VanThorhout forms an energetic and precise dissection of male power and the cultural imagery surrounding it.
Whether it be ancient gods, classical heroes, soldiers or athletes, the glorification of male power throughout history has often tended towards a celebration of war, aggression, and violence. Thor, to whom the title refers, is one of its most famous personifications of this. He can unleash a thunderstorm and lives on to this day as a superhero in Marvel comics and films, invariably depicted with his Mjölnir, a hammer with an incredibly short handle. At a time when stereotypical forms of masculinity are strongly being challenged, how can we generate new images of men?
In VanThorhout, Alexander comes on stage as Thor, with his own Mjölnir. As always in Alexander’s oeuvre, the relationship between object and performer quickly becomes ambiguous. When do you lose the strength to manipulate this heavy hammer, and when does the hammer take over and become uncontrollable? What if all these images of power disintegrate?
After a series of group choreographies, Alexander Vantournhout now returns to the stage alone.
VanThorhout is created with the support of la Fondation Hermès within the context of the New Settings programme.
Coproduction: Kunstencentrum VIERNULVIER (Gent), Le CENTQUATRE (Paris), Les Subsistances – SUBS (Lyon), Les 2 Pôles Nationaux des Arts du Cirque normands — La Brèche (Cherbourg) & le Cirque-Théâtre d’Elbeuf, 3 bis f – centre d’arts contemporains (Aix-en-Provence)
- Genre: Dance
- World premiere: 10 October 2022 (Paris)
- Coproduction: Kunstencentrum VIERNULVIER (Gent), Le CENTQUATRE (Parijs), Les Subsistances – SUBS (Lyon), Les 2 Pôles Nationaux des Arts du Cirque normands — La Brèche (Cherbourg) & le Cirque-Théâtre d'Elbeuf, 3 bis f - centre d'arts contemporains (Aix-en-Provence)
Het Theaterfestival (2023)
"A show on the edge of circus and dance, as virtuoso as it’s intelligent, not to be missed.”
"Breathtaking craftsmanship! Dance, sports, contemporary circus and visual arts, Alexander Vantournhout merges different disciplines together and tops it off with a taste of radicality. Choreographer and performer of pieces in which he knows how to combine gestures that are both intimate and extravert, ascetic and spectacular. Whether he performs solo, in duo or with others, he's always playing with the singularities and numerous possibilities of a body, exploiting it beyond the aesthetic canons and with a crazy dexterity."
"These are perhaps the five finest minutes of dance we have seen so far this season. Viewed from the back, you get the illusion that two bodies are dancing. "
**** De Standaard
"Alexander Vantournhout could be called a contemporary Thor. Thanks to years of training in circus and martial arts, his rock-solid body has become the personification of male primal strength and discipline. A sculpture in its own right. The choreographer in Vantournhout dismantles exactly that image. It makes his new solo a clever (self-)critique that breaks stereotypes regarding toxic masculinity from within."
"VanThorhout showed us yet again a different side of this versatile artist. Besides a new study of the body, this gender-fluid choreography also introduces an extra sense of vulnerability in his work. It is mainly VanThorhout’s softness that separates this solo from his previous work, while simultaneously succeeding in effortlessly combining various dance and cultural traditions into a personal, accessible and at times extremely surprising language of movement. Given that we live in a tension-filled time period, this is in many ways a ‘disarming’ work.”
Jury report Het Theaterfestival (2023)