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"What does Dabke mean to you?" was one of the first main questions around Palestinian folk dance, which is at the centre of the collaboration of the work by the choreographers Koen Augustijnen, Rosalba Torres Guerrero (Les Ballets C de la B) and the dramaturge Hildegard De Vuyst (KVS). This question is directed at ten Palestinian artists and dancers with a varied background in movement. Together they explored the line dance danced at weddings and festivals in the Middle East for its integrative power and researched the possibility of charging this canonised dance with new content.
In the course of the working process Dabke turned into the title Badke. The rearrangement of the letters already betrays something about the transformation that Dabke underwent – the creation of something self-contained but nevertheless referring back to a shared tradition – that is close to the collective element that is close to or inherent in traditional dance but which still alienates it.
Dabke means something like stamping on the ground with your feet. And that’s how Badke begins too, with the familiar image of the line dance: the ten Palestinian dancers put their arms around their shoulders, they complete the usual sequence of steps – foot up, stamp, change sides – and as with Dabke they become ever faster and raise their dance to a dizzying tempo. But gradually breaks become apparent. Individual dancers free themselves from the group. Ranks are broken and the deconstruction that Dabke underwent in the name now becomes apparent through the choreography. It is a dance of collective physicality, but also of self-determination; a dance of solidarity and belonging, in which everyone nevertheless stands and counts for themselves. The dance becomes increasingly freed from its traditional form and supplemented by other elements – from modern dance, to hip-hop to capoeira and artistic dance.
The variants that arise in the process blur the boundaries between the individual elements. The addition of choreographic components from other fields of movement and cultural contexts tells among other things of the desire to be part of a global culture. Through deconstructing traditional dance with the simultaneous adoption of its original social function – the collective – and the introduction of global components the dance charges itself with new content and so acquires a socio-political relevance and explosiveness. And thus Badke also tells us of the concerns of its protagonists, among others from Galilee, Ramallah and Jerusalem, who convey their indomitable will to live through a choreography: "We won’t let anyone grind us down. We will dance until we drop."
Badke is here more than danced resistance. The dance is a postulate of the joy of life, expressing the force, courage and irrepressible desire for change.
Badke was produced in collaboration between the artist collective founded by Alain Platel Les Ballets C de la B, the Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg (KVS) and the A. M. Qattan Foundation, which is engaged in promoting artistic development and education in Palestine and the Arab world.
Since 2006, the Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg and Les ballets C de la B, two of the most renowned Belgian cultural institutions, have been pursuing an exchange and education project with a young generation of Palestinian artists. Badke is a central project in this long-standing involvement.
The dance company Les Ballets C de la B (Les Ballets Contemporains de la Belgique), founded by Alain Platel in 1984, is dedicated to contemporary dance and has already frequently staged guest productions and co-productions at the Tanzquartier Wien. Les Ballets C de la B could be seen at the Tanzquartier Wien in 2013 with a work by the dance collective’s choreographer Christine De Smedt in the four-part artist-portrait series Untitled 4 and in June this year with the work Coup Fatal – a cooperation between the Tanzquartier Wien, the Vienna Festival and the Burgtheater.
CONCEPT, PERFORMANCE: Fadi Zmorrod, Ashtar Muallem, Farah Saleh, Yazan Eweidat, Salma Ataya, Ayman Safiah, Samaa Wakeem, Mohammed Samahnah,
Samer Samahnah, Maali Maali (und Ata Khatab)
CONCEPT: Koen Augustijnen, Rosalba Torres Guerrero & Hildegard De Vuyst
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Zeina Zarour
SOUNDTRACK: Naser Al-Fares edited by Sam Serruys
COSTUMES: Britt Angé
LIGHT: Ralf Nonn
SOUND: Steven Lorie
TOUR MANAGEMENT, COORDINATION: Nicole Petit
PRODUCTION: KVS, les ballets C de la B & A.M. Qattan Foundation
COPRODUCTION: Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg
with Yazan Eweidat & Salma Ataya
SAT, NOV 8
16.30 – 18.00 in TQW / Studios
Ticket: € 10,–
Registration: Daily Box Office in TQW / Studios or vermittlung [at] tqw [dot] at
following the performance on
SAT, NOV 8 in TQW / Halle G
Moderation: Fahim Amir
Regular price € 18,–
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