Fluid Grounds, Par B.L.eux most recent opus, in collaboration with Sophie Corriveau, will be premiered in Europe at the Centre National de la danse in Pantin on June 20th. Free entrance. A co-presentation of Centre national de la danse and June Events as part of the Camping #4 event. At this occasion, Benoît Lachambre will offer two weeks of intensive workshops around Fluid Grounds, the somatic practices and the creative process.
Marie Béland – maribé – sors de ce corps
For 15 years, Marie Béland has choreographed seemingly carefree works, in which the body exceeds the dance: real bodies, daily bodies, ordinary bodies are at the core of a subtle and complex choreographic organisation, setting the background for a profound contemplation of human nature and of social relationships.
« What relationship does performing art entertain with fiction? In my work, I have often sought to come closer to a certain « reality »: by having the performers play themselves, by crossing the proverbial fourth wall, by referring to the work within the work itself, and so on. My ambition in adopting these strategies was to bridge the distance between art and artist, audience and life. In the end, however, this distance remains, and raises an increasing number of questions for me.
This question of what is true, of what is real, is not new: as far back as the 18th century, the idea of a 4th wall appeared in the theatre, precisely so actors could turn their backs to the audience, thereby creating a more « believable » performance. This is the paradox that continues to inhabit and inform performing art today. The codes and devices it employs, even those seeking to liberate the body, give the body its fabricated character. What, then, is the « authentic » body, when each of our behaviours is dictated by learned processes? Furthermore, is a body untrained in the codes of performance necessarily more free?
In my opinion, the stage may merely be a frame placed around the constructed and artificial aspect of our lives. Between the stage and life, there exists a continuum of truths and falsehoods in which art contains many truths, and life is predictable, dictated by many scores. Everything is true onstage: the presence of artists and spectators gathered together, the immediate and unmediated experience of the work, the uniqueness of the moment, which can never be reproduced in identical fashion. And everything is false: the artifice and decorum of performance, the score of the work, which no matter what degree of randomness it allows, is always a text to be played. Is this not also our daily lot? Is not our day-to-day existence a complex entwinement of reality and fiction? This makes the concept of reality quite relative. We could say that the most « realistic » performance is the one which most closely portrays reality (which one?) or daily existence (whose?). And yet, the most complex danced movement also portrays a reality, no less valid though more unusual, and shared at least by those who can execute it (the dancers).
Thus, performance is always as relevant to me in its way of reflecting what we are, even our ambiguous and paradoxical relationship to reality and truth. »
COPRODUCTION : MARIBÉ – SORS DE CE CORPS; MONTRÉAL DANSE. PARTNERS : CARDIFF DANCE FESTIVAL AND DANCE 4 NOTTINGHAM
THE BODY ACCORDING TO…
“ I think the body as the expression of everything that we absorb. Everything our senses can perceive moulds and shapes us, animates us, causing us to act somehow. Our thoughts, opinions and emotions transform and propel our flesh. Our bodies are vectors. I really couldn’t care less whether we call this dance or not. I am fascinated by what makes the body alive. ”
“ The body is a vector of meanings and connections. It presents us with a laboratory for exploring the ever-shifting mobilities and dynamics of everything that comprises it.
The body’s mobility is not merely spatial; it pertains to identity and is in constant cellular mutation. It is in a perpetual cycle of transformation. The body is not simply a separate and autonomous entity. It is a binding agent, in flux. It is recognition and cohabitation, coexisting with everything that surrounds and comprises it, in an act of creation. Defining its adaptations in relation to its environment, the body, through the filter of our senses, becomes this multitude of influences. The empathic abilities of the body surpass all expectations and preconceived values.
The body presents us with an infinite range of the possible, in direct measure to the openness that we are prepared to grant it. ”
“ The body is failure
The body is celebration
The body is prison
The body is ceremony
The body is hurt, is humiliated
The body is roadmap, forgotten at the bottom of the glove compartment
The body is vehicle
The body is distinguishing feature
The body is flea market, pawnshop, nightclub
The body is up for auction
The body is covert
The body is threats
The body is screwed
The body is without the shadow of a doubt
The body is palliative care
The body is sovereign
The body is magical
The body is gooey sex
The body is helpless baby we must protect otherwise he will die
The body is nervous shock
The body is vital sign
The body is tremor
The body is every thing
The body is canon fodder
The body is weak spot
The body is slave
The body is enclave
The body is all things considered
The body is eruption
The body is exclusive preserve
The body is out of stock
The body is disappearance
The body is endangered
The body is raw nerve
The body is war machine
The body is inventory
The body is ugly
The body is perfect as it is.”
