Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud join the dots between contemporary ballet and sound system culture.
“Movements are facts”, Cecilia Bengolea explains. “Mainly, my work is about the body inventing out its own sources, its own rituals.” In Dub Love, Bengolea and longtime collaborator François Chaignaud combine classical forms of dance with contemporary musical styles, including dancehall and dub.
It is with this subversive amalgamation that the duo’s work can be understood as explicitly politicised, seeing them use unconventional cultural associations to channel their radical politics. “The movements I create have a common denominator”, continues Bengolea, “no attack and no hierarchy among the movements. This is why dance is political”.
Developed for the Dia Art Foundation in New York back in 2017, Dub Love was staged on the bottom floor of the museum, a former factory space, in front of Dan Flavin’s 1973 light installation, Untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection), an artwork named after the museum’s founder, Heiner Friedrich.
The installation’s neon green light emphasises the influence Bengolea & Chaignaud draw from club culture, imbuing the performance with hedonistic energy and highlighting it as both an underground dance ritual and an intimate physical celebration.
Bengolea has been collaborating with François Chaignaud since 2005. Together they have created celebrated experimental performances including Sylphides (2009), in which dancers performed in vacuum-sealed latex fetish suits, Devoted (2015), a commission from the Ballet de Lorraine set to the music of Phillip Glass and The Lighters’ Dancehall Polyphony (2015), a performance for Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal. Together they run the dance company Vlovajob Pru.
For more information about Cecilia Bengolea and her work you can follow her on Instagram.
Watch next: Cecilia Bengolea Presents – Bom Bom’s Dream