Foi (Faith) is the first part of a triptych by Belgian-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. It bridges the gap between the medieval and the contemporary in an effervescent staging. Foi fuses opera from the fourteenth century with modern theater, dance and performance. The sensual orgy, performed by the Belgian art collective “Les Ballets C. de la B.” was frenetically acclaimed by the audience as well as by the press. This snippet, featuring Alexandra Gilbert as a feline fairy that climbs on men as if they are trees will give you an impression of this mesmerizing masterpiece.
Foi revolves around the simple question: what do you believe in? Set in a triangular post 9-11 site designed by Rufus Didwiszus, peculiar protagonists wake up realizing they survived a disaster and try to find a way out of this no exit place. They are surrounded by intangible, invisible angel-like dancing beings, who manipulate the gestures and actions of the colorful actors, sometimes tender, sometimes ill-intentioned. Each time they think they’re safe, another catastrophe hits them, from an earthquake to a gas leak to being slaughtered by a hammer. Yet every time the chatty characters survive, as if something was still unfinished, their destiny unfulfilled. The drama is supported by the 14th century ars nova compositions interpreted live by the singers and musicians of Capilla Flamenca.
Foi premiered on 18th of March 2003, the day the USA bombarded Iraq. The news, political issues and all its horrors are part of this dark yet funny piece. Foi toured the world successfully for 2 years.
Years later Foi still resonates to our complex socio-political reality.In 2010 it returned to the stage by popular demand. The piece brings together 18 performers, singers, dancers and musicians in a traditional-style creation of a medieval/contemporary opera. In collaboration with the ensemble Capilla Flamenca and Christine Leboutte, the choreography stages pieces of scholarly music from the fourteenth century, written scores and songs from the oral tradition.
What have you heard people tell, what have you read? What do you still believe? Why do you still believe? What do you want to survive or be passed down? Are you convinced of this? It is on these questions that Foi is constructed.