When I look at a Strawberry, I think of a Tongue.

A project by Lisi Estaràs, Mirko Banovic, Kristien De Proost & Sara Vanderieck in collaboration with Serge Aimé Coulibaly & guests.

© Maya Wilsens

“May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.”Nelson Mandela

The project.

In When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue dancer/choreographer Lisi Estaràs, musician/composer Mirko Banovic, actress/writer Kristien De Proost and dramaturg/theatre maker Sara Vanderieck combine their practices in a multidisciplinary narration about their separate pasts and the common present. The starting point for this creation is Goliarda Sapienza’s novel The art of JoyIts questionings about social and political engagement, personal growth, parenting, sexual desire and aging are the pretext to meet each other.

Sapienza’s novel tellsthe story of Modesta, a woman born in Sicily in 1900. The story begins a few years after her birth and does not include her death. The writer jumps from thought to thought, using different forms of language according to the emotional content of the narration. It is the story of a girl growing into a woman and the story about the political history of Europe from 1900 to late 80s and the story about what a political or a social commitment could be and the story about how to raise children and the story about young men/sons growing up and the story of what could be the concept of “freedom” and and and …

The aim is not to stage the 700-page novel but to use it as a pretext for a dialogue about how the three artists experience life and living in this world today and how to communicate about that. The result will be a series of separate “tableaus” inspired by the novel and their personal relation to today’s world and the specific contexts of the environments in which the performance is created. The research will take place on the verge of the abstract and the concrete, of the private and the public, of fiction and reality.

To be as much in the here and now as possible when performing, the “tableaus” can be performed or not in all possible combinations. The “playlist” will be different for each performance depending on the personal relation of the artists with their environment that day and the specific local setting and audience

To make the performance as versatile as possible, it will be initially created for different settings outside the regular theatre space, from small rooms to public spaces, from cafes and brasseries to museums.

The creation.

“…I have made love standing up, sitting down, lying down, on my knees, stretched out on one side or the other…” 

Edouard Levé

© Sara Vanderieck

A strong common ground.

Estaràs’ chorographical language “Monkey Mind” came to exist rather accidentally. By pushing the velocity of movement, she discovered a strange disconnection between her brain and body. The body was faster than the brain and thus they went their separate ways. “Monkey Mind” refers to the endless chatter in your head when you jump from thought to thought, emotion to emotion, like a monkey from tree to tree.

Bass player/composer Mirko Banovic is best known today for his contribution to the works and concerts by Arno and Arsenal. Besides these big names in the Belgian music scene, he worked and works with a diverse array of musicians from very different disciplines. He considers the investigation of music that emerges from literary material combined with the solo live improvisation with two dancers as a new track in the evolution of his personal oeuvre.

In May 2017 Kristien De Proost leaves the Belgian theatre collective Tristero to take a freer artistic position. Being part of a company means to plan a long time in advance and that leaves little empty time for germinating projects. In addition, she feels a need for a new artistic course, more risks and more individual responsibility. In her writing for theater, De Proost wants to take a step further in the process started with On Track in 2013: a personal writing that touches universal themes and can switch from banal to abstract, from humor to seriousness, from literature to sound poem.

Vanderieck has developed a personal way to support the artistic process as a dramaturg/outside eye. Patience and an extreme openness are at the centre of this method. Artwork and a stage/public performance is the perfect medium to communicate a combination of things/feelings/thoughts/characters that are not compatible in the outside day to day world. The search for that combination of incompatible layers to communicate the true essence of the artist’s research is the centre of what Vanderieck supports during the creation.

Even if they have been developing different artistic practices during their careers, there is also a strong common ground in the work of these four artists.

The search for a chorographical and musical language that allows all dualities and energies to coexist in one body, in one sound range and in one theatrical world implies a strong connection with the here and now. This work doesn’t allow escapes into a most personal, private, closed state of mind. The personal and the private can only exist inside and throughout the communication.

Coming from a more theatrical and social background, they are not afraid to use these skills in their creative processes. The use of voice and/or language is part of the chorographical material. If the content of the creation asks for it, interactions with an audience and/or other guests and/or the live environment are part of the research possibilities.

Both Estaràs and Vanderieck have been researching the possibilities of the use of traditional dances in their contemporary work. This research has been highly inspiring, especially the use of common codes that allow a community to participate in a movement ritual and the search for the essence of that material and how to translate that to a contemporary movement language.

