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Posts from the ‘Maxime Fleuriot’ Category

A strange performance

Maxime Fleuriot

Me and my stranger belongs to that particular kind of performances that is called « lecture performances». During one hour, Sarah Vanhee is bringing to the stage her various thoughts on the very topic of strangerness which she refers as something that fascinates her. The whole lecture tries to link the very political understanding of what is usually refered to when talking about a stranger (politically speaking) and the very presence of strangerness in a biological, organic perspective. In that perspective, Sarah Vanhee uses various materials : she shows extracts of films dealing with the issue (Vers Nancy by Claire Denis, Theoreme by Pasolini), refers to vegetal developments (the mutual interdepedency of the orchaida and its lungus), reads scientific contributions about the immune system or shows the results of a street random video inquiry with people being asked two questions : what is a stranger?

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a review i wrote 5 years ago on bel/ klunchun

Maxime Fleuriot

Comments (and critics) are most welcomed :

SOFA – Août 2005

Made in Thailand de J.Bel et Pichet Klunchun

(Présenté à Montpellier Danse et au Festival d’Avignon)

La pièce cosignée par Pichet Klunchun, danseur traditionnel thaïlandais, et Jérôme Bel est le résultat d’une commande passée au chorégraphe français. Tous deux ont décidé de mettre en scène leur rencontre initiale et de révéler l’abîme culturel qui les sépare. L’un est bouddhiste, pratique le « khon », la danse des masques – l’autre répugne à toute technique dansée et questionne les attentes du public. Le spectacle brode et s’amuse autour du thème de l’impossible rencontre (« c’est fou ce que nous sommes différents »). Mais sous couvert de donner la parole à l’autre, Bel orchestre toute la progression du dialogue et assène à son partenaire une leçon de choses sur les bienfaits de son esthétique avec des arguments pas vraiment convaincants. Le chorégraphe français prétend notamment défendre une position politique parce que sa danse pourrait être réalisée par n’importe qui ! Au lieu de répondre à la seule question qui ait quelque peu d’intérêt – pourquoi Bel refuse la danse – celui-ci s’en tient tout le long à une ironie divertissante. A contrario le corps de Pichet Klunchun est pleinement investi lors des trop rares passages dansés de la pièce. Ses mouvements de main sont exécutés avec une précision d’orfèvre. Le contraste entre les deux danses – celle du bouddhiste respectueux de son roi et celle du français athée et rebelle – propose une piste de réflexion intéressante : on aurait la danse de ses convictions religieuses et politiques. Dommage que la pièce se contente d’effleurer la question.

Sanja Mitrovic

Maxime Fleuriot

Sanja Mitrovic – Will you ever be happy again ?

Well done, talented, clever, well performed, vivid, suprising, complex. Here are the qualities one can find in the play in Will you ever be happy again ? by the young director Sanja Mitrovic. What is this about ? Born in Serbia and living in Netherlands, Sanja Mitrovic questions her identity. How do you deal with your national identity in a country like Serbia ? What do you make of the past ? How to accept and live with what has been done by your family, neighbours, friends ? In thinking over these questions, Sanja Mitrovic draws a comparison with german people after WW2. And so she puts two people on stage, herself as a serbian and a young guy – Jochen Stechmann – as the german guy. These two refered to their own family history and memories to build the play. For instance, at some point in the play, Jochen Stechmann shows an official document from the nazi period, a family record established by the authorities to prove he has no jews ancestors. He also shows a picture of his grand mother dressed up and smiling before attending a Hithler’s speech. As for Sanja, she evokes in a playful way the overwhelming reference to Tito in the raising of serbian children and teens. And so on. All these elements are vividly incorporated in a playful, inventive, dynamic way, almost joking. Sure that Sanja Mitrovic knows ho to tell stories. The dramaturgy of the play is also quite efficient, weel built, vivid, dynamic. The director also makes references to the present period, the realm of money and sex. The plays ends on a desperate and comical sequence : the two partners singing soccer fan songs, showing their pride in their country. Relating to what we saw before in the play, this outrageous pride sounds silly but also terrifying.

