Out of Context - for Pina

Alain Platel

info production


In Out Of Context, director Alain Platel continues his search for a language of movement connected to the unconscious, the arbitrary, the uncontrolled.
The movement material covers the entire range of dyskinesia and dystonia, in other words: spasms, convulsions, tics. These can be very small mouth movements, teeth chattering, sticking out the tongue, eyes blinking, frowning, grimacing, moving the fingers as though they are playing the piano, briefly jerking the limbs, torso, pelvis or head, jolting the abdomen or diaphragm, balance impairment, falling over and a whole repertoire of silly walks.
Small tics swiftly alternate with big swings. Restlessly and nervously. Platel has long resisted the label ‘choreographer’, but still arrives at this term in another way. ‘Chorea’ is a medical term referring to an affected nervous system, the symptoms of which are jerky movements and poor coordination.

Ultimately, Platel goes back to his past as a special needs educator working with children with motor and multiple disabilities where he discovered the beauty of the malformed, the emotional power of the misshapen.

Platel uses virtuoso dancers for this. He isn’t so much interested in the unconscious as such, as he is in the tension between the wide range of uncontrolled movements and the traditional building blocks of choreography, such as the synchronised (simultaneous) execution of movements. In that ‘entre-deux’, the area of tension between the unconscious and the superconscious, a space opens up that is not just interesting to the director, but also and particularly to the dancers he has been working with for quite some time now.

Even though it is possible to draw lines of continuity in the language of movement, the title Out of Contextalso evokes the expectation of something ‘different’. What is different? The title Out Of Context was initially chosen because it isn’t based on a previously determined piece of music, as was the case with vsprs, which was based on Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespro de la Beata Vergine, or pitié!, which was an adaptation of Bach’s Matthew Passion.
The music for Out Of Contexthas become the driftwood of a few centuries, washed ashore as the remains of human civilisation. The human voice is at the centre in an attempt of (re)construction and communication. The microphone is its extension. Every now and then, we only get as far as a murmur, a hum, a roar.

In vsprs, an equivalent to religious ecstasy was found in physical ecstasy, culminating in the jerky choreography to the ‘Magnificat’ from the Vespers of Mary. pitié!was about suffering and the (im)possibility to share it with others. The question occupying the Out Of Context team was whether movement material that is so intrinsically linked to ‘pain’, ‘ailment’ and ‘lack’ can be used for anything else. A documentary on pianist Glenn Gould prompted the team in a more joyous direction.

Out Of Context is situated in a mental space. It gradually became a trip down memory lane. A dive into the caverns of human existence in search of the roots of childhood and prehistory. Of something in between man and animal, a kind of harmony that passes by (or precedes) the duality of beauty and ugliness, good and evil, me and you, individual and community.
In search of a condition in which everything becomes liquid. In that sense, Out Of Context becomes a kind of ritual, a gathering of people in search of an essence they can’t find, but in the meantime experiencing something unexpected but worthwhile.

Hildegard De Vuyst, Dramaturge (January 2010)



concept & direction Alain Platel
dance & created by Elie Tass, Emile Josse / Quan Bui Ngoc, Hyo Seung Ye, Kaori Ito, Mathieu Desseigne Ravel, Mélanie Lomoff, Romeu Runa, Rosalba Torres Guerrero, Ross McCormack
dramatury Hildegard De Vuyst
directionassistance Sara Vanderieck
lightdesign Carlo Bourguignon
sounddesign & electronicmusicSam Serruys
costumedesign Dorine Demuynck
soundengineer Bart Uyttersprot
photography Chris Van der Burght
productionmanagement and tourmanagement Valerie Desmet
touring Helena Elshout / laGeste

production laGeste
coproduction Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), Le Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, TorinoDanza, Sadler’s Wells (London), Stadsschouwburg Groningenn, Tanzkongress 2009/ Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Kaaitheater (Brussels), Wiener Festwochen
with tanks to Farah Saleh, Quan Bui Ngoc, Juliana Neves, Fabrizio Cassol, Isnel Da Silveira, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Toneelgroep Ceremonia
with support of The Flemish authorities, City of Ghent

calender (15)


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duration 1h25 without break
no language

on tour If you want to programme this performance, contact



in the press


"A simple bass rhythm makes the dancers go wild.
With hilarious possession, they give their best."

"Two microphones and nine red blankets. That's all Alain Platel and his nine dancers need to thrill us."

"Because of this sparseness, the emotions arrive intensified; nothing distracts from this collective longing for lost love."

more press