The art of Joy & the rage of Zizek.

© Sara Vanderieck

During the first research periods, other inspirational material was added to the table. The use of a black and white contrast and the compositions in the oeuvre of photographers Mario Giacomelli and Francesca Woodman proved to inspire the use of time and space during improvisations. Using non-musical soundscapes as a base for improvisation led to a discovery of different forms of energy. The artists discovered a strong connection for instance between the rhythm and tempo of philosopher Slavoy Zizek’s speeches and their movement material. Personal interpretations based on the “automatic writing” from Edouard Levé’s novel Autoportrait revealed a first glimpse of the way spoken word could exist in the performance.

A game in the here and now.

To be able to perform in the here and now as much as possible, it was decided to create a series of “tableaux” that may or may not be performed in any combination. The “playlist” will be different for each performance, depending on the personal relationship of the artist with each other and their surroundings that day, the specific setting and audience. The starting point of each “tableau” is a layer of Sapienza’s novel.

In the coming research laboratories, different other artists (musicians, actors, painters, video artists) will be invited to participate in the research. The aim is to research the possibility for a few different artists to be invited to perform with Estaràs, Banovic, De Proost and Vanderieck, depending on the specific performance place and time. These guests will have the same freedom to perform in relation to their reality that day but within a common (created and rehearsed) frame.

The intimate space

The individual artistic course of the creators is happening primarily in the major international theatre, dance and music scene. Such a successful career is obviously fantastic for the artists. The research of another new way of creating is much less evident on such big stages.

With When I look at a strawberry, I think of a tongue Estaràs, Banovic, De Proost and Vanderieck want to take the time and space to deepen their artistic development together and individually. How can dance and music create a literature-based narrative together? What structure and method is needed to re-create another version of the performance every day? In jazz this is a standard procedure, but how can this be realized within a multidisciplinary context? To what extend can the real context of a specific presentation really affect the performance played there? What does it mean to make such a narrative outside of an equipped theatre?

The creation of this version of When I look at a strawberry, I think of a tongue for the non-theatrical space is the first step in a larger research and creation. The artists deliberately choose to stay away of the theatres and large(r) audiences for this first development phase. That way, they want to create a work that can be played in less obvious places, both within and outside of Europe.

The Trailer

The Artists.

Lisi Estaràs

Elizabeth (Lisi) Estaràs (1972) begins to dance in Cordoba (Argentina). After trying to combine her studies in social work with a professional dance training, she chooses dance. Thanks to a scholarship she leaves Argentina at age 19 to study at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. Quite soon afterwards she joins the ranks of the Batsheva Ensemble in Tel Aviv.

After five years in Israel Lisi moves to Europe and starts her career with les ballets C de la B in 1997. She creates and dances Iets op Bach, Wolf, vsprs, pitié!, C(H)ŒURS and tauberbach by Alain Platel, and Tempus Fugit by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. She is also part of the educational project and gives workshops and master classes in Belgium and around the world.

Over the years she also creates her own work. She makes and dances: Bartime with Einat Tuchman (Campo, Ghent), Cocina Erotica and No Wonder with Constanza Macras (Schaubühne, Berlin), Leche (Passerelle, Kortrijk) and A distancia (Teatro Real, Cordoba, Argentina). For les ballets C de la B she choreographs Patchagonia, Bolero, The Gaza Monologues, primero-erscht and Dance Dance, a coproduction with het KIP (Ghent).

Lisi also makes choreographies for other directors. She works on Hiob by Sandra Strunz (Theater Bonn), Das Brennende Haus by Emilio Garcia Wehbi and Maricel Alvarez (City Theater Bern) and het Hamilton Complex by Lies Pauwels. (HETPALEIS). Antwerp)

In 2015 she creates the solo La esclava with choreographer Ayelen Parolin (La Biennale de Charleroi, shows in les Brigitines, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles (Paris), Le Gymnase (Roubaix), Julidans (Amsterdam), …).

In 2016, she creates the performance Monkey Mind with three dancers with Down syndrome for Platform K (Campo, Ghent) and the solo The speech for dancer Irene Russolillo (Festival Equilibrium, Rome).

She also performs the new creation by Benny Claessens Learning how to walk (05/18/16, NTGent).

