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Debating through Dance

Classical Thai dance master Pichet Klunchun and French Jérôme Bel; photo by Association R.B.
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REDCAT, our local window into new and experimental performance from around the world, is bringing Pichet Klunchun and Myself to its theater this weekend. Choreographed by Frenchman Jérôme Bel and performed by he and classical Thai dance master Pichet Klunchun, the work is both a lively debate and a physical demonstration of contemporary and classical dance styles and traditions. Described in promotional materials as “a witty and moving exploration of cultural divides, Klunchun and Bel restage their first encounter” as they seek to understand each other as dance artists.Previously performed internationally in France, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Australia, Poland, Croatia and Iran, the work earned the pair the Routes Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity (European Cultural Foundation) in 2008. Addressing issues such as Euro-centrism, cultural globalization, the history of dance and skilled performance, Bel plays the rumpled postmodernist who rejects rote virtuosity while Klunchun is his foil who laments how his exacting and rule-bound art form risks becoming a tourist attraction. The piece concludes in a moment of quiet intensity, as Bel and Klunchun come to the limit of experiencing each other's styles.