ONCE DANCE REDISCOVERS THE BODY…

ONCE DANCE REDISCOVERS THE BODY…

Interview of
BENOÎT LACHAMBRE / PAR B.L.EUX COMPANY

(c)Laurent Theillet

Benoît Lachambre is the visual and kinesthetic designer and director of Fluid Grounds, which had its world première at the FestivalTransAmériques on June 1, 2 and 3, 2018. Fluid Grounds is the second part of a trilogy that began with Lifeguard.

Your artistic approach and your teaching reflect the notion of reconnecting with the self and with each other, the idea that links between bodies are very important. Why is that?

For me it is essential to work in horizontal fashion on “relations”, to be attuned to the sensitive potential of our bodies and the multiple links that we maintain with our environment. We must really question the rational and patriarchal concepts anchored in our thinking and behaviours so that we can rediscover how bodies can serve as catalysts, a means of creating connection and meaning between what each one of us is capable of feeling.

From early childhood, and particularly from the moment the politicized educational system begins to affect the development of our consciousness, we are led to divide the bodyagainstitself,andalsoinhowitrelatestotheimmediate environment on many different levels. We must work at reconnecting those bonds if we want to continue to evolve as a species, to change our rapport with being and living,  to greatly modify our behaviour. It is a lengthy process. We are caught up in these patterns of division within our bodies and with our environment, to the point that we must relearn ourselves.That is why my art and my teaching are somatic,or body-focused.

Somatic practices help me shedlighton what is essential.This movement of searching for authenticity has led me to work on how things relate to eachother,on myriad sorts of connections and ways of living, providing a spark of what might constitute the primordial functions of dance. A somatic approach involves plunging deeply into many layers of awareness. That work allows me to perceive the deep history of what emerges from life around me,what makes me who I am. I am very respectful of Indigenous beliefs. I realize that I was born in and live in Mohawk territory that was never handed over. A decolonization of our bodies and minds is called for if wewish to consider developing our consciousness.

In my danceworks and in my teaching,I look for links that will help me reconnect and work on instinctive memories. That is why I work in sustained, malleable fashion with energy and magnetic fields.It’s as though there are memories and organic knowledge that we have lost.

Dance has been diverted from its original purpose and has become, for economic and political reasons, a product. By placing the function of empathy in the forefront, we become aware that it is an ancestral, inter-species, inter-bodies and inter-spaces necessity that conveys important transfers of forces and of life.

Once dance rediscovers the body, we will begin to experience dance on a daily basis as something that can build structures that will help change our ways of thinking about life and the environment.

Standardization closes and limits knowledge to a rational framework. I am constantly trying to dismantle that attitude in my artistic and pedagogical approach, proposing exercises and ways of contemplating a more multifaceted existence. I emphasize ancient somatic knowledge that exists in many non-Westerncultures, aspects that far too often are repressed by standardization.

How do body-focused practices integrate the spectator in yourwork?

 When proposing these practices, I suggest to spectators a newwayofengagingwithtime,spaceandrelations.Iinvitethem to become aware of their potential, and try to create an inclusive method that allows for integrating the space as a group. If we are all unique, it is due to the singularity that we are capable of communicating through space. What I seek in my work is spectators who are freed of their points of view and their mobility.

So the spectator becomes a choreographic element?

The dynamic that spectators inspire and their way of positioning themselves in the space in relation to others becomes for me a spontaneous choreography. That creates a sort of choreography of connections, of community, defined by human presences in movement. In my work the body is constantly establishing connections, and in those connections lie greater mobility and incredible dance.

SOMATIC PRACTICES HELP ME SHED LIGHT ON WHAT IS ESSENTIAL. THIS MOVEMENT OF SEARCHING FOR AUTHENTICITY HAS LED ME TO WORK ON HOW THINGS RELATE TO EACHOTHER, ON MYRIAD SORTS OF CONNECTIONS AND WAYS OF LIVING

FLUID GROUNDS IS PRODUCED BY PAR B.L.EUX AND SOPHIE CORRIVEAU