New York Premiere
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Performance • Ages 7 & up • 90 mins
For Gala, a cast of twenty New Yorkers get dressed up in their sequined best to pull together their most enthusiastic moves. In true Jérôme Bel style, ranging from 8 to 80 years old, some performers are professional dancers, while others are dancing on stage for the first time. Through their movement, the gentle humanity of each performer lights up this inspired production.
Jérôme Bel, the “mischievously entertaining” (The Guardian) French choreographer, explores the relationship between choreography and popular culture, dancer and audience, often using humor to break the formality of a theatrical performance. His approachable, playful work asks questions that may also be on kids’ minds—what is dance? Who gets to be a dancer?
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
566 LaGuardia Place,
New York, NY 10012
Co-presented with NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
Production: R.B. Jérôme Bel (Paris)
Co-production: Dance Umbrella (London), TheaterWorks Singapore/72-13, KunstenFestivaldesArts (Brussels), Tanzquartier Wien, Nanterre-Amandiers Centre Dramatique National, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Theater Chur (Chur) and TAK Theater Liechtenstein (Schaan) – TanzPlan Ost, Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia, Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), La Commune Centre dramatique national d’Aubervilliers, Tanzhaus nrw (Düsseldorf), House on Fire with the support of the European Union cultural program
With the support of: Centre National de la Danse (Pantin) and Ménagerie de Verre (Paris) in the framework of Studiolab for providing studio spaces
About the Artist
In his early pieces, Jérôme Bel applied structuralist operations to dance in order to single out primary elements from the theatrical spectacle. The neutralization of formal criteria and the distance he took from choreographic language led him to reduce his pieces to their operative minimum, the better to bring out a critical reading of the economy of the stage, and of the body on it. His interest subsequently shifted from dance as a staged practice to the issue of the performer as a particular individual. The series of portraits of dancers (Véronique Doisneau, Cédric Andrieux…) broaches dance through the narrative of those who practice it, emphasizes words in a dance spectacle, and stresses the issue of the singularity of the stage. Here, formal and institutional criticism takes the form of a deconstruction through discourse, in a subversive gesture which radicalizes its relation to choreography. Through his use of biography, Jérôme Bel politicizes his questions, aware as he is of the crisis involving the subject in contemporary society and the forms its representation takes on stage. In embryonic form in The show must go on, he deals with questions about what the theatre can be in a political sense—questions which come to the fore from Disabled Theater on. In offering the stage to non-traditional performers (amateurs, people with physical and mental handicaps, children…), he shows a preference for the community of differences over the formatted group, and a desire to dance over choreography, and duly applies the methods of a process of emancipation through art. He has been invited to contemporary art biennials and museums (Tate Modern, MoMA, Documenta 13, the Louvre…), where he has put on performances and shown films. Two of them, Véronique Doisneau and Shirtology, are in the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne-Centre Pompidou. Jérôme Bel is regularly invited to give lectures at universities (Waseda, UCLA, Stanford…). In 2013, together with the choreographer Boris Charmatz, he co-authored Emails 2009-2010, which was published by Les Presses du Réel. In 2005, Jérôme Bel received a Bessie Award for the performances of The show must go on given in New York. Three years later, with Pichet Klunchun, he won the Routes Princesse Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity (European Cultural Foundation) for the performance Pichet Klunchun and myself. Disabled Theater was chosen in 2013 for the Theatertreffen in Berlin and won the Swiss “present-day dance creation” prize.