Mirko Banovic

Composer and musician Mirko Banovic (1970) studied at conservatory Ghent (Jazz Bass)

He recorded with: Arno, Arsenal, Zita Swoon, An Pierlé, Sioen, Meuris, Jane Birkin, Olla Vogola, Axel Red, Julien Doré, Adamo, Arid, PJDS, Marie Warnant, Anton Walgrave, Deus, Jasper Steverlink, Cinerex, Tom Pintens, David Bovée, Eva De Roovere, Belle Roscoe, Sarah Ferri, Teun Verbruggen, Yasmine, Lais, Magic Ballet ensemble, Woodface, White wine dark grapes, Roland, Lunascape, Root, Baloji, Gabriel Rios , Ultrasonic, Stefan Eicher, Dick Annegarn, Stella Kumalo (Paul Simon) & Kaya Machlandu (Hugh Masakela).

He performed live with: Arno, Arsenal, Zita Swoon, Lou Reed, Jane Birkin, Adamo, Arid, Daan, Shawn Smith, Meuris, Ozark Henry, John Garcia (Kyuss), Garland Jeffries, Pieter Jan De Smet, Viktor Laslo, Roland, Peter Vermeersch, Sioen, Lais, Lidmor, Miossec, Anton Walgrave, DJ Grasshopper, K’ choice, S.w.a.n., White wine dark grapes, Steppe, Woodface, Wicona Airbag, Charlelie Couture, BJ Scott, Aaron Perrino, Kenny Wheeler, Mike Ladd, Willy Willy and Lidmor.

Banovic composed music for compagnie Cecilia’s theatre performances de Drumleraar and Soeur Sourire.

Currently he is performing with Arno, Tjens Matic, Arsenal, Wycona airbag, P4P, S.w.a.n., Moondog project, Modderhed PJDS, Roland Van Campenhout and Flat Earth Society/Boggamasta..

Kristien De Proost

Kristien De Proost (1972) is a Belgian artist and writer who works mainly in the theatre. After studying Dutch and English literature at the University in Leuven, she receives a Master Degree in Performing Arts at the Studio Herman Teirlinck in Antwerp (2000) She works as a freelancer at Toneelhuis (Luk Perceval, Jasper Brandis), het Paleis, Victoria (Christoph Frick), Crew (Eric Joris), KVS, BRONKS (Johan Dehollander), Transquinquennal and LOD (Josse De Pauw).

From 2004 until 2017 she is part of the artistic core of the Brussels based theatre artists collective Tristero, with whom she creates and performs i.a. Abigail’s Party, Iemand van ons, Face to the Wall, Living, Coaltion and We Want More. These, often multilingual, performances tour throughout Belgium firstly, and later on also internationally, mostly in the Netherlands and France.

In 2013 Kristien De Proost creates her first solo performance Toestand, a theatrical self-portrait. She develops the concept, writes the text and performs the extremely physical performance: running on a treadmill for more than 70 minutes while describing her present state. The French version of the performance, Au courant, has its opening night at the Printemps des Comédiens festival in Montpellier, France. The English version, On Track, plays a four weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The three versions have been performed at venues and festivals in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, Lithuania and Brazil and are still touring.

In 2017 Kristien De Proost decides to leave the Tristero collective to focus on writing and more solo work.

Besides theatre work, Kristien De Proost also acts in movies (Girl (2018), Problemski Hotel (2015) and tv-series (De Twaalf (2018), Kinderen van Dewindt (2006-2008).

Sara Vanderieck

Sara Vanderieck (1978) obtained her degree in theatre directing at RITS in Brussels.

In 2006, she joined les ballets C de la B, first as production manager for VSPRS and pitié! (Alain Platel) and for Patchagonia (Lisi Estaras) later as artistic assistant to Alain Platel for Out of Context – for Pina and C(H)OEURS and to Lisi Estaràs for Dans Dans and Leche.

In 2012, she leaves les ballets C de la B to join the artistic direction of De Grote Post a brand new cultural centre in Ostend.

