Dance among the Water Lilies: Emanuel Gat

Monday 3 February 2020, 7pm and 8.30pm

Emanuel Gat, Quintet

In partnership with the Chaillot-Théâtre national de la Danse, as part of Chaillot nomade.


© Julia Gat

The Israeli choreographer Emanuel Gat, associate artist of the Chaillot – Théâtre national de la danse since 2018, is launching a new area of experimentation in live choreography in close contact with the audience, as a response to the immersive work, Water Lilies. He invites the spectator to discover a contemporary take on the dancers’ relationships on stage, the impact they have on each other and the ways in which they work together to achieve the clarity, precision and musicality that makes his choreography so beautiful. For the public, it is an immediate and enduring delight to see the excellence of this dance company and its ability to understand time and space like no one else. The possibilities for composition are limited, and the fact that the number of dancers is restricted to five – Thomas Bradley, Michael Loehr, Eddie Oroyan, Genevieve Osborne and Milena Twiehaus – entails a return to basics. The focus on the movement and the creation of a strong context become even more challenging issues. For the choreographer, it is a way of coming into contact with the unexpected, in a very dynamic environment that demands a reaction and freedom from the limits of the stage.


"My work is less guided by the music than it may seem. I am much more interested in motivations, in the reasoning that precedes movement. That is always my starting point and all the rest emerges afterwards during the creative process." Emanuel Gat

With each new work, the choreographer Emmanuel Gat, who, since 2007, has been based in the south of France with his dance company, proposes to examine as closely as possible the heart of choreographic creation and the ways of perceiving a work. Each of his pieces is conceived in close collaboration with its performers. He likes to describe himself as the inventor of a “choreographic language” to which his dancers bring their own words. Although the context changes each time, his approach remains the same to creating complex choreographic scores, and to the powerful dramaturgy, which presents a multitude of options and actions. From SACRE [RITE], a free and demanding interpretation of Stravinsky’s masterpiece that was awarded the prestigious Bessie Award in 2006 at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York to Brilliant Corners, for which he also wrote the music, taking his title from Thelonius Monk; from The Goldlandbergs to Corner Etudes, Sunny and Story Waters in 2019 (a choreographic creation accompanied by the creation of a musical score, FolkDance, that the choreographer devised with the musicians of the Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt) there is one single principle: a taste for action and an energy that is translated by a spirited fluidity, and which seems to come from the vibrations and rhythms of Tel-Aviv. For it was in this city that he discovered dance at the age of twenty-three after studying at the Academy of Music. In Israel, dance and music bringing together the traditions of Eastern Europe and the roots of the Maghreb, are everywhere. This is where Emmanuel Gat’s absolute confidence comes from, his confidence in pure movement, musicality, space and composition in order to share the intensity of the moment. Convinced that dance goes beyond explanation and categories, he lets the evidence of the choreography emerge in tiny variations. Every line opens up, not one, but several directions.

Through a series of actions and reactions, through rules and mechanisms that are established to be immediately confronted with their exceptions, Emmanuel Gat’s organic dance unfolds joyfully. As he likes to say: "The set becomes a playground for a group of dancers, a place where the forces that lead to movement take free rein, confront each other and increase in power until they shape a coherent world." With great concentration and meticulous precision, the creation is developed by rejecting any set idea, and shows dancers who, in expansive, all-embracing movements that take your breath away, or in stylised duos and trios, invite the spectator to see, hear and feel differently.

Emanuel Gat began working as a choreographer in Israel in 1994. Ten years later he founded his company in Tel-Aviv. He moved to France in 2007 to the Maison de la Danse in Istres, and puts on performances with his company all over the world. He was an associate artist at the Festival Montpellier-Danse in 2013, 2016 and 2018 and at the Scène nationale d’Albi from 2016 to 2019. He is regularly invited to create or send pieces to prestigious companies such as the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, the Ballet national de Marseille, the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Sidney Dance Company, the Candoco Dance Company and the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon.