Since a couple of years, Flemish choreographer Ugo Dehaes is fascinated by the person behind the dancer. For this research he gathers large groups to work on very physical performances.
Last season he portrayed eight female dancers in 'WOMEN', all aged between 30 and 60. The response was overwhelmingly positive and show got rightfully selected for Het Theaterfestival.
For 'Grafted' Ugo Dehaes gathered 5 dance-couples to work on an even bigger show. These couples work together for years - most of them are also together as a couple in real life - and in 'Grafted' they work only and always with each other. They are completely fused together, comparable to an organ that is sewn into a new host-body or a branch grafted to an old tree.
The dancers work hard to defy gravity, playing with the mechanics of ballet or even acrobatics. But throughout this spectacular choreography we mainly see people struggling with each other and themselves to keep their relation alive.
Expect a powerful, but sober show with a wink to the earlier, more visual work of Ugo's oeuvre.
In de alom geprezen dansvoorstelling "WOMEN" portretteerde choreograaf Ugo Dehaes 8 danseressen tussen 34 en 56 jaar oud. In "GIRLS" ontmoet je 8 nieuwe persoonlijkheden: in al hun kracht, in al hun kwetsbaarheid. Deze keer staan er geen ervaren vrouwen op scène, maar 8 meisjes tussen 10 en 14 jaar.
After the success of the duet couple-like (2006*) - this collaboration with Keren Levi was performed over 100 times - and the magical composite piece FORCES (2008**), belgian choreographer Ugo Dehaes teamed up with eight female dancers to create WOMEN.
Marie De Corte, Karin Vyncke, Ida De Vos, Natscha Pire, Louise Chardon, Sayaka Kaiwa, Kayoko Minami and Miryam Garcia Mariblanca perform very physical material and awkward situations. Ugo molds their movements and determens their breath in such a way that the audience can actually feel this piece under their skin, live it along with the dancers.
Departing from a male perspective, these women show different aspect of them being a group, but at the same time the choreography allows the personality of the dancers, women in their 30's, 40's or 50's, to float up and become bright clear, and to give a true female touch to this performance.
* The strongest contact that is imaginable. The movements are very inventive. It is fascinating to see which positions, challenges and confrontations that are possible between these two people. (Leidsch Dagblad about couple-like)
** Ugo Dehaes manages to put a fresh mark on pure scientific abstract matters. He always succeeds at touching choreographies which are extremely pure, playful and poetic. (De Standaard about FORCES)
FORCES is dance piece that is inspired by the four universal forces that keep our world together: gravity, electro-magnetism, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force.
Flemish choreographer ugo dehaes worked over a period of one year with many dancers during very short periods (mostly two weeks) to create scenes that translate physics into powerful physical scenes and amazing images.
Each show of FORCES is presented as a collection of short stories: all scenes are shown independently. The playlist varies from venue to venue, and is often chosen in collaboration with the programmer of the inviting theatre.
Who support who? that's the big question in the dynamic duet Couple-like #2. To hold on or to let go, to support or to drop; two young dancers enter this intimate battle with each other. Is this an embrace full of love, or a never ending, exhausting struggle? The two keep on trying to meet each other, but their physical togetherness leads literally to constriction.
Choreographers Ugo Dehaes and Keren Levi made Couple-Like in 2006, after they bumped into each other and became interested in each other's work. The show was a hit and traveled both in the Netherlands as abroad through many venues and festivals. Now Het Lab Utrecht and Theatergroep DOX asked Deheas en Levi for a new version of this piece for a young audience. The result is an intimate performance by two professional dancers from the ranks of DOX.
In the creation of couple-like, Keren and Ugo had to deal with the initial discomfort of not knowing each other while working on what can be described as a "physical" piece.
By starting from kinesthetic propositions they explore different types of physical interactions which propose couple-like-situations .
These couple-like-situations are never played-out but are emerging through the eyes of the observer who is invited into their intimate world of trust, friction and tenderness.
Couple-like is a journey of two people searching to be 'as one', of two strangers that are trying to meet over and over again and of Ugo and Keren facing each other, observing in the other what each of them is not.
"I'm sticking with you 'cause I'm made out of glue" Lou Reed
early 2001 meg (damaged goods) proposed me to participate at a 'master test for young artists' organised by the 'vlaams bouwmeester' (this is the organization that is responsible for all buildings built by the flemisch government, directed by bob van reeth).
in this test 5 young artists were asked to propose an idea or concept for an artwork in close relation to one of the architectonic projects, which were being realised for brugge, cultural capital of europe in 2002.
i choose to work in relation to a new bridge over the canal coupure. for this location jorg conzett and his team designed an extraordinary bridge for pedestrians and bickers.