She also starts working as a dramaturg/outside eye for different dance creations from then on. She works with Claron McFadden/Muziektheater Transparant (Lilith, 2012), Serge Aimé Coulibaly/FASO DANSE THEÂTRE (Fadjiri, 2013; Nuit Blanche à Ouagadougou, 2014; GLOED, 2015; Kalakuta Republik, 2016 and Kirina, 2018), Bára Sigfúsdóttir (The Lover, 2015; Tide, 2016 and being, 2017) Ayelen Parolin & Lisi Estaràs (La Esclava, 2015), Platform K/les ballets C de la B/Lisi Estaràs (Monkey Mind, 2016) and Naïf Productions (La Mécanique des ombres, 2016; des gestes blancs, 2017-2018 ; la chair a ses raisons, 2018)

Partner from the start – Serge Aimé Coulibaly

The first stages of research and creation of When I look at a Strawberry, I think of a Tongue in 2016 and 2017 happened in a close and intense collaboration with Serge Aimé Coulibaly. Due to the tour schedule of his own creations Kalakuta Republik and Kirina during the season 18/19, Coulibaly will join the team as a guest artist. Since one of the starting points of this creation is exactly the development of a flexible and adaptable structure, this evolution fits the artistic concept fully.

Serge Aimé Coulibaly is a dancer and choreographer from Burkina Faso. He was born in Bobo Dioulasso, and has worked in Europe and the rest of the world since 2002.

His inspiration is rooted in African culture and his art is committed to the necessity of powerful contemporary dance, rooted in emotion but always the bearer of reflection and hope. His vigorous expressiveness makes his work universal and finds a response on several continents. Since he set up his Faso Danse Théâtre company in 2002, Serge Aimé has been exploring complex themes, with the desire to offer young people a genuine positive dynamism. His productions have been presented in many theatres in Europe and Africa and have also been invited to several festivals.

This open view of the world and of differences, which he always questions, plus his constructive energy and will to persevere, has led to collaboration with several other artists since the beginning of his career. He regularly works on international productions, both as a performer and choreographer.

Serge Aimé’s work, always in motion and fuelled by curiosity and generosity, has aroused the interest and confidence of a great many organizations. In addition, his desire and will to share his knowledge has led him to make dance pieces for amateur dancers.

During his artistic training with the FEEREN company in Burkina Faso, headed by Amadou Bourou, and afterwards in his time at Le Centre National Chorégraphique de Nantes, under Claude Brumachon, Serge Aimé Coulibaly was able to develop his talent and personal tastes and then transfer them into art. He aims to develop an original creativity and involves the dancers and choreographers who attend his master-classes in questioning their responsibility as performing artists and the power of the vocabulary that has a significance in their role as citizens.

To provide a place for experiment and concrete reflection for his creations and his concept of artistic commitment, Serge Aimé set up ANKATA in Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso): an International Laboratory for Research and Production in the Performing Arts. It is open to everyone and is a crossroads for exchanges between different continents, disciplines and communities with the common aim of inventing the future.


(this list is in constant development)

Sayouba Sigué

After a childhood spent in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Sayouba Sigué came back to Burkina for high school and entered the cultural and artistic scene in Ouagadougou. He is trained in traditional and contemporary dances.

Discovered in 2001 by a young Burkinabe choreographer Souleymane Porgo, he joins his company (Téguérer) and is initiated to “contemporary” dance and “afro-contemporary” dance. He also benefits from training by several other choreographers with different styles and from different origins. That is how dance, goes from being an extra-curricular activity, to progressively becoming a passion that he chooses today to make his work.

He takes part in many creations with big names in the African dance world such as Irène Tassembédo (in Souf es, Carmen Falinga Awa and Le sacre du tempo), Serge Aimé Coulibaly (in A Benguer, Babemba, Nuit Blanche à Ouagadougou and Kalakuta Republik) and Kathrin Wehlisch (Schiff der Traüme). Today he lives in Lyon (France) and is creating his own company.

Alois Reinhardt

Alois Reinhardt, born in Switzerland, first graduated as a theatermaker at the Theater St. Gallen before he began his theater studies at the University of Music and Theater in Berne in 2003. During his studies, he worked on HIGHWAY 101 by Meg Stuart. At the theatertreffen of German-speaking theatre students, he was awarded the first ensemble and audience prize for the production LIVING IN OBLIVION. He worked with the performance artist Simone Aughterlony, toured with the Berlin based band “Bonaparte” as a dancer and performer and worked on several projects at the Heimathafen Neukölln with the group “Suite 42”. From 2007 to 2011 he was a member of the German Theatre in Göttingen, where he played the leading role in CRIMINAL CRIME (director: Thomas Bischoff) and MACBETH (director: Mark Zurmühle). In 2012, he developed an evening with Ayman Harper (Forsythe Company) for the dance festival of the Berlin Hebbel am Ufer (“X choreographers”).

