In Puz/zle, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui returns in a more abstract fashion to the notion of the multiple and of multiplicity rooted in our thought processes and the added question of how things fit together to create a new and distinct identity (like a jigsaw puzzle).
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is intrigued by why certain connections succeed in coming together as an organic whole while others fail. And whether they actually fail or if the failure lies in our perception of order and disorder. He aims then to question the seeming importance of order and linearity and to explore if there can be more than one way of solving a puzzle, of telling a tale, of living time.
The running time of each performance is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes without intermission.
Audience is strongly advised to arrive punctually. Latecomers will only be admitted at a suitable break.
'Beyond Multi-arts' Series: Puz/zle by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Belgium)
Some $200 seats may have partly restricted view
Tickets available from 5 July onwards at all URBTIX outlets, on Internet, by Mobile Ticketing App and Credit Card Telephone Booking.
Half-price tickets available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and the minder, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. Limited tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first come, first served basis.
Group Booking Discount *
For each purchase of standard tickets for stage programme(s) in the ‘Beyond Multi-arts’ Series, the following concession applies:
10% off for 4-9 standard tickets; 15% off for 10-19 standard tickets; 20% off for 20 or more standard tickets.
‘Beyond Multi-arts’ Series Package Discount*
For each purchase of standard tickets for different stage programmes in the ‘Beyond Multi-arts’ Series, the following concession applies:
10% off for any 2 programmes; 15% off for any 3 programmes; 20% off for 4 or more programmes.
‘Beyond Multi-arts’ ‘Beyond Special’ Package Discount*
30% off on each purchase of full-price tickets of both XENOS by Akram Khan Company (UK) and Puz/zle by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Belgium) from 1 September onwards.
*Not applicable to tickets for all lectures and workshops in the ‘Beyond Multi-arts’ Series.
Patrons can enjoy only one of the above discount offers. Please inform the box office staff at the time of purchase.
Internet Booking www.urbtix.hk
Mobile Ticketing App My URBTIX
Credit Card Telephone Booking 2111 5999
Ticketing Enquiries 3761 6661
Programme Enquiries 2268 7323
The programme does not represent the views of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
The presenter reserves the right to change the programme and substitute artists.
To Know Eternity through Observing the Return of All Things—Cherkaoui’s Puz/zle
Text: Thomas Tse (Dance Critic)
Translate: Amy Ng
Francis Fukuyama’s theory about "the end of history" was a post-Cold War ideological phenomenon. But reality has since shown that we are far from the end of history. Indeed we seem to have a long way to go: global democracy appears to be on the retreat; extremism and authoritarianism are on the rise; the "New Cold War" is gradually taking shape, and world events are not turning out as the optimistic "end of history" proponents imagined. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s work Puz/zle may offer some insights into our own existence and our relationship to the world. The pioneering Belgian choreographer, as is his interrogatory wont, questions the inertia of our views of history and cultural evolution. Through astonishing and spectacular physical sequences, he ponders the evolution of time and space in the historical process, and how things are changed or change their environment. Puz/zle is a dance work suffused with imagery and metaphor, which shows the "mutual interdependence" of the two states of order and disorder.
Puz/zle premiered at the Quarry Theatre, at the 2012 Avignon Arts Festival. Cherkaoui was inspired by the landscape to think about stone and its meaning for human existence, as well as exploring "building/destruction". He used dance as an "archaeological" method to restore life to stones in a process of continuous transformation. In Puz/zle, he adopts a more abstract approach, but one which leads us to re-examine "the notion of the multiple and of multiplicity rooted in our thought processes and the question of how things fit together to create a new and distinct identity (like a jigsaw puzzle). "The choreographer uses rich images and symbols to construct stories but also to break them down. Perhaps it is more appropriate to describe his process as the organic interaction of "people, time, and space", with a deep concern for human circumstances, and the grand narrative of common fate.
Born in Belgium, Cherkaoui trained in street dance and African dance at an early age. He began to attract critical attention at the age of 19, and later entered the dance school P.A.R.T.S. founded by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. This expanded his horizons, and he leapt into the world of modern dance. Cherkaoui has been resident choreographer with famous dance troupes and theatres, including Les Ballets C. de la B., Toneelhuis, and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Eastman, the arts group he founded, has become one of the most sought after arts groups in the world of modern dance.
In past works, Cherkaoui delighted in finding performance possibilities in different material sources, such as paper and ink in TeZukA (2011) and ropes in Bound (2010). In addition, large sculpture installations were also favoured subjects of exploration, as can be seen in his numerous collaborations with renowned sculptor Antony Gormley. In Surta (2008), in addition to a team of Shaolin monks with whom he had no common language, Cherkaoui had to deal with a number of large wooden boxes on stage. In his recent work Noetic, (2014), he used an installation by Gormley. In Puz/zle, although the dancers he chose and the dance movements he created, especially the solo dances, are captivating, he does not seem satisfied with choreography alone, but also pays attention to the objects on stage. He chose to create with the element of stone. As befits the name of the work, the dancers use stones to constantly build up various "symbols", such as palaces, monuments, and stone formations which are extremely symbolic, and which reminds the audience of religious rituals from ancient to modern times, born of the deep human need to connect with heaven and earth. However, the narrative structure of Puz/zle is deliberately cyclical. Whenever a situation is established, it is then demolished and rebuilt, recurring again and again as it does in nature. It also reflects the state of constant recurrence in eternal time, in an ingenious interpretation of Nietzsche's "die ewige Wiederkhr" ("eternal return").
Many people have misunderstood Nietzsche's philosophy. The "eternal return" is not a product of nihilism, and Cherkaoui responds affirmatively to the positive aspects of tragic philosophy: The will of the god of wine is the essence of positive tragic philosophy. Dionysus is simultaneously destruction and completion in life. His "birth" is a tragedy, but it also brings joy and celebration (using dance as a means), and realises its essence in the whirlpool constantly generated by destruction and reconstruction—creative vitality. In Puz/zle, we can see this kind of vitality. Cherkaoui has merged three musical traditions: musicians from Corsica, the Middle East and Japan interact with each other and try to change their musical "DNA", thus combining into new possibilities. This bold and inclusive experimental method of creation reflects the original intent of the choreographer. If we trace the sources carefully, we may see that traditions that are usually categorised as either European or Eastern share unexpectedly blurred boundaries at the source. This consciousness of coming from the same roots forces us to re-examine the conflicts raging in the world and their futility. Cherkaoui repeatedly uses the "wall" to symbolise human barriers and helplessness. I believe that when the Hong Kong audience come to watch Puz/zle, at this particular juncture of history, they will see the "wall" in the works, which will doubtlessly trigger boundless feelings and reflections.
Thomas Tse was born in Hong Kong, and he graduated from the Department of Philosophy of Saint Joseph University. In addition to his writing and editing work, he is also an experienced performer. He is currently head of the contemporary dance troupe Theatre Aether.
Appreciation Articles Co-ordinated and Edited by
Conducted in Cantonese
Topic: In Search of the Moment: the Choreographic Strategy of Cherkaoui
Moderator: Mr Thomas Tse (Dance Critic)
Speakers: Ms Catherine Yau (Dance Critic and Educator), Mr Felix Chan (Dance and Theatre Critic)
Free Admission. Limited quota for participants available on a first-come-first-served basis
Organised and Coordinated by