Sweet like a chocolate: talk with Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten
— December 12, 2019

This Christmas holiday, for the first time in 30 years of history, there will be a dance performance at the Bellevue Lunchtheater. We invited the prestigious dance company ICK Amsterdam that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. We spoke to the artistic director: Pieter C. Scholten and Emio Greco about their performance Sweet like a chocolate.

ICK presents the very first dance performance at the Bellevue Lunchtheater! What can we expect?

Emio: Our work is characterized by a specific dance language, the intuitively moving body is always central. We regard the body as intelligent and autonomous. We work with the power of the body and feed it from the senses instead of the brain. This is what we try to achieve with the audience: that you are physically touched, before you try to find out what the performance is about.

But that’s exactly what we want to know!  

Pieter: It is a solo for dancer Maria Ribas, accompanied by her shadow. Or rather, several shadows personified by one dancer. In the solo her fantasy gets a life of its own.  

Emio: Sweet like a Chocolate is a reworking of Double Points: Hell, a research project we made at the invitation of the Festival d’Avignon in 2005. In our view, hell was the schizophrenic search for who you are, what your identity is. Maria goes through different phases and moods in the search for her own self. The figure around her can be real, but also something that arises from her imagination.

Pieter: It was the first time we made a gender codified piece, about being a woman. In general, we don’t have men’s and women’s roles in our performances. It’s about the personality of the dancer, apart from gender. Sweet like a chocolate, in this time of #metoo, also gets a different meaning. It’s about seduction and power relations and how far you can go in this. Today, in dialogue with the public, this can be interpreted more politically.

In Sweet like a chocolate the Fifth of Beethoven is used, why did you choose this music?

Emio: That piece is cultural heritage. Everyone knows it. It almost feels like blasphemy to dance on it. But that, too, fitted in with the process of this performance: a study of the inappropriate, experimenting with things that wouldn’t be appropriate in other circumstances. In addition, the music is very evocative, almost ecstatic, which fits well with the solo.

Pieter: We have also worked with Ravel’s Boléro and Bach’s Matthäus-Passion, among others. This is part of an ongoing research to shed new light on commonly known pieces of music from the perspective of dance. The dancers do not move on the tones or the rhythm but react intuitively, from a certain physical consciousness. This opens up a new perspective on – and new entrances to – historical thinking.

How do you create performances?

Emio: In general, I start working on the choreography by myself. I first have to understand where it comes from, so that I can work with it and fine-tune it. The moment it is handed over to the dancers, we enter a whole new phase of the creation process. The material is, as it were, re-created together with them.

PieterSweet like a chocolate is a re-interpretation of older work with new dancers and will therefore have its own creation process. We are always looking for people who can surrender to the material and at the same time allow their own personality to show in the language we offer to them. Maria and Victor will enter into their own dialogue with the material.

What are your expectations for performing two weeks in a row at lunchtime?

Emio: In Avignon we also had a long series of performances in a row. It is enriching to have a daily appointment with your own performance. An enormous luxury, too, because the performance really gets the time to grow. When traveling, you have to adapt every day to the conditions of each theatre, which causes some things to get lost. And although there is of course a different audience every day, you still build up a sense of recognition and familiarity. You create an alliance with the theatre, and through the theatre with the city and the people who live there. Lunchtime opens a new window in the day. It is less ritualistic than performances in the evening. People are fresher; perhaps more open? I expect it to be liberating.

18/12 – 28/12 at 12h30 BELLEVUE LUNCHTHEATER Amsterdam

Interview by Theater Bellevue

An intimate spectacle with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as an open end.

In Sweet like a chocolate a woman dances with her shadows, alter ego, companion and voyeur. It follows her, accompanies her, dances and fights with her. It’s a double, dance partner, lover and opponent, it is familiar and dangerous. Balancing between love, trust, female sexuality and violence, Sweet like a chocolate reveals existential questions.

Portrait EGPC: Ruben Timman
Publicity image: Alwin Poiana

— Article written by Ingrid van Schijndel

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