het Theater Festival

“Mitten wir im Leben sind is an ode, no, a plea for quietude and deceleration in an age driven by frenzied impulses. It makes this Rosas creation magnificent, timeless art.”

Jury report

“Samenwerking tussen choreografe en cellist Queyras zorgt voor vuurwerk bij wereldpremière.”

De Morgen

Mitten wir im Leben sind/Bach6Cellosuiten

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker/Rosas & Jean-Guihen Queyras


Here, all space figures and phrases of movement merge with the music to create an experience that is both extremely simply and improbably rich. Beautiful.” This was dance critic Pieter T’Jonck’s verdict on ‘Mitten wir im Leben sind/ Bach6Cellosuiten’. In this dance performance, two giants of dance and chamber music come together. It is no coincidence that both have been highly esteemed guests at deSingel for many years. The story of deSingel and choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker goes back to 1984. Jean-Guihen Queyras has been one of our favourite cellists since 2001. In this choreography for three male and two female dancers, including Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker herself, music and dance search separately for the essence of Bach’s Cello Suites, and their mutual interplay is revealed.

Choreography Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker | Cello Jean-Guihen Queyras | created with and danced by Boštjan Antončič, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Marie Goudot, Julien Monty & Michaël Pomero | Music Johann Sebastian Bach, Zes suites voor onbegeleide cello BWV 1007 - 1012 | costumes An D’Huys | Lumière Luc Schaltin | dramaturgy Jan Vandenhouwe | sound Alban Moraud | artistic advice Carlos Garbin & Femke Gyselinck | artistic coordination and planning Anne Van Aerschot | artistic advice Thierry De Mey | technical director Joris Erven | coordination costumes Heide Vanderieck | Production Rosas | Co-production De Munt / La Monnaie (Brussel / Bruxelles), Ruhrtriennale, Concertgebouw Brugge, Philharmonie de Paris – Théâtre de la Ville – Paris – Festival d’Automne à Paris, Sadler’s Wells (London), Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Opéra de Lille, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), Montpellier Danse 2018 | Thanks to Thomas Hertog, Palle Dyrvall, Anke Loh, Aurianne Skybyk, Mathieu Bonilla, François Deppe, Alain Franco, Kimiko Nishi & Maria Eva Rodriguez | with the support from Tax Shelter van de Belgische Federale Overheid, in cooperation with Casa Kafka Pictures Tax Shelter empowered by Belfius

From the jury report:

The cooperation of the year was a match made in heaven. That match was between Rosas and the world-famous cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras when they set to work together on Bach’s cello suites. And not for the first time for choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, for she had already danced with Bach in Toccata, Zeitung and the magnificent Partita 2. The mathematical structure of his music, coupled with a deep spirituality, runs like a thread through her oeuvre.

The longer the choreographer goes on making shows, the more transparent her work seems to become, stripped of all excess baggage. As if she is trying to tunnel her way even closer to the essence, to that one moment when one note and one movement say everything that needs to be said: even the unsayable. Just as Bach draws maximum emotion from one instrument, here she makes a surprisingly big impact with just a dancer, a cellist, spirals on an empty floor and scanty lighting.  

De Keersmaeker matched each of four of the six suites to one of her most loyal dancers, who then gives the consistent palette of movements a different intensity, adding a further touch of colour to the atmosphere of the suites. Marie Goudot’s incredible energy and zest for life in the third suite certainly make a lasting impression. De Keersmaeker herself performs the role of ceremony master.

Queyras also proves to be a born musician with an exceptional sense of timing and structure. It is amazing how full he makes that small cello sound. The contemplative, melancholy sarabandes, which evoke man’s vulnerability, trigger the most heartfelt emotions. At those moments the title is at its most meaningful. Mitten wir im Leben sind In the midst of life – is a verse from a medieval hymn.  It continues as follows: Midden in het leven zijn we / omgeven door de dood – In the midst of life we are in death.

Mitten wir im Leben sind is an ode, no, a plea for quietude and deceleration in an age driven by frenzied impulses. It makes this Rosas creation magnificent, timeless art.  

€ 30 (standard) / € 25 (under-25s/over-65s) / € 8 (under-19s)
duration: 120 min.