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La Lutte (2011) -  a Retina Dance Company production

/// La Lutte (2011)

La Lutte (French for ‘The Wrestle’) is a male duet created by choreographer Filip Van Huffel and performed by Retina’s long-term members Matthew Slater and Steven Martin. Their performance demonstrates how intricacy and power can seamlessly interweave.

La Lutte was created and premiered in Edinburgh Festival 2010, and had an impressive and very succesful two week run. It has since been on tour and most recently was performed in Busan International Dance Festival in South Korea.

Movement material was devised and inspired from visits to Belgian day centre for young children with mental disabilities Het Veer in Sint-Niklaas, by looking at the extreme, uncomfortable movements that are made by children who have severe disabilities, how they wrestle to communicate, move, express happiness and sadness. The idea was not to look at the social aspect of their situations but look at their movement and on how we can reconstruct their movement and make it into dance.

The second stimulus for La Lutte was the ancient martial art of Jiu Jitsu. As a young person Filip trained extensively in Jiu-Jitsu and achieved a black belt at the age of 15. Jiu-Jitsu is a collective name for Japanese martial art styles including unarmed and armed techniques. Jiuj jitsu evolved among the samurai of feudal Japan as a method for defeating an armed and armored opponent without weapons. Due to the ineffectiveness of striking against an armored opponent, the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy took the form of pins, joint locks, and throws. These techniques were developed around the principle of using an attacker's energy against him, rather than directly opposing it.

La Lutte is a 30 minute production that can tour as part of mixed evening bills or in festivals. With a minimum performance area of 8 x 8 metres La Lutte can also be programmed in smaller or non-traditional venues. 

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