SONICO – The heart is the muscle we like to work out

SONICO is a dance and live music performance, created by choreographers Ido Batash and Lisi Estaras in collaboration with musician Ariel Eberstein and his Brussels-based band by the same name, Sonico.

Following Lisi and Ido’s collaboration on The Jewish Connection Project (première CAMPO 14/02/2019) – in which their ambiguous feelings towards their Jewish identity serve as the focal point – Lisi and Ido explore another facet of identity: elements that are not determined by premeditated social, ethnic and cultural factors. 

Lisi and Ido rely on the tango compositions of the provocative Argentinian avant-garde composer Eduardo Rovira (1925-1980) as their source of inspiration. Tango music – and the music of Rovira in particular – can express a strong disposition, sudden swing changes, anxiety and a sense of disconnection. For SONICO Ariel Eberstein created a new music score that builds upon Eduardo Rovira’s avant-garde music, giving rise to a nonconventional interpretation of Tango. Consequently, Lisi and Ido did not turn to existing codes and types of tango for movement material. Rather, they approach tango through the MonkeyMind-method, translating chaotic thoughts and feelings into dance movement. In SONICO the creators elaborate this dance language by researching the relation between dance and Art Brut. This research led to new movement material inspired by raw movements, such as trance-like repetition or unconscious, impulsive and purposeless wanderings. 

Two figures move in a mechanical, minimalistic way – as if they are empty on the inside. It seems like they have been in this abstract plastic landscape forever. Thanks to the musical intervention by men in colorful parkas the two figures are suddenly activated. From that moment on, the piece builds up to an eccentric and energetic choreography written to the music. The complexity of rhythms and eclectic influences in the music convey an antithetical landscape in which the two choreographers express their most basic impulses and explore themselves and each other. First only particles of tango dance come to light but these minimal movements nonetheless succeed in gradually transforming the two figures into emotive beings because however absurd and eclectic this decoded choreography may appear, it still manages to represent the connection between two people, dancing together, supporting and provoking each other. After movement, first sound and eventually words are introduced as means of communication. But in this contextless space, these means do not seem to function accordingly. Involuntary movements come before thought and speech and push the two dancers to keep moving without direction. Without direction, not always without purpose.

Choreography and dance Lisi Estaras and Ido Batash Music Eduardo Rovira Musicians  – Ensemble Sonico Stephen Meyer (violin), Ivo De Greef (piano), Camilo Cordoba (guitar), Ariel Eberstein (double bass), Lysandre Donoso (bandoneon) Dramaturgy Sara Vanderieck Scenography Peter De Blieck Costumes Kim Wille Light design Kurt Lefevre Production: MonkeyMind Company in coproduction with De Grote Post Oostende, B,  Le Manège Maubeuge, F & MA Scène Nationale Montbéliard, F Residencies at Tanzhaus Zurich (CH)  and BAMP Brussels (B).

With the support of les ballets C de la B and Kunstencentrum Vooruit Gent, B for rehearsal space.

Première 05/03/2020, De Grote Post Oostende