Nicole Beutler – Songs

Maxime Fleuriot

Nicole Beutler – Songs

Songs is a solo performance that takes the appearance of a concert led by Sanja Mitrovic. Wearing a very classical and simple dress (« bourgeois » style) the woman looks like rather shy. Yet the outrage and the strenght that show up in the voice, the craziness that show in the eyes and the whole face create an interesting contrast with her appearance. This combination is curious, unique and striking. So are her movements, always surprising, always unexpected. She literally hold the stage with great self confidence. One could think of Claudi Triozzi because of the experiments with the voice but Nicole Beutler’s performance is much darker in what it conveys : suffering, isolation. In fact, it doesn’t look like anything we could have seen before which is the sign of the great performers. However, if the performance starts very well, it loses its powerful charm as it goes on. Unlashing her hair, opening her dress, the performer becomes clearer in her intentions : expressing feminine despair and solitude. The discrepency betwen the appearance and the underlying outrage of the voice tend to disapear. The lyrics of the songs become clearer. Everything become too obvious and one way. Behind the performer, on a screen, since the beginning of the performance, old images are shown. Names of literary heroines appear on these pictures : Ophelia, Antigone, Medea… The images are nice but this will to inscribe this feminine presence in a more general litterary context remain at the level of an intention and seems a little bit forced.

Fabian Barba – A Mary Wigman Dance Evening

Maxime Fleuriot

One of the particularities of dance is that we do not have direct access to the works of the earliest dancers. What do we know of Nijinsky’s dance for instance that revolutionized dance history ? Some photos, some testimonies and that’s all. As dance is developing, scholars and dancers feel the need to investigate their own history. One recalls the efforts of Quatuor Knust (Emmanuelle Huyhn, Boris Charmatz…) to recreate L’Après Midi d’un Faune de Nijinsky. Here, Fabian Barba, a young Ecuadorian dancer trained in PARTS, has chosen to recreate Mary Wigman solos, one of the pioneer of modern dance. Basing his work on pictures and videos of that period, on testimonies – among which the one of choreographer Susane Linke who used to be a student of Wigman – Fabian Barba has recreated as series of nine solos created by Wigman between 1925 and 1929. He has also paid attention to make the whole program seem like a 1930 theatre evening : curtains, chandeliers, the music that is played on an old gramophone evoke the 1930s. Even the programs have a 1930s look. This coherence in aesthetics is one of the major qualities of this work. The major interests one can find in Barba’s work is to grasp something of Mary Wigman’s dances. Where else do we have such opportunity ? This way of re-actualizing historical works, of making it present, vivid is fascinating for one who is used to photos and videos. This impression is increased by the attention paid by Barba to the costumes and quality of movement. One is not used to this graphic quality of movement, this length, these geometrical shapes, the suspension of an impulse on time to increase its dramatic tension. Actualized in a young body, this quality of movement seems absolutely peculiar and contemporary.

And maybe that’s more true that one could think first. The graphical, almost pictural quality of the dance reminded me some of Raimud Hoghe’s recent performances – the German choreographer (For instance this performance based on Maria Callas ‘s pictures36, avenue George Mandel). And the reference to an canonical figure of dance history pointed all the more the very personal dimension of the work of Barba. The way this Ecuadorian young dancer embodied a forty years woman living in the 1920s. Or also, the stress on bows which were performed at the end of every solo in a different style every time. This was a very contemporary way to stress the choreographic quality of something usually considered as non choreographic.

Anat Eisenberg and Mirko Winkel – Life and Strive

Maxime Fleuriot

Life and Strive is not a play nor a performance. It’s an orginal artistic proposition made by two young artists Anat Eisenberg and Mirko Winkel for a limited group of people (around 15 persons). The public meet the two artists on the top floor of a luxury hotel in the center of Istanbul. There, in front of the city view, the two artists explain their project : they show the biggest tower of the city to the audience, a residential project which construction is about to be completed. They invite the public to visit the apartements, pretending they are interested in buying one. And so it goes. Divided in two small groups, the members of the public are brought there in a van an soon go through a visit of apartments which they will never be able to afford (the prices range between 1.2 million dollars and seven million). Everything here is big and made for the richest : the view is breathtaking, the apartments are huge ; a golf, a swimming pool and a supermarket are under construction. What makes many people dream of discloses many terryfying aspects : the tower has everything of a golden cage. The view is breathtaking but no one can open a window ! What is interesting in this situation is that the members of the public are pretending. This self distance increases the feeling one has that everything that is seen and heard in this building project is fake (the building, the salesmen…). Unfortunately it is not. The role of the artists in Life and Strive is quite limited : they put the public in a situation they just chose. Difficult to call that a piece or a performance. But the content of it is interesting enough to be worth it.