It’s going to get worse and worse and worse, my friend

Lisbeth Gruwez | Voetvolk

Friday, May 10, 2013

A speech can be a mighty weapon. Throughout the centuries it has enthused countless masses and mobilized them into action, for better or worse. It has unleashed revolutions and fueled wars. Such is the power of words.

Belgian-based choreographer and dancer Lisbeth Gruwez transforms a recorded speech by ultraconservative American televangelist Jimmy Swaggart into a disturbing gesture and dance form. Her body juggles with words, makes syllables, shouts, stammers, horrifies, and fascinates.

The piece deals less with the direct meanings of words and phrases and more with the violence that can lie in the rhetorical strategies of someone in a trance-like state.

Ash Bulayev

Lisbeth Gruwez studied dance at the Stedelijk Instituut voor Ballet and at P.A.R.T.S. In 2006, she founded the dance performance group Voetvolk with Maarten Van Cauwenberghe. She starred in Caroline Strubbe’s film Lost Persons Area, which won best screenplay at the Cannes film festival in 2009; she was nominated as Best Actress at the Flemish Film Awards for her role in the film. She also choreographed and danced with actress Juliette Lewis in a music video for her band Juliette and the Licks.

Gruwez has been working with multidisciplinary artist Jan Fabre since 1999, and during her career has worked with Pierre Coulibeuf, Needcompany | Jan Lauwers, Grace Ellen Barkey, Riina Saastamoinen, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Peter Verhelst, Arco Renz, and Silvia Defrance, among others.

Musician and composer Maarten Van Cauwenberghe graduated from KU Leuven in 1998 with a degree in commercial engineering. Shortly thereafter, he started playing as a musician and performer with Jan Fabre. Their first joint project was As Long as the World Needs a Warrior's Soul. In 2006, Van Cauwenberghe and dancer/choreographer Lisbeth Gruwez founded the dance performance company Voetvolk. Their first production, Forever Overhead, premiered in 2007.

Van Cauwenberghe has composed music for Julia Sugranyes; the PolyDan production See-Sick; La Nuit est mère du jour of the Comédie de Valence; Ay'n, a dance performance of Louise Charon and Luc Van Den Dries; the documentary Yell for Cadel; and Voetvolk’s Birth of Prey, among others; and composed the music and danced in Voetvolk’s HeroNeroZero.

It’s going to get worse and worse and worse, my friend
Studio 1—Goodman
May 10, 2013, 8PM

Concept, choreography, + performance: Lisbeth Gruwez
Composition, sound design, + assistance: Maarten Van Cauwenberghe
Styling: Veronique Branquinho
Artistic Adviser: Bart Meuleman
Lighting Design: Harry Cole
Light Assistance: Caroline Mathieu
Production: Voetvolk vzw
Diffusion: Key Performance

Co-production: Grand Theater Groningen, Troubleyn/Jan Fabre, Theater Im Pumpenhaus and AndWhatBeside(s)Death.

With the support of: Provincie West-Vlaanderen, Provincie Antwerpen + Vlaamse Gemeenschap.

Thanks to: Tom de Weerdt

In Depth
Tresca Weinstein
Albany Times Union
May 10, 2013

EMPAC 2012-2013 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by continuous support from the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the New York State Council for the Arts; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts; Arts Council Norway, Fond for Lyd og Bilde, and Fond for Utøvende Kunstner.

National Endowment for the Arts
NEFA - New England Foundation for the Arts
National Science Foundation
State of the Arts - NYSCA