© Johan van Veen

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Guilherme Miotto


Company Corpo Máquina

As a little boy Nasser el Jackson grows up in the North of the city of Tilburg (NL) and gets hooked on the ball. They make long days together, he bounds with the ball, sometimes they are together for eight hours, always on the street. Open to let others share in his great love, Nasser grows into a young man who, through endless practice, conceals all secrets of that 'round leather', but also knows how to cherish the mystery of it. In 2016 choreographer Guilherme Miotto and Nasser el Jackson meet each other. Guilherme falls in love with Nasser's exceptional movement quality - a wonderful combination of service, speed and virtuosity. He decides to make a solo for this ball magician from Tilburg, who now serves as an ambassador for street football for the KNVB (Royal Dutch Football Federation). Or should we call it a duet for man and ball? No. More than that, it's a trio: a trio between man, ball and space, with the courage and beauty of everything that needs to be fought.

The various obstacles to overcome make .Ball into an exciting expedition. For example, Nasser is a striking figure in the context of contemporary dance. At first sight, he is a typical Moroccan young man with none of the stereotype associations referring to that of a dancer. His presence on stage causes a lively friction that encourages one to ask questions about established values and prejudices. How much of our perception of form is defined by the person who embodies that form? The friction between person and context bring the spectator into a search for the dancer in this person, instead of the person in this dancer. Codes are turned inside out.

Just like dancing, a career as a professional freestyle football player demands years of dedication and serious training. In freestyle football you have to control the body, the movement and the ball to perfection, but to make it into a performance you will have to add something of yourself.

At the intersection of dance and freestyle football Guilherme challenges Nasser to rise above his tricks and to mix his skills with expression. Sports and art come together. This exercise - based on the simple questions 'who is Nasser?' and 'who are we?' - reveals how the body (both that of Nasser and that of the audience) can encourage us to overcome conceptual barriers and to re-position against fixed ideas in the mind.

 How Nasser and the ball deal with the space between them sets the tone of their relationship. This space is the bridge between the ingredients and the performance, between them and the audience. Nasser and the ball are the protagonists, but the space between them is the trigger for expectations of those looking at them. It is in this interspace where intentions are projected, realized and challenged. In this space theatricality is flourishing and meaning is created out of the physical and tangible that takes place on stage. The material leads us to the immaterial, the present leads us to the absent. It is magical and realistic at the same time. Nasser and his dance take us into the realm of imagination, instead of us having to use our imagination to reach him and his dance.