“A performance of a rare intelligence with very little means.” —Le Figaro, France
Jérôme Bel is back! Notorious for his hotly debated conceptual dance, Parisian provocateur/innovator Bel turned the Twin Cities dance world on its head in 2005 with his highly celebrated The show must go on. This season, in a frequently funny and intimate dance dialogue, Bel and classical Thai dance master Pichet Klunchun—two artists from radically different worlds—come together to perform Pichet Klunchun and Myself on Wednesday–Thursday, November 14–15, at 8 pm in the Walker Art Center’s William and Nadine McGuire Theater. A fascinating exchange of ideas and movement results in an understated conceptual performance that revels in our common humanity.
Born in 1964, Jérôme Bel lives in Paris and works worldwide. He studied at the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine of Angers (France) during the 1984/1985 season and from 1985 to 1991 danced for many choreographers in France and Italy (Angelin Preljocaj, Bouvier/Obadia, Daniel Larrieu, and Caterina Sagna). In 1992, he was assistant to the director and choreographer Philippe Découflé for the ceremonies of the XVIth Winter Olympic Games of Albertville and Savoie (France).
Bel’s dance works include Nom donné par l’auteur (1994); Jérôme Bel (1995), performed entirely with nude performers; Shirtology (1997), a commission by the Centro Cultural de Bèlem (Lisbon) and Victoria (Ghent, Belgium), which was restaged in 2000 with Japanese performers in Kyoto and Tokyo wearing t-shirts bearing popular slogans.
The show must go on (2001), which brought together a cast of 20 performers, 19 pop songs, and one DJ, was in the repertory of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg between 2000 and 2005.
Following a year-long sabbatical in 2003, Bel collaborated with Alain Platel, curator of the Klapstuk Festival in Leuven (Belgium). In 2004, he created a theatrical documentary on dancer Veronique Doisneau for the Paris Opera ballet before working in Bangkok with curator Tang Fu Kuen to produce Pichet Klunchun and Myself (2005) with Pichet Klunchun. His Isabel Torres (2005), for the ballet of the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro, is the Brazilian version of the production for the Paris Opera. Bel received a Bessie Award for the performances of The show must go on in New York in 2005.
Pichet Klunchun, a Thai classical dance artist who adapts the traditional works of Thai classical dance to a more contemporary style, is revered as an innovative artist, who dares to adjust the dance culture in Thailand from the traditional old style to a newer and more modernized version. He trained for the Thai classical mask dance, khon, from the age of 16 with Chaiyot Khummanee, one of the best khon masters in Thailand. He received his undergraduate major in classical Thai dance at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. He performed and choreographed for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1998, and has participated in several intercultural performing arts programs as a representative for Thai classical dance artists and as an international choreographer. In 2001 he was awarded a scholarship from the Asian Cultural Council that allowed him to be in residence in the U.S. In addition, he has performed in international productions, including Search: Hamlet in 2002 in Denmark, and The Global Soul in 2003-2004 in many European countries.
Klunchun has recently established his own LifeWork Company and trains young dancers with strong Thai classical dance backgrounds in more modern techniques.
Tickets to Jérôme Bel and Pichet Klunchun’s Pichet Klunchun and Myself are $22 ($18 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.