HOMO LUDENS

Dutch National Opera & Ballet

LIKE A GAME WHERE YOU SLOWLY BUT SURELY LOSE CONTROL

It was Sarah Ouakrat, first flautist with the Dutch Ballet Orchestra, to whom Juanjo Arqués turned for advice when he had decided that the flute could be an important source of inspiration for his new creation.

“She gave me some suggestions for pieces of music, that’s how I found Dalbavie’s Flute Concerto, which intrigued me immensely straight away. When listening to it, I felt like I was in an incredibly exciting game”.

Arqués discovered Johan Huizinga’s book Homo Ludens (Man the player), and pointed him in the right direction for his new work. Therefore constructed his creation as a game.

The role of the player is taken by flautist Sarah Ouakrat in the Orquestra pit and the role of a dice is portrayed by the virtuosic Young Gyu Choi who directed five couples like a puppet master — before turning into a puppet himself. The dancers are dressed in flesh-coloured unitards painted with thin silhouettes, they appear taller than they are – as if they were chess pie- ces and make their entrance on big swings. This is a reference to the painting The Swing by the French Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

—Interview by Astrid van Leeuwen

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‘‘Juanjo Arqués opened the proceedings with a breakthrough, Homo Ludens. In this creation, he plays abstract games with an urgent flute concerto by French composer Marc-André Dalbavie. In the lead role, the virtuosic Young Gyu Choi directed the flautist (Sarah Ouakrat) and five couples like a puppet master — before turning into a puppet himself.’’—Laura Lacapelle for Financial Times

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Choreography Juanjo Arqués
Music Marc André Dalbavie Dramaturge Fabienne Vegt Costumes Oliver Haller Lights Bert Dalhuysen
Sets Juanjo Arqués Assistant Jose Carlos Blanco 
Company Dutch National Opera & Ballet World première February 2017 - Amsterdam, Netherlands

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