In 1992, the choreographer Frédéric Flamand, N founder of our choreographic centre, created the first Charleroi danse Biennale as well as a memorable piece entitled Titanic in Charleroi’s Museum of Industry, now known as the Rockerill. An innovative project and a crazy gesture,
“a simmering poem about the end of our century...”*, both the festival and the show were evidence of the restlessness felt in the arts at that time about the links between art and technology.
Thirty years later and in essence the Biennale is still about openness. It offers an international overview of contemporary dance, while remaining a firm part of Charleroi’s imagination and culture. Today, the bold, extremely talented Némo Flouret, a young French choreographer born in 1995 who trained at P.A.R.T.S. and lives in Brussels, returns to the Rockerill, the site of an old metal factory. In his piece 900 Something Days Spent in the XXth Century, he evokes its golden era and also the "stone age" at the end of the 20th century that saw the collapse of heavy industry and the advent of new European utopias linked to exchanges and innovation. This historical sequence allows us to assess the evolution of a city, an era and a cultural landscape. The artistic ambition that characterises these projects can be found everywhere in the 2023 Biennale. The tone is set with the creation of extraordinary worlds, human encounters and artistic frictions, and the desire to create a community in several group pieces. It starts with the revival of Planet [wanderer] by Damien Jalet, Charleroi danse’s associate artist for three years. On a stage covered in dark sand, the show echoes the "black country", as this part of Belgium used to be known, a reflection of the power and vulnerability that takes its choreographic inspiration from Japanese culture, notably the Zen gardens of Kyoto. The dance draws its richness and diversity from French folk dancing to hip-hop by way of Georgian dances, from pantsula in the townships of Johannesburg to Afro-Brazilian rituals. Their very titles are evocative of artistic research that is seeking new stories and shores – Planet [wanderer], Troisième Nature, Unearth, Zona Franca, Rive and Témoin – and pure joy with The Ecstatic, Mirlitons and C la vie. The festival will be held across Charleroi and Brussels – to provide greater opportunities for encounters and celebrations so that people can keep discovering Charleroi danse, a driving force in dance today.