Jérôme Bel

Jérôme Bel and Ariel Osterweis
Past event


Jérôme Bel is a performance by renowned French choreographer Jérôme Bel that he considers to be an “auto-bio-choreo-graphy.” Recalling the origins of his inspiration and the fundamental aspects of his work over the years, Bel links the personal to the artistic and political. This innovative dance work communicates his doubts, commitments, aspirations, and failures. For this presentation at REDCAT, scholar and practitioner of dance and performance Ariel Osterweis will interpret the text with a company of LA-based dancers and performers surveying Bel’s career. Featuring performed as well as documented excerpts of Bel’s decades-long and pioneering work, the format of the piece responds to the principle adopted by Bel’s dance company, for ecological reasons, with the specific work always reinterpreted by a local performer in the language of the country where it is shown.


Presented in English and French with English subtitles in the film excerpts.

Please note: Jérôme Bel contains video depictions of nudity and bodily function. 

Production of the performance: R.B. Jérôme Bel

Production of the local version: REDCAT. Presented in collaboration with CalArts’ Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance. With the support of Villa Albertine and the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles.

Co-production: Ménagerie de Verre (Paris), La Commune centre dramatique national d’Aubervilliers, Festival d’Automne à Paris, R.B. Jérôme Bel (Paris)

The writing of the text of this performance is part of the creative process of Sustainable theatre ?, conceived by Katie Mitchell, Jérôme Bel and Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, and coproduced by STAGES - Sustainable Theatre Alliance for a Green Environmental Shift cofunded by European Union: Dramaten Stockholm, National Theater and Concert Hall, Taipei, NTGent, Piccolo Teatro di Milano -Teatro d’Europa, Teatro Nacional D. Maria II Lisboa, Théâtre de Liège, Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, Croatian National Theatre Zagreb, Slovene National Theatre Maribor, Trafo Budapest, MC93 Maison de la culture de Seine-Saint-Denis

Production of the videos: CN D Centre national de la danse, Opéra national de Paris/Telmondis in association with France 2 with the participation of Mezzo et du Centre national de la cinématographie, R.B. Jérôme Bel/Theater Hora, French Institute Alliance Française - FIAF

Thanks to: Caroline Barneaud, Daphné Biiga Nwanak, Jolente De Keersmaeker, Zoé De Sousa, Florian Gaité, Chiara Gallerani, Danielle Lainé, Xavier Le Roy, Marie-José Malis, Frédéric Seguette, Christophe Wavelet

R.B Jérôme Bel is supported by the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles d’Ile-de-France, French Ministry for Culture.

Jérôme Bel is associated artist to Le Quartz – scène nationale de Brest and to Centre national de la danse (Pantin)

For ecological reasons, R.B. Jérôme Bel company doesn’t travel by plane anymore.

about the artists

Jérôme Bel

In his early pieces (name given by the author, Jérôme Bel, Shirtology…), Jérôme Bel applied structuralist operations to dance in order to single out the primary elements from theatrical spectacle. The neutralization of formal criteria and the distance he took from choreographic language led him to reduce his pieces to their operative minimum—the better to bring out a critical reading of the economy of the stage, and of the body on it.

His interest subsequently shifted from dance as a stage practice to the issue of the performer as a particular individual. The series of portraits of dancers (Véronique Doisneau, Cédric Andrieux, Isadora Duncan…) broaches dance through the narrative of those who practice it, emphasizes words in a dance spectacle, and stresses the issue of the singularity of the stage. Here, formal and institutional criticism takes the form of a deconstruction through discourse, in a subversive gesture which radicalizes its relation to choreography.

Through his use of biography, Bel politicizes his questions, aware as he is of the crisis involving the subject in contemporary society and the forms its representation takes on stage. In embryonic form in The show must go on, he deals with questions about what the theater can be in a political sense—questions which come to the fore from Disabled Theater and Gala. In offering the stage to non-traditional performers (amateurs, people with physical and mental handicaps, children…), he shows a preference for the community of differences over the formatted group, and a desire to dance over choreography, and duly applies the methods of a process of emancipation through art.

Since 2019, for ecological reasons, Bel and his company no longer use airplanes for their travels and it is with this new paradigm that his latest performances with dancers such as Xiao Ke and Laura Pante have been created and produced.

He has been invited to contemporary art biennials and museums (Tate Modern, MoMA, Documenta 13, the Louvre…), where he has put on performances and shown films. Two of them, Véronique Doisneau and Shirtology, are in the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne-Centre Pompidou and FRAC Normandie. Bel is regularly invited to give lectures at universities, including Waseda, UCLA, and Stanford). In 2013, together with the choreographer Boris Charmatz, he co-authored Emails 2009-2010, which was published by Les Presses du Réel.

In 2005, Bel received a Bessie Award for the New York performances of The show must go on. Three years later, with Pichet Klunchun, he won the Routes Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity (European Cultural Foundation). Disabled Theater was chosen in 2013 for the Theatertreffen in Berlin and won the Swiss “present-day dance creation” prize. In 2021, Bel and Wu-Kang Chen received the Taishin Performing Arts Award for the performance Dances for Wu-Kang Chen.



Ariel Osterweis

Ariel Osterweis is a scholar-practitioner of dance and performance. She has a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from UC Berkeley and is on faculty at CalArts, where she teaches Performance Studies and Critical Dance Studies. Osterweis writes about embodied performance, theorizing at the intersection of race, sexuality, gender, labor, and movement. She has three book projects underway: Body Impossible: Desmond Richardson and the Politics of Virtuosity (Oxford University Press, Oxford Studies in Dance Theory Series, forthcoming); Prophylactic Aesthetics: Latex, Spandex, and Sexual Anxieties Performed (University of Michigan Press, Theater: Theory/Text/Performance Series); and Disavowing Virtuosity, Performing Aspiration: Dance and Performance Interviews (Routledge). As a dancer and performer, Osterweis has worked professionally with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Mia Michaels R.A.W., Heidi Latsky, and Julie Tolentino. She was also a dramaturg for John Jasperse and Narcissister. Projects on the horizon include an experimental memoir called Bad Koreans (minor mourning) and the development of a performance institute. Osterweis lives in Los Angeles.

Instagram / Website

cast & creative team

Text and Video: Jérôme Bel

Assistant: Maxime Kurvers, Henrique Neves

Director: Ariel Osterweis

Rehearsal Assistant: Eloise DeLuca

Performers: Brityn Ramsey, Frédéric Seguette, Claire Haenni, Gisèle Pelozuelo, Yseult Roch, Eloise Deluca, Giada Jiang, Siyona Ravi, Adie San Diego, Tzong-Han Wu, Noah Am Ende, Lioness-Sia Isatu Foday, Isabella Hamilton, María Jurado, Grace Major, Phoebe McDowell, Madison Moser, Aanya Pawar​​​​​​​, Selma Stocker​​​​​​​, Lillie Yokom, Véronique Doisneau, Damian Bright, Matthias Brücker, Remo Beuggert, Julia Häusermann, Tiziana Pagliaro, Miranda Hossle, Peter Keller, Gianni Blumer, Matthias Grandjean, Sara Hess, Lorraine Meier, Simone Truong, Vanessa Hernández Cruz, Barnaby Levy​​​​​​​, Nico Malinow​​​​​​​, John Tucker​​, Patricia Vargas, sam wentz, Soleil Wynter, Catherine Gallant

Images: Herman Sorgeloos, Marie-Hélène Rebois, Aldo Lee, Pierre Dupouey, Olivier Lemaire, Chloé Mossessia