Alois Reinhardt has been a member of the ensemble of Theater Bonn since 2013.

Isnelle da Silveira

Isnelle da Silveira has been a performer since 1979. Over the last 15 years she has taken part in various festivals and taught at universities, academies and cultural associations, as well as at the Institute for Blind Youth.

Isnelle has been living in Belgium since 1992. She shares her experience with various companies and supports them in their creative processes. Depending on their needs, she assists them as a coach, a dramaturg or an assistant stage manager.

She has references from: STUK (Leuven), Victoria Deluxe, Dito Dito, Hush Hush Hush/A. Sarrock, Cie IDA/Mark, Tompkins, Cie Made/Mathieu Grenier, Cie Semola/Joan Grau, les ballets C de La B/L. Cherkaoui, les ballets C de La B/ A. Platel, Cie Ivoire Heddy Maalem

Mathieu Desseigne Ravel

Mathieu Desseigne-Ravel was born in 1979 in Avignon, “a city surrounded by ramparts, whose symbol is a bridge that leads to nowhere”, in his words.

During his adolescence, “driven by desires for something else”, he will discover acrobatics and hip-hop dance in the hall of a local MJC.

Continuing on this journey, he follows a five-year training at the National Centre of Circus Arts in Châlons-en-Champagne to become an “acrobat-balancer-dancer”.

At the end of this training, by chance and through auditions, he joins les ballets C de la B of Alain Platel. He stays and develops his art there during six years, creating vsprs, pitié! and Out of Context – for Pina.

In 2006, he joins Nabil Hemaïzia and Sylvain Bouillet – two teenage companions – to found the company Collectif 2 Temps 3 Mouvements. “Contemporary dance”, “new circus” and “hip-hop”, are the labels given to their work and which they choose to research and challenge to understand their meaning. Together they create Reflets, La stratégie de l’échec and Et des poussières.

In 2014, Mathieu Desseigne-Ravel and Sylvain Bouillet leave the collective to give birth, with Lucien Reynes to Naïf Production, a structure without format, without hierarchy: an authentic artistic workspace that apprehends the creation as the resultant of ” a fully collective process” that “cultivates differences and supports the circulation of body and mind movements”.

Within Naïf Production they develop collective projects, such as Je suis fait du bruit des autres (2014), La Mécanique des Ombres (The Mechanics of Shadows, 2016) and Des gens qui dansent, a piece for five acrobats whose creation is scheduled for 2018.

They also create projects carrying their own singularity. In 2017, Mathieu Desseigne Ravel starts a reflection on the question of the solo. La chair a ses raisons, a solo of the flesh rather than a solo of the body. An attempt to continue to “understand this moment where the individual testimony transcends its anecdote to speak to us, to delve into this manifest and fugitive common ground that connects us all”.

This list of guest will be extended.


A creation by   Lisi Estaràs, Mirko Banovic, Kristien De Proost & Sara Vanderieck In collaboration with Serge Aimé Coulibaly & guests

Production   Les Enfants du garage vzw

Partners in ‘17/’18 :

De Grote Post, Ostende: (BE) coproduction & presentation try-out
KAAP, Bruges/Ostende (BE) presentation try-out
Chambres d’O : presentation try-out
Théâtre des Doms, Avignon (FR): residency + presentation try-out
Mu.Zee, Ostende (BE)
les ballets C de la B (BE): residency
VOORUIT (BE) : residency
Faso Danse Théâtre (BE/FR/BF): support of Serge Aimé Coulibaly.

SABAM for Culture: scholarship for Mirko Banovic
Province West Flanders : project subvention in septembre ‘17

Partners in ‘18/’19 :

De Grote Post, Ostend (BE) : coproduction
WP Zimmer, Antwerp (BE) : residency + presentation try-out
Le BAMP, Brussels (BE) : residency + presentation try-out
Le Gymnase CDCN (FR) : residency + presentation try-out
Le Centquatre, Paris (FR) : residency
Cas-Co, Leuven (BE) : residency
les ballets C de la B (BE): residency
Teater Studio James Ensor, Ostende (BE) : presentation try-out

The Flemish authorities: project subvention: January – July 2019.

Partners in ‘19/’20:

De Grote Post, Ostende: (BE) coproduction & presentation performance
Ankata (BF): residency & presentation ain Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso