La Lutte (4 stars)

This article is from 2010.

La Lutte

Contemporary meets combat in a strong male duet

This is strong dance. This is male dance. But this is also the kind of dance that looks like two boys fighting over whose next on the Playstation. La Lutte (French for ‘the wrestle’) is the new duet from Belgium/UK-based choreographer Filip Van Huffel and his company, Retina Dance.

Set under ‘floodlights’ with a plain white gym-like floor, it runs a gamut of male emotions, from tense confrontation to deep introspection and that unsettling brand of sibling rivalry that looks like it could end in real harm. This is tense, unflinching contemporary dance, with Matthew Slater and Steven Martin – dressed simply in black martial arts trousers – performing with a sweat-drenched intensity that practically grabs you in a martial arts hold.

Underpinned by a powerful soundtrack that runs from ecclesiastical to squidgy electronica this is no easy viewing. But its sheer physicality and visceral combat-meet-contemporary dance language will have you on the edge of your seats.

Zoo Roxy, 662 6892, until 30 Aug, 7pm, £12 (£9).

La Lutte

  • 4 stars

Belgian choreographer Filip Van Huffel creates a bold, bright fighting arena where two male dancers challenge their physicality while they wrestle to communicate with themselves, one another and the world around them. 'La Lutte' is aggressive, intimate, playful and competitive, performed by spectacularly talented dancers.


1. guido verelst19 Aug 2010, 1:21pm Report

Well, this is a funny coincidence ... or a very odd resemblance????
... Last year, i saw "ARENA" by Belgian choreographer Chantal Yzermans (Company Radicallow). In october 2009, "ARENA" premiered in Antwerp, and was a stunning performance. Two men wrestiling in a ring. They communicate by agressive yet intimate body language. I was struck by the two exquisite dancers from the Cunningham company who gave a beautiful performance of Yzermans's story of love, longing, agression and rejection. It is very odd to see so many similarities in this new interpretation by Belgian choreographer Van Huffel"........ "ARENA" is touring, and will be shown in New York, september 9 - 10 - 12. 2010. Check it out on
A must-see!

2. Filip VAN Huffel23 Aug 2010, 9:07pm Report

Dear Guido or should I say beste Guido

A coincidence it certainly is and not a very odd resemblance!!!

I know Chantal very well, we have worked together in the past and are friends. I didn't see Arena and didn't read anything about it. All I can say is that the similarity is only in the writing of the review and not in the way our work is presented. I can safely say that the work of Chantal and myself are totally different and that we have a completely different movement language. If you have seen Retina then you might know that we are completely opposite to dancers of the Cunningham Company.

I like Chantal's work and appreciate that the writing might be misleading. I hope that you might be able to come and see La Lutte one day so that you can see the difference in styles.

I had a quick look on Chantal's site and this is what she writes about her Arena: Arena/act three is an in situ creation for Troubleyn/Laboratorium's dance studio and is the third and final part of the ONR-I, allegory of night triptyh, a spatial poem that unfolds as an alterpiece for the theatre.

I can't read the idea of fighting and wrestling in it.

Best wishes,

Filip Van Huffel

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