Elena Marzano ©AB
©Alice Blangero
©Alice Blangero
©Alice Blangero
©Alice Blangero
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Elena Marzano ©AB
©Alice Blangero
©Alice Blangero
©Alice Blangero
©Alice Blangero

Memento Mori

SIDI LARBI CHERKAOUI

Memento Mori. Remember that you will die. This age-old Latin expression is the starting point of the new work by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. This sentence is no threatening injunction or macabre desire to remind us that death awaits us all. The choreographer simply invites us not to allow ourselves to be numbed by the idea that if death is inevitable, there is nothing to be said or done about it but to wait for it. On the contrary, death deserves our regular and constantly developing attention. For it is certain that we do not think about death in the same way as a child, as an adult or as an older person. For the choreographer, the saddest thing would be that routinely, we end up forgetting about it… To think about death is to remember that it has been our silent companion from our first scream to our dying breath and that in its constant presence, our life becomes the greatest of mysteries. Socrates said no less by saying that philosophy was practice for dying. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has always sought to infuse his choreography with this spiritual dimension which prompts us to reclaim our reality. That reality does not change, it is the way we look at it which changes and enables us to be individuals in progress. To remember is to grow.

This philosophy is illustrated in the body language which the choreographer has developed. Seeking to create a developing, breathing movement which is constantly fluid, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is primarily concerned to link choreographic motifs together. The main thing is not so much the movement itself, but the way it arises from the previous one and sets up the next one. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s dance is “liquid”, it is about circular sequences, about alternating flourishes and retreats. More than the vocabulary, it is the syntax which matters. For the dancers, this constant fluidity prompts them never to settle but to become part of an aesthetic flow where the body is rarely still. The relation to the floor in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui work reflects the impossibility of interrupting the choreographic phrase. The body has hardly reclined, when it is carried off by what is to come. In this concept of dance, music plays a fundamental part. That’s what shapes our view and makes us see a movement in one way rather than another... Remember: things do not change, only our view changes.

With Memento Mori, this is the third time that the choreographer has experimented with this process with the Company of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. This piece concludes a trilogy which started with In Memoriam (2004), then Mea Culpa (2006). Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui confided that creating for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, is a bit like coming home: “Some people I know are still dancing, others have become ballet masters or teachers. One gets the impression that the Company has changed but actually, it’s always the same. It’s really moving to be back.”


Choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Music: Woodkid
Scenography: Amine Amharech
Costumes: Jan-Jan Van Essche
Lighting: Fabiana Piccioli
Duration: 30 min

Premiere held on July 19th 2017, Salle Garnier de l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo
World creation for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, ballet for 10 male dancers and 11 female dancers
Coproduction : Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Ballet royal de Flandre