In this week’s Time Out New York, Gia Kourlas talks with dancer Cedric Andrieux about working with Merce Cunningham, Lyon Opera Ballet, Trisha Brown, and, of course, the eponymous solo that choreographer Jérôme Bel is bringing to The Joyce stage Sep 18-19, as part of the Crossing the Line festival.
During a recent presentation about the choreographer, writer Andre Lepecki asked, “What happens when dance suspends dancing from the performance?” Jérôme Bel has been researching this and other such questions since he presented his first work non donne par l’auteur, a choreography of objects, in 1994. One reaction from an audience member and Bel’s reflection on the audience response is reported in this article, which appeared in Dance Magazine in 2004.
Bel’s second work, Jerome Bel (1995), is based on the total nudity of the performers. The third, Shirtology (1997), which was commissioned by the Centro Cultural de Belem (Lisbon) and Victoria (Ghent), presents an actor wearing many shop-bought T-shirts. A Japanese version of the piece was produced in Kyoto and Tokyo in 2000.
Following these pieces, Bel created The last performance (1998), which – by referencing a solo by the German choreographer Susanne Linke, Hamlet and André Agassi – tries to define an ontology of performance.
Xavier Le Roy (2000) was claimed by Jérôme Bel as his own, but was actually choreographed by the French choreographer Xavier Le Roy.
The show must go on (2001) brought together a cast of twenty performers, nineteen pop songs and one DJ. The piece was in the repertory of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg between 2000 and 2005. It is also in the repertory of the Lyon Opera Ballet from 2007 until 2014. In 2005, Bel received a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for the New York performances of The show must go on.
In 2004, Bel was invited to produce a piece for the Paris Opera Ballet: Veronique Doisneau (2004), a theatrical documentary on the work of the dancer Véronique Doisneau, from the ballet corps of that company. Isabel Torres, which Bel created in 2005 for the ballet of the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro, has been called the Brazilian version of Véronique Doisneau.
In 2005, Bel was invited to work in Bangkok with the curator Tang Fu Kuen and produced Pichet Klunchun & myself with the Thai traditional dancer Pichet Klunchun. This production features Klunchun and Bel engaging in discourse about their own artistic practices despite the abyssal cultural gap dividing them. In 2008, Bel and Klunchun received the Routes Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity bestowed by the European Cultural Foundation for Pichet Klunchun & myself.
In 2009, along with Cédric Andrieux, Bel produced Lutz Förster as part of a series of performances that questions the experience and the knowledge of performers. Lutz Förster worked with Susanne Linke, Pina Bausch, the Limon Dance Company, and Bob Wilson.
In 2010, with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Bel created 3 Abschied, a performance based on “The Song of the Earth” by Gustav Malher.