“ In our recent creation, Instant Community, my view of the performing body was altered. This work is a reflection on how we reflexively film everything we experience so that real becomes virtual. The movement of the live dancers in the piece was determined by what was necessary for their projected images to have the movement qualities of the visual illusions being created. The actual dancers became secondary, in a sense, to their virtual selves. The real actions often looked quite banal in comparison to their more spectacular projected selves. The surprise was how particular and interesting the presence of this secondary performance was to watch.”
David Albert-Toth & Emily Gualtieri:
“We see the body as both a vehicle of our will and as a resisting force to it. It is within it that we hold our stories and it is with it that we try our best to recount them. It is also our shell – our protective barrier. This must be nurtured and strengthened. It must also be broken down. The body then is fundamentally the meeting point between the inner and the outer, both on a very real, physiological level, and on a poetic plane. It is in the brash meeting of contrasting solitudes (in/out, willed/unwilled…) that our truth emanates. The interesting thing, then, is to question how we put the body in dialogue with itself.”
EMILE PINEAULT / DANSE-CITÉ
Emile Pineault has been immersed in the circus world from an early age and has worked as a professional acrobat for several years. In the process, he has gone through a profound reassessment of his practice and of the artistic milieu in which it is based. He understands the body in the same way he understands theatre: As a space made hermetic by the conventions it is subjected to, but a space that can, in time, open itself, expand and ﬂ ourish through a sensitive transgression of these same conventions. Standing clearly apart from current aesthetics, which tend to define and frame circus practice, Emile disorganizes the framework, challenging existing codes and their limits in order to break free and transcend them.His body is the territory of these explorations.
“ Through movement, I seek to de-formalize the body. By pushing the movement further, I surpass my own body, my own limits, as well as the limits of circus and of form itself. (…) How is it possible to give the audience access to those painful and exquisite sensations the acrobat is constantly negotiating? I wish to turn the acrobatic performance into a shared experience, as visceral and tangible to the audience as it is to the acrobat. ”
His new solo, Normal Desires, invites the audience to slip into the acrobat’s skin. Onstage, intertwined with light and sound, a single figure is seen in a state of perpetual overﬂow, his outlines blurred by a kinetic ecstasy. Impact, ﬂux, repetition, constraint, compression, thrust, heat and vibration take us on a journey through a series of affective states and spaces. Unusual shapes emerge, which are simultaneously sensual, rigorous and hypnotic. In Normal Desires, Emile Pineault’s body refuses normality and convention to share a sensory experience of the acrobatic performance that is both subtle and intense.
NORMAL DESIRES A Danse-Cité production in collaboration with Emile Pineault.
NORMAL DESIRES (60 MINUTES) will be presented during the 37th season of Danse-Cité (www.danse-cite.org) for 8 performances at La Chapelle, scènes contemporaines, from november 22 to december 1.
A stage piece ,an architectural videoprojection, a solo insitu…with Rebo(u)nd, Ground and Habiter sa mémoire, the choreographer pursues her study of the body as material. Three very distinct works… that are intimately linked.
From one piece to the next, both on and offstage and with a fresh simplicity, Caroline encourages the spectator to experience and reﬂect on the body. She captivates with her focus on biomechanics, and also the precision, repetition and amplification of gestures. Here the body is not lauded for its prowess but for its sensitivity, a link to the soul that is at the very heart of a spartan yet poetic choreographic universe. Inﬂuenced and enriched by the sciences (neuroscience, anatomy, psychology, philosophy), the choreographer’s imagination leads to works that are beautifully sensitive, open and accessible to all.
A four hour performance piece, Habiter sa mémoire is both a work of ongoing research and an offering to the city and to passersby. Installed in a transparent cube, the choreographer plunges once again into the heart of her work as adancer, bringing to the surface all the traces and memories of her body. Humbly offering her living art to people walkingby, to citizens from here and elsewhere and in all weathers, she creates a simple,touchingly effective encounter between contemporary dance, the patient work of the body, and the publicspace.
