“…the joy of being alive, of being together momentarily, and the visceral excitement of dancing.” —LE MONDE

US PREMIERE: 2004, Istanbul. A few minutes before the end of a performance, out of nowhere, a group of men erupt on stage, break out into a very short folk dance, and then immediately disappear. The powerful memory of a traditional dance leads French choreographer Christian Rizzo on a bold and hypnotic exploration of masculine ritual. Stepping onto a stark white stage, the eight dancers are propelled by two live drummers. Their undulating movements build into frenetic bursts of dance that recall the centuries-old dances of the Mediterranean. By turns tender and vibrantly joyful, the all-male ensemble rides the friction between folkloric practice and formal contemporary performance, building a communal, visceral force.

Born in Cannes, Christian Rizzo took his first steps as an artist in Toulouse, where he started a rock band and created a line of clothing before studying visual arts at the Villa Arson in Nice. In the 90s, he performed with and created costumes and soundtracks for choreographers including Mathilde Monnier, Hervé Robbe, Mark Tompkins, Georges Appaix, Vera Mantero, Catherine Contour, Emmanuelle Huynh, and Rachid Ouramdane. Since founding “l’association fragile” in 1996, he has created over 30 performances and dance pieces, alternating with other projects or commissions for fashion and visual arts. He was an artist-in-residence at l’Opéra de Lille, and has performed his works around the world at the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, the Nouveau Festival du Centre Pompidou, deSingel, the Festival d’Avignon, and On the Boards. Rizzo received the prestigious Choreography prize from La Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques in 2013.

These activities are supported, in part, with funds provided by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), the Oregon Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.