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32 rue Vandenbranden by Peeping Tom: Thriller in the Theatre

By Tsou Shin-Ning, Taiwan freelance contributor


There is a message from the Belgian dance group Peeping Tom through its carefully choreographed “thriller in the theatre”: there is bound to be a reason why the dancers on stage are using all the unimaginable skills to perform extremely unorthodox movements and postures. The body is a medium that reflects what’s in the heart. However, when the heart is overloaded with fear and desire, the body will take over and distort you into alienation and heterodoxy in others’ eyes. The performance witnesses the return of mood, will and feeling to the dancing body, and allows the skillful body movements to tell the story, departing from the traditional stereotype and pioneering a new story-telling dance approach. This is the exact key to the recent phenomenal success of Peeping Tom on the European stages.

Premiered in 2009, 32 rue Vandenbranden is embedded with typical style of a “Peeping Tom”. Three caravan families live in a snow blanketed street: a Caucasian couple, a young pregnant Caucasian woman, and a Caucasian old lady who accommodates two young Asian men. The story is centered on each character’s desire of and apprehension about others, who tend to get obstructed or disrupted when they want to show their emotions. In the end, no one can tell what actually leads to their loneliness and despair – is it the external environment, the other people or the huge emptiness within themselves?


This article is excerpted and translated from Chinese