As a result of the partnership between JUNE EVENTS and the association Anacrouse-Université Paris 8, the Atelier de Paris / CDCN has proposed several students the opportunity to write an article, a snapshot on the performance of their choice during the festival. Read below for more...
A zoom on…
Julie Nioche’s Nos Amours by M.M.
There is first only a back appearing in the twilight of the dawn of the show. Her skin is covered in drawings, maybe scars, plants, or organs: her interior splayed on her skin, one that starts to move and starts to be taken by isolated energies. A beat, a pulse. It is soft and precise like the tapping of hands on the absent harpsichord that hums the Goldberg variations a capella throughout the performance. A vast circle of light, hanging above the stage, lights her body just as it transforms it to shadows, only to swallow her again.
As Bach’s work is sung, a strange dance is deployed, one moved by a permanent game between tension and release, between virtuosity and indifference, mastery and laisser-faire. Because Sabine Macer asked me before the show what the title evoked in me, I knew the piece was haunted by these loves: mine and yours, those of dancing bodies across the plateaued space, moved by an infinite force that displaces as well as abandons certain parts, like a string of comets. At times it’s the head that rolls, brought about by the movement, limbs projected far away from the center, breasts trembling. The body falls in the middle of the circle, then proceeds to drag on the floor, as if suddenly superbly unable to hold itself up. The floating light helps, this energetic whirlwind intoxicates me, it’s as if I also am moving, I become these spots of mobility drawn on her bust, that already start to disappear as they come into contact with the floor and the sweat starts to drip. Our loves: those that we have in common.
I watch the other person, who is standing at the back of the stage, in contrast, standing and almost immobile. I thought she was only to be seen, but then she starts to control the movements of the large circle of light as if it were a giant puppet. And as it happens, on a slower variation, the body of the dancer is attached to the circle that lifts her slowly until…Suspended: Breathe held. Oppositions from high to low, stretching. It is almost magic. Our loves: those that are, in French, because they are plural, feminine.
Julie Nioche’s dance doesn’t cheat. The balances are imbalances. Standing on one foot, the chest bustles forward, caught by the ground, and then straightens up. The standing leg trembles, the other wandering nervously in the space. This desperate will to find a space of stability creates a sense of vertigo, renders visible the force of gravity to which the dancing body is submissive, and which can become fragile at any moment, shaken by the precarity of its vertical station surrounded by all the invisible forces that pull it towards the bottom. The body is the last resistance, at the periphery of the circle of light, holding out against this wild desire to fall. Yet, it starts again: as if in a trance, the body must go again, run, dance, raise itself in the air to know it is possible to fall again. In this dance, there is no end point: it is deployed and could always begin again, if only exhaustion didn’t take its toll on the body and the music didn’t end. According to the legend, the Bach’s variations were written to cure the count Kewserling’s episodes of insomnia: Julie Nioche chooses a spectrum of energies in which, at a distance of our bodies, the traces left by our loves in our bodies are woken up sensually and impressively.
A zoom on…
Cosima Grand’s ctrl-v (LP) by Annabelle Pirlot
In the cold light and the deserted, zany scenery of ctrl-v, two women act on stage. They face us but don’t seem to pay any mind to us. They have the intelligence to assume their doll–like face without any particular mannerism, until this partial reality is displaced and we forget it. They take us back to the mocking images of athletes, of robotic dolls, underground airline hostesses, average users of daily digital technologies, futurists of the current 70s, of rockers in tennis shoes, of crafty women-children… But they don’t jump incoherently from one to another, all these figures they seem to evoke have the ability to coexist, to be contained and make sense in a concentrated temporality.
From the beginning of the piece they each hold a microphone with which they declare with frankness and simplicity, “in a voice soft and calm”, that they will ultimately hold the piece up to their abilities in the way they see fit. In working to transgress stereotypes still ever-present and dominant around femininity and what a woman must do as an artist, as a dancer/choreographer.
They repeat in insisting without drowning in obstinacy, pronouncing clearly what they have to tell us, transforming their textual material into sonar poetry, following the drumming without being subject to it, music-lovers/musicians in their own way.
They also take their leeway in the back of the space, precisely at the moment when the audience may need more depth.
I think to myself as I watch them that they are confronting a vast subject with a great deal of humility, without diminishing themselves. They act without rest, playing just as much with materials that seem to please them as with the expectations we could have for them. Moving without fear nor heroism to the edge of their limits, deforming their contours, without imposing an esthetic of effort or of success.
Cosima Grand, as a choreographer, seems to have given a beautiful place to her team, and particularly to Milena Keller who accompanies her on stage, in a powerful complicity that never gets lost in the fusion. I have no doubt in the intelligence and sensibility of this performance proposal. They earned my trust in their commitment, without fading into solemnness. ctrl-v (lp) is the rich sample of an enormous potential.