Picture: Dorothea Tuch
Gala by Jérôme Bel
Picture: Dorothea Tuch
Picture: Dorothea Tuch
Gala by Jérôme Bel
Picture: Dorothea Tuch
Picture: Dorothea Tuch
Gala by Jérôme Bel
Picture: Dorothea Tuch
Logo of the Hebbel am Ufer
An evening for all generations! “Gala” offers a different approach to dance. In this collective art form, Jérôme Bel’s project brings together Berlin dance professionals and amateurs of diverse backgrounds. The different acts never call on us to pass judgement, but they reveal the way in which each person’s cultural repertoire involves them in a singular relationship with that desire for something else that dance is.            

After "Disabled Theater", a piece performed by a troupe of mentally handicapped actors, and "Cour d'honneur", which put a group of spectators centre stage, "Gala" uses the same question as its starting point: how can we bring to the realms of onstage representation individuals and bodies that are all too often excluded from such a possibility? How can we make best use of all the various resources of this unique apparatus, the theatre - with its codes, venues, genres and professionals - in order to enlarge the perimeter of what can be shown in it? And how can we (re)shape it into a democratic means that lies within the grasp of all those drawn to dance, singing and the performing arts?

Driven on by the experience of the 'danse et voix' workshops, run with amateurs, Jérôme Bel sought to set down a flexible framework to travel with, and which could give rise to a wide variety of forms. He wanted it to be accessible to amateurs from all different horizons and to provide them with the opportunity to give their all and make the project their own. In doing so, he took that most 'commonplace' of theatrical experiences: the gala, a festive, group occasion, spanning end-of-year shows and amateur performances. He then subverted the genre in order to cover different styles and fragments of stories, which would build up an inventory of a dance 'with no particular qualities' and  bring out all the possible relationships that are unique to the body and voice. What is it that makes us dance? How do we watch dance that might be fragile and precarious without indulging in notions of judgement, such as 'well done' or 'badly done'?

The result is a gala that is bitty, patched up, traversed by moments of reflection, like galleries of living portraits. With its 'Fail again. Fail better' emphasis, "Gala" goes from one theatre to the next, like 'a mirror taking a stroll by the side of a road', and brings home to us something about the making of those we are watching as well as the way we watch.
Trailer "Gala"
Past dates
June 2015, January 2016, May 2016, September 2016, April 2017
Duration: 1:30
Conception and stage direction
Jérôme Bel
Assisted by
Maxime Kurvers
By and with
Sven Hiller, Alexandra Holownia, Sedef Iskin, Jennifer Koch, Marquet Lee, Mara Lemac, Mario Lemac, Sonya Levin, Katharina Maasberg, Fee Aviv Marschall, Eva Meyer-Keller, Zowie Quickert, Kajsa Repotente, Annika Ströhmann, Lajos Talamonti, Jessica Taylor, Heidi Ulrich
Artistic advice and company development
Rebecca Lee
Assistants for the restaging
Simone Truong, Frédéric Seguette
by the dancers
Technical Direction
Gilles Gentner
Sandro Grando
German premiere 23 June 2015 as part of the festival "The Power of Powerlessness"
Repeat performances: January, May, September 2016, April 2017
Production : R.B. Jérôme Bel (Paris). Coproduction: HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), Dance Umbrella (London), TheaterWorks Singapore/72-13, KunstenFestivaldesArts (Brussels), Tanzquartier Wien, Nanterre-Amandiers Centre Dramatique National, Festival d'Automne (Paris), Theater Chur and TAK Theater Liechtenstein (Schaan) - TanzPlan Ost, Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia, Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), La Commune Centre dramatique national d’Aubervilliers, Tanzhaus nrw (Düsseldorf), House on Fire with the support of the European Union cultural program. Supported by: Centre National de la Danse (Pantin), Ménagerie de Verre (Paris) in the framework of Studiolab for providing studio spaces. Thanks to: the partners of the dance and voice workshop, NL Architects and Les rendes-vous d’aillieurs. R.B. Jérôme Bel is supported by Direction régionale des affaires culturelles d'Ile- de-France, French Ministry for Culture and Communication, and by the Institut Français, French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for its international tours.