the architect's mission was to develop a bridge, able to let pass some pleasure-yachts in summer, without dramatically change the skyline of brugge or the intimacy of the neighborhood. so conzett invented a new kind of bridge: 4 enormous (6 meters high) pillars support 2 long metal tubes (80 cm diameter). the actual bridge, made out of oak, hangs suspended by iron cables from the 2 tubes. to open/close the bridge, the tubes turn around their axis, shortening/lengthening the cables and thus raising/lowering the bridge.
the work i designed, coupure, consists of a wooden man cut horizontally in 19 spots, dividing him in 20 parts. together this body discs take the image of a person, stretched out on his stomach. each disc is attached to a system of engines and wheels by means of 2 metal cables. every time a visitor passes by, the engines start to turn, so that the statue starts to dance his way up. one all the way up, the whole is lowered to its initional position, ready to start all over.. the choreography will last for about 1min 20 sec, the time the bridge needs to open or close.
thanks to the flemisch government (dienst waterwegen kust), coupure has been presented to the public on november 8th 2002, accompanied by a performance inspired by coupure and the bridge.
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I HAVE BEEN
I HAVE BEEN is a short experimental piece that ugo made in collaboration with his family during a residency at STUK, leuven.
it combines a video installation with live-performance.
I HAVE BEEN questions the themes of aging, loneliness, dependency and dissapearance.
I HAVE BEEN could be created thanks to the help of SACD, 1500 hours to dance.
Rozenblad is a story in pictures about growth and change, about bodies budding,
burgeoning, and blossoming.
This purely aesthetic production conjures up its own unique universe of movement, atmosphere, sounds, and slow
rhythms, a world that gradually draws the spectators into its depths. It is a real dance production, in the sense that it stimulates the imagination of the audience to interpret and fill out the images. Beautiful! (Tuur Devens in De Bond)
Ugo Dehaes has certainly found an interesting
way of making contemporary dance accessible to a very young audience, without oversimplifying things, and without losing any of its abstract
expressiveness. (Elke Van Campenhout in De Standaard)
ROEST [rust] is a piece in which I would like to show two bodies confronted to a machine. by using this machine I want to explore the possible physical borders of the human body, and to push them further.
the machine will manipulate the body that it contains, will try to push it in all sort of shapes, but is conducted itself by a second body.
the focus is on the relation between the two bodies, one manipulating the other; the questions that arise are following: can we possess someone else's body, what are the consequences of a complete dependence on the decisions someone else makes, when does a body loses its function of body and what happens if we consider it as an object, how do we react if things go terribly wrong?
in LIJFSTOF [2000, collaboration with charlotte vanden eynde] I investigated the relation body-object, and the possibilities of the body as an object.
in ROEST [rust] I would like to go one step further: to create body-images by investigating the relation between two bodies.
ROEST [rust] will be a story of two bodies connected and abused by a stone cold machine. two bodies trapped in a spiral of continuous decay, trying to liberate themselves of their rusted minds.the inspiration for ROEST [rust] can be found in the freak show, where people thread human bodies in a very object oriented way, where people often are exhibited and manipulated against their own will.
important for me is this dark atmosphere of the freak show, not the spectacular-painful.
for the creation of the machine I found inspiration in the ''machine célibataire''. this is a term, originally used by marcel duchamp for his le grand verre, for a collection of often unreal or imaginary machines, in which certain contrasts have an important role: the male vs. the female, sexual vs. mechanical, life vs. death.
'' My body, which is visible and mobile, belongs in the world of things; it is one of them, is incorporated the fabric of the world and its cohesion is that of a thing. But because it sees and moves, it also keeps things in a circle around it, they become an annex or extension of it, nestle in its flesh, are part of its complete definition, and the world is composed of the body''s substance itself. '' (Merleau - Ponty)
Lijfstof is a performance by and about bodies. It arose from the attempt to combine our bodies with objects in order to say something more about ourselves, about the body, about humans and how they live in the world and deal with it.
Like a child's drawing, the performance consists of images which are created on impulse and whose import is not fixed.
Among other things, the body is reduced to a hunk of meat and canned like a thing. Only the essence remains: the body is a piece of skin covering a mass. In its complete form it comprise a trunk, a head, 2 legs and 2 arms, 10 toes and 10 fingers. This image is familiar to us. But how alien is this image really, how repulsive and yet beautiful, and how vulnerable?
We think we know the body as an instrument too, but we are not always aware of its functions and our control of them is limited. We can be endlessly surprised by our bodies. By our arms, for instance, intermediaries between ourselves and the world. They can manipulate things according to our will. But things leave their traces on our bodies as well: red lines as silent witnesses of the contact between bodies and things.
Like all things, humans are just a part of the world and their place in it is determined by sociological patterns.They are able to communicate according to certain codes. But this self-expression always remains incomplete and open to interpretation.
Humans are invisible under their packaging, their disguise, but at the same time they are their packaging. This contradictory fact leaves us confused.