Word from the choreographer

José Navas’ new group piece, Diptych, is set to the music of J.S. Bach. The first part is set to pieces drawn from Books I and II of the Well-Tempered Clavier. The music for the second part comes from the sonatas and partitas (or suites) for solo cello. While in some previous works Navas has collaborated with contemporary composers, here he continues his exploration of the potential for his choreographic vocabulary to resonate with classical music. He had previously used piano for the group piece S (2008) and the cello in Solo with Cello (2001).

José Navas’ work is known for combining extreme technical control and architectural precision with organic, fluid and passionate movement. In Diptych, Navas seizes the opportunity presented by the diptych form to segregate his two sides as choreographer and dance artist. The first part, set to piano, is structured, controlled, precise, angular, and architectural. The ten dancers are following the structure of the music. The second part is entirely different. More fluid, joyous, and improvised, here the dancers are listening to the heart of the music and dancing from it. Relative to previous work, the two parts of Diptych reveal greater classical influence.

The presentations of Diptych at Théâtre Maisonneuve in Montreal, on November 13-14, 2012, were preceded by a brand new solo: Prélude à Diptych. For this short piece, choreographed and performed by José Navas, the artistic director to Compagnie Flak also renewed his collaboration with composer Alexander MacSween.

“An opera for the eyes.”
Danscussions, Montreal, 2012

“The figures in Diptych are breathtaking.”
Le Délit, Montreal, 2012

“Perfectly executed and mesmerizing to watch. Diptych is a refreshing, energetic take on a classical form and a classical score.”
The Rover, Montreal, 2012

“Classicism embraced […] The spatial relationship between the dancers is a true strength of the choreographer. The space is constantly changing, deconstructed and reconstructed in an endless chain.”
Dfdanse, Montreal, 2012

“With this work for the large stage, Navas flirts, knowingly, with lyricism and positions himself, more than ever, in the ranks of neoclassical choreographers.”
La Presse, Montreal, 2012

“Fluidity. It is, in my opinion, the essence of Navas’ style. His harmonious work offers smooth, sparkling moments.”
Boucle Magazine, Montreal, 2012

Diptych (promo)

Recent Tours

  • Concertgebouw de Bruges, Belgium, May 14, 2011 | WORLD PREMIERE


Choreographer: José Navas
Dancers: the Company
Movement vocabulary was made in collaboration with the dancers
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach (Well-Tempered Clavier, Cello Suites)

Lighting: Marc Parent
Costume Design: José Navas
Fabrication: L’Atelier de Couture Sonya B

Length: 60 minutes

Photos: Valerie Simmons

Original cast: Douglas Scott Baum, Lindsey Renee Derry, Sarah Fregeau, Alexandre Jolicoeur, François Richard, Lauren Semeschuk, Emilie Tremblay, Maleek Washington

Diptych is a production of José Navas/Compagnie Flak in coproduction with the Concertgebouw in Bruges (Belgium).

Discover the piece and its process in video

Behind the scenes of Diptych