With To the Ones I Love, Thierry Smits proposes a work entirely devoted to dance and the sheer pleasure of dancing. Given that the art of choreography can at once be culturally charged and changing, he settled upon African dancers or dancers of African origin for this production, although they all have a background in modern dance in order to use a similar choreographic vocabulary.
Smits moreover aspires to enrich the choreography with movements he never previously used, derived from cultural backgrounds other than his own and that have the ability, through their implementation, to shape the body differently, to be part of muscle-training and thus accessible. In addition, he also intends to elaborate on the aesthetic potential of the dancers’ skin colours, all of which have a deep, matt tone that paler skins can only acquire, temporarily and randomly, if exposed to sunlight. This deliberate choice reflects the same spirit of only using male artists, as he has often done in past productions. The nine performers in this ballet all wear brightly coloured T-shirts which they change regularly so as to lend the minimalist set design a sprightly quality, all while the physical beauty of their bodies enhances Johann Sebastian Bach’s music with a startling, albeit sublime element, in all its vigour and exuberance. The title, without any false modesty, is a loud declaration of love to the art of dance and a paean to all those who practice it.