nicht schlafen

Austrian Première / In co-operation with Volkstheater
»Breathtaking correspondence between dance and music« (

ORGANISED CHAOS – Alain Platel invites you to a dance on life and death.

Together with the composer Steven Prengels and the visual artist Berlinde De Bruyckere, in his choreography nicht schlafen he explores the human as a social being, as a group and community animal. In the process the dancers’ bodies go through stages of excess, suffering and lust extending to the obscene.

The starting point is the music of Gustav Mahler, which portrays a fragmented world up until shortly before the First World War. Everyday life was dominated by globalisation and terrorism, new technology and accelerated forms of communication. The world rearranged itself and hardly anyone knew how to deal with it.

In line with this period of disorientation, in his symphonies Mahler connects bourgeois art with popular culture, thereby becoming one of the first composers to introduce musical “sampling”. Alain Platel and Steven Prengels understand his music, which testifies to a desire for lost harmony, as an invitation to go on sampling for themselves. In Prengels’ soundscapes Mahler’s music meets polyphonic African singing, the sound of cowbells and the noises of sleeping animals. These ring out in the stage set designed by Berlinde De Bruyckere: a place in which suffering is ritually formulated. The thematic liking for the visceral, the carnal aspects of suffering and death is shared by Platel and Berlinde De Bruyckere, who has for the first time created a set for the Belgian star choreographer. But despite the violence inscribed in it nicht schlafen is permeated by the tentative hope that human beings may not once again fall victim to large-scale annihilation strategies.

DIRECTION: Alain Platel
CREATION / PERFORMANCE: Bérengère Bodin, Boule Mpanya, Dario Rigaglia, David Le Borgne, Elie Tass, Ido Batash, Romain Guion, Russell Tshiebua, Samir M’Kirech
DRAMATURGY: Hildegard De Vuyst
SET DESIGN: Berlinde De Bruyckere
LIGHTING DESIGN: Carlo Bourguignon
SOUND DESIGN: Bartold Uyttersprot
COSTUME DESIGN: Dorine Demuynck
STAGE MANAGER: Wim Van de Cappelle
PHOTOGRAPHY: Chris Van der Burght
TOUR MANAGER: Steve De Schepper
PRODUCTION: les ballets C de la B
CO-PRODUCTION: Ruhrtriennale, La Bâtie-Festival de Genève, TorinoDanza, la Biennale de Lyon, L’Opéra de Lille, Kampnagel Hamburg, MC93 – Maison de la Culture de la Seine-Saint-Denis, Holland Festival, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, NTGent
DISTRIBUTION: Frans Brood Productions
With the support of the City of Ghent, the Province of East Flanders, the Flemish authorities and Port of Ghent
ALAIN PLATEL / LES BALLETS C DE LA B nicht schlafen is supported by the Government of Flanders and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels Capital Region.
THANKS TO: University of Ghent and Prof. Dr. Paul Simoens and Marianne Doom, Guy Cuypers & team, Alexi Williams, Bart De Pauw, Bob and Monir, K49814, Isnelle da Silveira, Lieven Vandeweghe, Griet Callewaert, the volunteers and staff of atelier Berlinde De Bruyckere, Pierre Philippe Hofmann, Manège de Hoefslag in De Pinte, Warner Classics
les ballets C de la B was founded in 1984 by Alain Platel in Ghent, enabling artists from different disciplines to participate in a dynamic and creative process and to enrich it. This platform for a variety of choreographers sees itself as a unique blend of different visions and works under the slogan “This dance is for the world and the world is for everyone.”
Alain Platel, born in 1956 in Ghent, is a qualified remedial educationalist. In 1984 with a number of friends and relatives he set up a collective, which was shortly afterwards renamed les ballets C de la B. Among other works the group produced Emma (1988), which Alain Platel directed, as well as Bonjour Madame (1993), La Tristeza Complice (1995) and Iets op Bach (1998). The latter represented the group’s international breakthrough. Other works have included (H)OEURS (2012), tauberbach (2014) and Coup Fatal (2014). Alain Platel also worked on films about dance, both in collaboration with the British director Sophie Fiennes as well as alone. In his film de balletten en si en la (2006) he shows his company’s approach, while at the same time the film is also an ode to his home town of Ghent.
Berlinde De Bruyckere, born in 1964, lives and works in Ghent. In February 2010, she received the Flemish Culture Prize 2009 for Visual Arts. De Bruyckere’s sculptures, installations and drawings embody the world’s great stories. The forms and materials she uses are consistently selected for their metaphorical power. For several years now she has been developing a highly personal vocabulary, in which a refined vision of the melancholy relationship with the world and the things in it has gradually emerged. Berlinde De Bruyckere represented Belgium at the 2013 Venice Biennale with the work Kreupelhout-Cripplewood in cooperation with the Nobel Prize winner J.M.Coetzee.
In 2009, Steven Prengels, born in 1978 in Zele, studied composition at the Amsterdam Conservatory in the master class of Wim Hendrickx, obtaining his masters’ degree in 2007, and at the University of Löwen and the Lemmens Conservatory. His work covers a wide range of artistic fields including music for large orchestra, theatre, dance, short film and visual arts. His work has been performed by the Chamber Orchestra of Belgium, Brussels Philharmonic, deFilharmonie, SPECTRA, the Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam and the Symphony Orchestra of Flanders. In 2012 he wrote Wagner in Bayreuth, commissioned by the Oxalys Ensemble and created by the bass-baritone Dietrich Henschel and the Oxalys Ensemble. He often works as a musical director and composer in the world of theatre and dance. Highlights include Gardenia (2010, by Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke) for which he created the musical concept. Other projects with Alain Platel followed: C(H)OEURS (les ballets C de la B/Teatro Real, 2012), in which Steven Prengels created additional music and soundscapes to the work of Wagner and Verdi, tauberbach (les ballets C de la B / Münchner Kammerspiele, 2012) and En avant, marche! which he created together with Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke (les ballets C de la B / NTGent, 2015). Commissioned by the director Johan Simons, he composed the soundscape for Accatone, the season-opener for the 2015 Ruhr Triennale 2015.
(c) Chris Van der Burght(c) Chris Van der Burght(c) Chris Van der Burght(c) Chris Van der Burght(c) Chris Van der Burght
In context of SPRING, EUROPE! Festival
19. JAN - 21. APRIL
DO 19. JAN
18.45 h in TQW / Studios
Admission free
6 categories –– 11 / 19 / 31 / 44 / 56 / 68 Euro
Reductions here

Opening hours

tanzquartier [at] tqw [dot] at