SONICO – The heart is the muscle we like to work out

Tango in its classical form requires two partners dancing in relation to one another. Rigid roles are given, evoking a certain perfection, a balanced situation. Nevertheless, tango can also be a non-completed and a nonharmonious configuration by deconstructing and challenging its own essence, composition and cultural background.

In The heart is the muscle we like to work out, the artists develop a new choreographic language with a raw and clownesque physicality inspired by tango and Art Brut. „Dance Brut“ so to say. The choreographers-dancers Lisi Estaras and Ido Batash and the musicians of the Brussels-based Tango quintet SONICO confront themselves with an existential, humorous and continuos exercise in meeting. The provocative tango-compositions of the Argentinian Eduardo Rovira, the „forgotten Piazzolla“ are the source of inspiration.

Following the collaboration of Lisi and Ido in The Jewish Connection Project – where they took their ambiguous feelings towards their Jewish identity as a starting point – they now explore the opposite side of identity. More precisely, the identity that has not been determined by pre-set social, ethnic and cultural factors. What would it be like to be a blank page, a worry-free individual without history or social background? What if “movement” and “state of being” are on a level of absence, and yet things are happening, evolving, moving. The heart is the muscle we like to work out is a dive into the vast imaginary state, that could glimpse back at a sense of humanity.

For the choreographic research, Lisi and Ido approache tango through the “MonkeyMind method”, translating chaotic thoughts and feelings into dance movement. In The heart is the muscle we like to work out, they elaborate this specific dance language and investigate the relation between dance and the world of Art Brut, the repetitive system, the systematic compulsory behaviour to repeat one action again and again, the feverish urge to create an idiosyncratic world, to express very basic impulses.

For the music, Lisi and Ido collaborate for the second time with the Brussels Tango quintet SONICO, taking the tango compositions of Eduardo Rovira as their source of inspiration and lead. This provocative Argentinian avant-garde composer (1925-1980) tempted already in the early sixties at the musical deconstruction of tango. Rovira´s music expresses strong moods, sudden swing changes, anxiety, abruptness and a sense of disconnection and instability. Using the complexity of rhythms and eclectic influences (folk, baroque, jazz, contemporary…) that Rovira’s music reveals, the music becomes an ideal counterpoint to create an unknown landscape, in which we live our appearance and behaviour with the unawareness of kids playing.


Duration: 60 min.


A production by MonkeyMind Company in collaboration with SONICO. In coproduction with Le Manège Maubeuge (FR), De Grote Post Oostende (BE) and MA Scène Nationale – Pays de Montbéliard (FR). Residencies at Tanzhaus Zürich (CH) and BAMP Bruxelles (BE). With the support of les ballets C de la B and KC Vooruit Gent (BE).

Premiered at De Grote Post, Oostende (BE) on March 5th, 2020.