SONICO – The Heart Is the Muscle We Like to Work Out.

Lisi Estaras, Ido Batash & Sonico Ensemble

SONICOThe Heart Is the Muscle we Like to Work Out is a new dance and live music performance created and produced
by MonkeyMind Company.
The creation is led by choreographers Ido Batash and Lisi Estaras.
It is their second artistic work together after making The Jewish Connection Project in 2017. For SONICO, Ido and Lisi cross hands and collaborate with musician Ariel Eberstein and his Brussels Brussels band Sonico.

Why Tango Now? 

Tango in its classical form requires two partners dancing in relation to one another.
Rigid roles are given, evoking a certain perfection, a balanced situation. Nevertheless, tango can also be a non-completed and a non-harmonious configuration by deconstructing and challenging its own essence, composition and cultural background.

In SONICO the makers want to challenge and redefine their own present through dance and music, They want to confront their perceptions of reality and develop a new choreographic language,
a raw and clownesque physicality taking inspiration from the Art Brut.

In an almost frozen world, the public enters a world already in place. Two figures move in a mechanical, minimalistic way – as if they are empty on the inside. It seems like they have been there forever, in the abstract landscape made of plastic. It could be somewhere in the past or in the future. Maybe that’s how our planet will look like in some years from now? The audience is witnessing this curious universe.

When the music starts, the figures react to it abruptly and everything is activated suddenly. From this moment on, the piece shifts to an eccentric and energetic choreography written to the music. Some moments we have the feeling that we are looking at a black and white slapstick film; over-expressive and funny. The tango music refers to the supreme connection of two people, dancing together, supporting and provoking each other. Sounds and words appear as to explain this somehow clownesque world. How to get over a broken heart, the confusion of love, open heart surgery… The musicians intervene and join everyone on stage in an aerobic dance; everyone is working out his heart. One moment, the piece shifts to a less abstract context. Finally the real tango dance as we know it is being introduced… But they become trapped in a repetitive trajectory of events. They desperately need to become one and yet remain autonomous. This circle is hard to get away from. They step out, distancing themselves from the music, and take a final decision.

Following the collaboration of Lisi and Ido for The Jewish Connection Project (première CAMPO 14/02/2019) – where they took their ambiguous feelings towards their Jewish identity as a starting point – they now explore the opposite side of identity. More precisely, the identity that has not been determined by pre-set social, ethnic and cultural factors.
What would it be like to be a blank page, a worry-free individual without history or social background? What if “movement” and “state of being” are on a level of absence, and yet things are happening, evolving, moving. What does it mean if you do not know who you are or what are you made of?
It’s a dive into the vast imaginary state, that could glimpse back at a sense of humanity.

For the choreographic research, Lisi and Ido did not start from the analyses of existing codes and types of tango. They rather approach tango through the MonkeyMind method, translating chaotic thoughts and feelings into dance movement. In SONICO the makers elaborate this specific dance language and look into the relation between dance and the world of Art Brut, the (mostly visual) outsider art. E.g. the repetitive system, the ambulatory automatism: a series of trajectories following fixed structures with no other purpose than the trajectory itself, the systematic compulsory behaviour to repeat one action again and again, the feverish urge to create an idiosyncratic world, to express very basic impulses…

For the music, Lisi and Ido chose the tango compositions of Eduardo Rovira (1925-1980) as their source of inspiration and lead. This provocative Argentinian avant-garde composer tempted already in the early sixties at the musical deconstruction of tango.

Tango music – and the music of Rovira in particular – expresses strong moods, sudden swing changes, anxiety, abruptness and a sense of disconnection, of an unstable ground. Using the complexity of rhythms and eclectic influences (folk, baroque, jazz, contemporary…) that Rovira’s music reveals, the music becomes an ideal counterpoint to create an unknown landscape, in which we live our appearance and behaviour with the unawareness of kids playing.

PREMIERE: 5 March 2020, De Grote Post (Oostende, BE)


CONCEPT, CHOREOGRAPHY & DANCE Lisi Estaras & Ido Batash 
MUSIC Eduardo Rovira 
SONICO MUSICIANS Camilo Cordoba (guitar), Ivo De Greef (piano), Lysandre Donoso (bandoneon), Ariel Eberstein (double bass), Stephen Meyer (violin) 
DRAMATURGY Sara Vanderieck 
SET DESIGN Peter De Blieck 
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION PLAN B – Creative Agency for Performing Arts Hamburg – Carmen Mehnert & Anne Schmidt 
PRODUCTION MonkeyMind vzw Ghent in collaboration with Sonico Brussels COPRODUCTION Le Manège Maubeuge (F), De Grote Post Oostende (B), MA Scène Nationale – Pays de Montbéliard (F) 
RESIDENCIES Tanzhaus Zürich (CH), BAMP Bruxelles (B) 
WITH THE SUPPORT OF les ballets C de la B (B), Vooruit Gent (B)