Barrio Charmelo, Júlia Rúbies Subirós, Samuel Baidoo, Hanako Hayakawa, Audrey Merilus, Robson Ledesma, Mario Barrantes Espinoza
Vocalist: Kara Leva
Masks: Heide Vanderieck
Costumes: Ester Manas
Dramaturgy: Esther Severi
Rehearsal director: Jara Vlaeminckx
Arrangement ‘When I am Laid’: Emmanuel Michaud
Lights, sound, set, text: Michiel Vandevelde
Technique: Maarten Snoeck
Production: Disagree. vzw
Financial Management: Klein Verzet vzw
Co-production: December Dance (Cultuurcentrum and Concertgebouw Brugge), Kaaitheater, Kunstenwerkplaats, KAAP, Stuk, PACT Zollverein
Residencies: CC De Factorij, Dans in Brugge, Kaaitheater, Kunstenwerkplaats
With the support of: The Flemish Government and VGC
Photo: Illias Teirlinck
Visit in collaboration: Espoon Kaupunginteatteri
Visit supported by: Finnish Institute Benelux, Flanders – Embassy of Belgium