This new choreographic project was born out of Thierry Smits’ fascination for the Middle East Orient. It was created after a series of voyages made by the choreographer through Morocco to Syria, via Tunisia, Egypt, and Lebanon. From these trips to the Arab world Smits brought back images flooded with light, filled with sensuality and generosity, beauty and disorder, all drawn from random wanderings. This performance gives us a very personal vision. It is a subjective version of a Middle East visited by Thierry Smits - his Middle East -, also influenced by certain cinematographic works such as Lawrence of Arabia by David Lean, Adieu Bonaparte and Le Destin by Youssef Chahine, or Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Thousand and One Nights.

Conscious of the possible oriental driftings ,Smits has guarded against all ideological underpinnings. This piece is not an attempt at political analysis. Its purpose is above all aesthetic. If it is inspired, rather haphazardly, by characteristics of a civilisation, by its people, traditions, myths and dreams, it is only to try to interpret them freely, using the particular language of contemporary dance.

For Thierry Smits, this language is also that of the body. As a choreographer, the body is, of course, the material and the tool of his trade. Often, it is even the very subject of his choreographic research, delving into the idea of the corporeity and underlining the importance of the statement that the body is at the same time source of pleasure and of pain. Basing himself on the writings of such figures as the anthropologist and psychoanalyst Malek Chebel, he focuses here on the privileged place of the body in Muslim-Arab culture and its decisive role as a social messenger .



"Compagnie Thor conquered Miami this weekend. This contemporary dance group from
Belgium, directed by the famous choreographer Thierry Smits, made its American debut at the
Colony Theater in Miami Beach as part of the 2007-2008 season of the “Cultura del Lobo”
Series organized by Miami-Dade College. […]
The repertoire of the company includes dance-only pieces as well as theatrical adaptations.
D'Orient, the non-narrative piece they brought to Miami, is a masterpiece and an enriching
experience for the audience. A good example of how to use the language of contemporary
European dance to interpret realities that challenge conventional Western interpretations. […]
The enjoyment is evident, and yet it blends with the seductive subjectivity that permeates the
entire work. It is a perfect ending for an unforgettable trip to the Middle East that Smits keeps in
his memory. A Middle East of water, sand and camaraderie.
Witnessing perfection is something very exciting, and D'Orient is perfection. The audience of
last Friday rewarded Compagnie Thor wholeheartedly with an emotional and well-deserved
standing ovation".

El Nuevo Herald – Miami, O. Taquechel, 8/04/08

"D’ORIENT is a communal piece created by Compagnie Thor. The music, sets, props, costumes,
choreography, and dancers themselves, all combine harmoniously, and amaze us with novel
ideas and conjure up an exotic, surprising and, most important of all, a beautiful fairy tale."

Ballet-Dance Magazine, P. Skalski, 09/06

"D’ORIENT takes us to the Orient, or better still to the Middle East Orient of the author: eight
dancers expressing themselves through different techniques, find themselves united by a
sensual and easy flow of movement under a common denominator of senses and meanings,
orchestrated by the choreographer. Three physical and suggestive parts that, without falling into
folklore, do not avoid the folklore as such by drowning it in a wave of exacerbated
conceptualisations. But with Smits there is no risk of falling into holography - while his
knowledge of the Orient is profound, as is his project whose reading however stays accessible
by its almost descriptive language […] Much more than exoticism, this part communicates a
warmth and an intimacy that touches all - as if the Middle East really was the cradle of
humanity. Excellent and physical, the eight dancers, all from a different background, work in an
equal manner towards giving body to the intentions of the choreographer."

Tutto Danza, Ch.Castellazzi, summer 2005

"Brussels choreographer Thierry Smits forms, together with his ‘Company Thor’, an integral part
of the dance landscape of Belgium. Smits had created over twenty works before he felt the time
had come to make use, in his work, of his strong fascination for the Arab world. It must be said
that D’ORIENT turned out to be a well polished gem, rather than a robust magnum opus. […]
During the entire performance Smits achieves a good balance between interesting dance
material and moments of more modest and slower movement. He also succeeds in his intention
not to make it a homo-erotic affaire. The fact that there are only men on stage is because he
knows best the world of Arab men, generally the most visible and accessible part of the Arab
world. The comradeship that characterises D’ORIENT is heart-warming and the feel good-factor
makes the performance easy to digest."