Ground,a new stage piece for five dancers, explores the physical and organic constraints imposed by gravity, our earthly bond whereby the body is constantly and subtly struggling to function. Working on gestures that are copied and amplified by the individuals int hegroup, Ground reveals the shared urges and interdependent dynamics of a socialbody.
Rebo(u)nd is a choreography of suspension that reveals the ephemeral instant when the dancer is ﬂoating between forward momentum and falling, between freedom and loss of balance. This architectural video in slow motion of dancers caught in mid-ﬂ ight will be projected by mapping on the walls of downtown buildings. At the heart of the project is her desire to share the sensation of total abandon and freedom that dance has given her, to shed light on this art form.
“I WANTED TO SHOW IN AN INSTANT THE SENSATION OF WEIGHTLESSNESS AND LOSING BALANCE, MAKING IT PALPABLE AND ACCESSIBLE TO ALL. I WANTED TO SEE THE MOMENTUM OF THE BODY BECOME PART OF OUR ARCHITECTURE ,OUR URBAN ENVIRONMENT.”
HABITER SA MÉMOIRE – LORGANISME
Ground and Rebo(u)nd are one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada
MÉLANIE DEMERS / MAYDAY
The multi-platform artist Mélanie Demers beguiles with rich and complex original work imbued with explosive energy and dramatic intensity. She is the recipient of the 2015 Prix du Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec award for best choreography for her piece WOULD. She also received the Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation for Icône Pop when it was presented at the Summer Works Performance Festival in Toronto in 2017.
With Danse Mutante she has embarked on a choreographic metamorphosis that revisits the idea of co-creation and collaboration. Like an evolving suite, three choreographers on three continents add to and pass on the fruits of their labour. The original piece by Mélanie Demers, created in Montreal and presented at the opening of OFFTA, is the point of departure for a suite of mutations that keeps evolving from the most recent opus. The dancers are the memory and knowledge keepers. As usual, the choreographer works closely with her collaborators. In this piece, Francis Ducharme and Riley Sims are entrusted with the mission of embodying a dance destined for eternal transformation.
“IT IS THE DANCERS, THE GUARDIANS OF THE PROJECT, WHO ARE THE FOCAL POINT OF DANSE MUTANTE. IT IS THEY WHO TRAVEL, WHO MEET WITH THE CHOREOGRAPHERS. THEY PERSONIFY MUTATION.”
While Danse Mutante takes an original look at the work of artistic creation and the gestation of ideas, the premise is inevitably imbued with the idea of transformation, a concept intrinsic to creation. The dancers will travel to meet with other choreographers, and the piece will be transformed by the visions of Ann Liv Young (New York), Kettly Noël (Bamako) and Ann Van den Broek (Antwerp/Rotterdam). These three artists will distil from the previous version yet another variant, such that with each stop Danse Mutante becomes corrupted, remixed, reworked or perhaps even inverted. Each version of Danse Mutante will be presented, individually or together, and the work as a whole will be unveiled in Montreal in the form of a marathon event in autumn 2019. Like a sporting achievement, the dancers will perform the four versions in a dance that undergoes constant mutation.
This spring Mélanie Demers had also remount Icône Pop, a solo accompanied by live music and presented in an underground parking lot in Montreal. In a piece that is more performance art than dance, she sketches a portrait of splintered female identity, the multiple postures of woman. From Beyoncé to the Virgin Mary.
DANSE-MUTANTE – opening of the OFFTA 2018 (Montréal) festival In partnership with Agora de la danse
ICÔNE POP Coproduction: Operaestate Festival – Comune di Bassano del Grappa.
Danse Mutante is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.
BENOÎT LACHAMBRE / PAR B.L.EUX COMPANY
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
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Fluid Grounds, an ambulatory choreographic quartet performance mapped out and set in motion by Benoît Lachambre is part of the FTA 2018 official programming!
Fluid Grounds is a production of Par B.L.eux and Sophie Corriveau in coproduction with Agora de la danse and Festival TransAmériques and Charleroi Danse. Read more