Choreographer Wim Vandekeybus offers distinct but unfamiliar world for Brighton Festival

In TrapTown, renowned Belgian choreographer Wim Vandekeybus has created a distinct but unfamiliar world riven by a long-running conflict.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 8:05 am

But it is a world where the sparks of freedom are emerging – as you can find out at this year’s Brighton Festival when the show plays Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Tuesday, May 21 at 7.30pm.

Joining forces with architect duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, Wim is promising a rich dance land-scape that continues to look at the universal appeal of myth — an idea his works have continued to investigate since Blush in 2002 and more recently in Oedipus/bêt noir in 2011. Using a variety of artforms – dance, film, spoken word and an original musical score by Trixie Whitley and Phoenician Drive – he will create for Brighton a complex, multimedia alternative reality which will move audiences from catharsis to euphoria.

“It is a piece I have been preparing for a long time,” says Wim. “I wanted to work with mytholo-gy but with a rewritten mythology, not an existing mythology. I wanted to invent a new mythol-ogy. It is drama. We wanted elements of ancient mythology for the base of the show which is dancers and actors and musicians and also cinematography. I like to work with actors, but at the same time you have got dancers on the side, and the cinema is part of the live action.

“The basic idea is that we have a town where there are two groups living and one group is op-pressing the other, which is a very classical theme, but in a very simple story. There is this town and I worked with these architects that designed a labyrinth in Genk. The labyrinth for me was like a sci-fi town where there is no exit, and I said did they want to collaborate on the design. We have also designed the top view from the labyrinth which is the backdrop to the show.

“So you have these two groups and one is oppressing the other. For years and years, they have been oppressing them. There is a mayor, and his son has taken up for the oppressed people. I wanted the whole thing to be very general. I don’t want people to be thinking that it is about now. It is not gender oppression. It is not race oppression. We wanted to make it a kind of neu-tral oppression by the fact that the son of the mayor is played by a girl. We wanted to have an oppression that is more of an attitude, more of a physicality really.”

Wim says “We don’t perform so much in the England”, but he certainly enjoys it: “We were at Sadlers Wells before. I think we are coming to Brighton because the curator of the festival is a woman that we knew, Rokia (Traore, the 2019 Brighton Festival guest director). She was resi-dent in the theatre where we were working.

“But I think it is very interesting to work in the UK. It is fantastic. Most shows are in English. We don’t have to have subtitles like you might for Spanish or Italian, and in English you can just make that connection.”

The venue is also offering a Wim Vandekeybus masterclass in The Studio on Tuesday, May 2, 10.30am-1pm. The masterclass is for advanced dancers (18-plus). Participants will explore the oeuvre of Ultima Vez and the dance language of Wim Vandekeybus through improvisations, contact and partner work.