De Standaard, M. Bellon, 18/03/2005

"In this subjective context, the eight dancers, all very different, form a heteroclite picture. In
groups of two or three or gathered all together in long sequences, both joyous and constrained,
they gradually release themselves from the heavy weight of the shackles that are their body,
setting free an elegance both subtle and fascinating. And those looking for a political message
here are on the wrong track: for D’ORIENT, Thierry Smits sought only his own pleasure. In the
event – contagious."

Le Vif/L' Express, C. Taymans, 18/03/05

"D’ORIENT, in its simplicity, its humble nobility, marks a new step in the work of Thierry Smits,
still attached to aesthetics but often rougher, even marked by a preoccupation with provocation.
Without compromising any of the force and generosity of his art, here he makes it more
immediate, more accessible and more open, enabling it to reach out to new audiences."

La Libre Belgique, M. Baudet, 12/03/2005

"D’ORIENT is a homage to the Muslim-Arab world and the Middle East. A resolutely dignified
and respectful homage, imprinted with sensuality, warmth and generosity. Oriental impressions,
signed Thierry Smits, far from all the pure folklore and all political polemic. A surprising
ceremony, both organic and mathematical. Hot and sweet like a curving undulation of the loins.
A long and soothing sigh like the serenest of meditations. […] A piece with three colour
schemes (white and flesh, ochre yellow, blue and red), however all with the same fragrance:
discreet, intimate and sensual. A crescendo that takes its time to captivate you, but never holds
you prisoner. A work without flamboyant splendour, but instead a thousand and one hot little
flames. Pure dance. A contemporary ballet. A whole that leaves you like a ray of light, soft and

Zone 02, AB, 9/03/2005




Season 2005/06


Théâtre Royal de Namur (B)

Namur (BE)


Théâtre Varia

Bruxelles (BE)


Festival De hel van het Noorden

Groningen (NL)


Festival De stilte van de sluier

Brugge (BE)


Les Ecuries, Charleroi/Danses

Charleroi (BE)


Rencontres chorégraphiques de Carthage

Tunis (TN)


Season 2005/06


Schouwburg Kunstmin

Dordrecht (NL)


Theater Bellevue

Amsterdam (NL)


De Kortrijkse Schouwburg

Kortrijk (BE)


CC Westrand

Dilbeek (BE)


CC De Spil

Roeselare (BE)



Arnhem (NL)


De Velinx

Tongeren (BE)


Halles de Schaerbeek (Objectifs Danse)

Bruxelles (BE)


CC Genk

Genk (BE)


CC De Werf

Aalst (BE)



Sint Niklaas (BE)


Festival Pays de Danse

Liège (BE)


Maison de la Culture

Tournai (BE)

8 & 10/04/06

Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival

Ramallah (PAL)


Theatre and Dance Festival

Caire, Alexandrie (EG)



bruxelles (BE)

18 & 20/05/06

Festival de Danse

Casablanca (MA)


CNCDC Châteauvallon

Ollioules (FR)


Festival Malta

Poznan (PL)


Contemporary Dance Festival

Bytom (PL)





Season 2006/07




Théâtre de la Ville Duchamp-Villon

Rouen (FR)


De Meent

Beersel (BE)


De Warande

Turnhout (BE)


CC Ottignies, Aula Magna

Louvain-la-Neuve (BE)


CC de la ville de Nivelles

Nivelles (BE)


Maison culturelle de Ath




Tilburg (NL)


CC Evergem

Evergem (BE)




Season 2007/08




Al Bustan Festival

Beyrouth (LB)


Miami Dade College

Miami, Floride (US)


Zakharef in Motion, Al Hussein Cultural Center

Amman (JO)


Festivalul international de Teatru, Union Hall

Sibiu (RO)



Hambourg (DE)


Sziget Festival

Budapest (HG)


Uva Grapes, Catania contemporary dance festival 2008

Catanio (IT)




Season 2008/09




CC Genk

Genk (BE)


Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World, Kennedy Center

Washington DC (US)


De Schakel

Waregem (BE)


Made in Cannes, Théâtre de la Licorne

Cannes (FR)

dezoom next