'Juanjo Arqués opened the proceedings with a breakthrough, Homo Ludens. In this creation, he plays abstract games with an urgent flute concerto by French composer Marc-André Dalbavie. In the lead role, the virtuosic Young Gyu Choi directed the flautist (Sarah Ouakrat) and five couples like a puppet master — before turning into a puppet himself. The dancers, appearing and disappearing on swings, engaged in a taut dialogue with the orchestra, and it is encouraging to see choreographers tackling complex music by living composers.'
— Laura Lacapelle for Financial Times

'Homo Ludens (playing man) is Juanjo Arques' new creation. The dance, music, costumes and stage design are all tightly integrated into a coherent piece of work in which ‘play’ and the ‘game of love’ play a central role. The piece stays clear of the – too often used – overtly sensual elements, to focus more on the playful element as five couples in slithering brown are directed by Cupid. The latter (Young Gyu Choi) storms the stage in a series of classically inspired virtuoso jumps to the flute music of Marc-André Dalbavie (Concert for Flute) played by a fiery Sarah Ouakrat. Choi's opening solo is of the kind you would usually find in the final act of a full length ballet. Ouakrat is put on top of the orchestra pit ‘talking’ directly to Choi connecting the audience to the stage. Choi controls, directs and manipulates the five couples getting them to play when finally the table is turned on him. The use of swings is a nice surprise and the acrobatics of the dancers are thoroughly enjoyable.'
— Lambrecht Wessels for Bachtrack

Choreography: Juanjo Arqués
Music: Flute Concerto, Marc-André Dalbavie
Flute Soloist Sarah Ouakrat
Costume Design: Oliver Haller
Lighting Design: Bert Dalhuysen
Dramaturgy: Fabienne Vegt
Assistant to choreographer: Jose Carlos Blanco Martinez
Ballet Master: Sandrine Leroy

Premiere 11 February 2017 // Made in Amsterdam,
Nationale Opera & Ballet

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