In the coming 2019-2020 season, Ballet Vlaanderen will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. The jubilee year will open with Jeanne Brabants’ Cantus Firmus. Not only did Brabants found Ballet Vlaanderen, she also led the company for 15 years and produced outstanding choreographic work.
Brabants developed Cantus Firmus from her own modern expressionist language of movement and linked it to classical techniques. She was inspired by the musical technique of the cantus firmus, consisting of a drawn-out melody around which a musical fabric is constructed. Johann Sebastian Bach was an absolute master of this technique, as is frequently revealed in his moving cantatas. For her abstract and poetic choreography, Brabants chose some of these vocal masterpieces in which memory, consolation and reconciliation play a central role.
Heinrich Schütz’Die Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz is imbued with the same themes. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui was inspired by this breathtakingly beautiful oratory for his Mea Culpa. In this work, the Belgian-Moroccan choreographer explores a shared sense of guilt that is passed on from generation to generation and has an impact that is felt even today.
Inequality, discrimination, colonization and slavery are questioned from the perspective of both perpetrator and victim. The bridge between the two is formed by Schütz’s music, which advocates reconciliation.