In 2023 and since 2021, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels is supporting Corps extrêmes by Rachid Ouramdane. The initiative is presenting this creation in collaboration with BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) as part of the Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival in New York, and as part of the Seoul Performing Arts Festival.
Originally Corps extrêmes manifests the desire, expressed by Rachid Ouramdane, to be “really focused on the fascination triggered by the wish to take-off, to drift, a state of weightlessness, a suspension…” Two emblematic accomplices who dedicate themselves to the practice of extreme sports – a highliner and a climber – are on stage, far from their habitual playgrounds, with eight acrobats.
Gifted for lightness, often circling, this extraordinary community of freedom lovers, of which the members incarnate in different ways the Icarus dream in today’s world, evolve between the sky and the earth; an impressive climbing wall at the back of the stage as a fulcrum. A long rope crosses high above, the stage sometimes transforms into a huge screen, on which images are projected of magnificent natural landscapes – great vertigo – with extreme athletes in action.
The voice-overs of these exceptional athletes also play a part, all of them providing personal accounts of their practice. Sometimes airy, then stirring, the musical score of Jean-Baptiste Julien increases the reliefs of this gathering, with several subtly suggested strata.
Rather than giving in to the facile attraction of virtuosity, the piece endeavors to give rise to an existential – even metaphysical – dimension, flirting with the void. Simultaneously anchored in reality as well as heading for a dream world, both intimate and bigger than life, the performance sheds an artistic lighting on a far from the ordinary human experience.
About the artist
Since 2021, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels is supporting Rachid Ouramdane for his piece Corps extrêmes presented in Abu Dhabi, London, Seoul and New York in 2023.