Amala Dianor: the body and the self

Man Rec. Only me. Wolof, Senegal, back to the origins.

Hip-hop. Contemporary dance. Absolute dance.

Music. Electronic ethnic modern, with strong bass.

So here is the man. Standing in his socks, sitting, lying, on his head, on his hands and back onto his feet again. Leaping up he attacks, chest sticking out, with his arms spreadeagled Forsythe style. Bending his knees, crouching, one hand to shield himself from an imaginary rabid dog – or the devil.

Amala Dianor, Man Rec, illustration © Araso
Amala Dianor, Man Rec, illustration © Araso

The scene is magnificent, as in worthy-of-a-series-of-fast-action-artistic-shots magnificent. Light runs through the drops of sweat spouting from the smooth forehead, overlooking a pair of ever impassible almond-shaped eyes. The self-satisfied mind surprises itself thinking that those pearls of water somehow symbolize the effort of the travelled path, from Senegal to Angers. There is no such thing.

There is just him, a fabulous dancer, gifted, harmonious, able to put styles, times and genres altogether seamlessly.

Two beats. Two chest clicks. One heartbeat. This was Man Rec by Amala Dianor. Boom.

Man Rec is a solo choreographed and danced by Amala Dianor, seen within the Sequence Danse Festival in 104 on March 17th et 18th 2017.

Marco Berrettini, iFeel4, illustration © Araso

iFeel4: joy and disappearance of the stage as we know it

black elevated sets, like 2 workbenches or 2 table tennis tables. The audience takes place everywhere on the floor including the spaces in-between them.

Marco Berrettini appears in a classy shirt and elegant trousers. With a feline leap he propels himself on top of one of the promontories. On the twin table across from his, accomplice Samuel Pajand sings and plays the piano. Marco begins a circular, aerobic move that he’s going to repeat tirelessly for the next hour and 15 minutes.

Samuel’s sound make children from the CRR d’Aubervilliers – La Courneuve arise from the crowd where they were lying. In English and German, a prowess for such a young crowd, they sing after him lyrics from les Misérables, Rilke, the Pajand/Berrettini duo (fabulous Dijnn Dijnn), Carl Jung and Hermann Hesse. Emoji-masks, circular strolls and diluvian rains (which end up causing a real flood soaking one of the young artists) nothing stops the budding crew.

Marco Berrettini, iFeel4, illustration © Araso
Marco Berrettini, iFeel4, illustration © Araso

It is thus in a joyful questioning that the iFeel series comes to an end. The simplicity of the show and the true feelings it conveys -including happiness, alleluia! betrays some serious work done beforehand. Bravo.

iFeel4 is a creation by Marco Berrettini seen at the CND March 15th & 16th 2017

Choreography and dance
Marco Berrettini
Summer music (Marco Berrettini and Samuel Pajand)
Piano and voice
Samuel Pajand
Set design
Victor Roy
Costumes and accessories
Séverine Besson
Stage and lighting management
Pierre Montessuit
Filière voix du CRR d’Aubervilliers – La Courneuve directed by Madeleine Saur
Alya Ait Abdesselam, Bénédicte Badibanga-Semzedi, Daniel Basset, Léo Cabuk, Olivia Diakabana, Camille Epain, Ketsia Jude Ilanthiraiyan, Sanata Wendy Fofana, Hawa-Emeline Gitras, Yilan Lounas, Nadira Maoulana, Alice Marion, Cynthia Matanchandran, Clarisse Mputu, Lydia Nait Tahar, Alban Rascalon, Luc Seka-Ursulet, Rebecca Tranca, Ancelin Tridant, Ilena Ruoyi Xu, Elena Xu, Angie Yahiaoui, Martine Zou, Mu Ti Zou

Assistant to costume director
Atelier Madame, Lou Masduraud
Tutu Production

Serious players

Atol’s Adriana collection, recent campaigns by Kenzo, Dior, Louis Vuitton, along with Paris 2017 D’ Days tagline, “Let’s play”… Marketing has erected a temple for fun and declared it the new religion.

But a different wind is blowing over the kingdom of video games. In the basement one can find serious games for smartphones. I love potatoes (CA 2015) suggests more responsible ways to consume. Smokitten (FR 2017) helps you quit smoking thanks to an adorable kitten and Minecraft (USA 2016) is a learning tool using digital LEGOs.

Marcus through the years
Marcus through the years

It is true that serious games have existed since the 18th century namely through war strategy simulators. As early as the 15th century, the concept of Serio Ludere is the playful approach one can find to a serious situation. Nowadays, this contradiction in terms reveal what a sociological marker video games are.

Throughout the years, the mascots (Pac-Man, Sonic, Mario…), the creators (Michel Ancel, Hideo Kojima), the platforms and a few collectible ads (SEGA, it’s stronger than you) the exhibition creates a rather comprehensive, clever panorama of the Homo Ludens and what it says about the world.

Game, video game through the yearsan exhibition at the EDF Foundation until August 27th 2017.

Visuals © Araso

Beauty is a moveable feast for Yves-Noël Genod

Life is a moveable feast. Or so it is for Yves-Noël Genod and this bunch of sixteen 20-year old.

There is the model, the gifted schizophrenic actor, the black diva with the voice of Amy Winehouse singing Jeff Buckley’s Lilac Wine a cappella, Proust’ Albertine in a full vegetable print outfit. Miles away from the jaded apathetic 3.0 youngster archetype, these kids lack neither passion nor French kissing abilities.

La Beauté Contemporaine, Contemporary Beauty by Yves-Noël Genod
La Beauté Contemporaine, Contemporary Beauty by Yves-Noël Genod

Nothing is exactly where it’s supposed to be. Actors come in and out through each of the backstage doors, interrupt each other constantly, chat in Dutch about the latest Star Wars whilst a girl is giving a poignant speech about origins. This tower of Babel relies on meticulous aesthetics. Proust’s La Recherche meets Chassol’s Pipornithology. On a floor, a tubular lighting system projects the colors of a fun fair that will blow into a giant foam party.

It’s hard to tell where it starts and where it ends. “In this house we work with time” says Yves-Noël Genod as a warning that the play will be 1 hour and 50 minutes long. Too bad we don’t feel it them passing by.

La Beauté Contemporaine, (Contemporary Beauty) by Yves Noël Genod, from March 14th to 16th 2017 at the Ménagerie de Verre within the Etrange Cargo Festival

Illustrations © Araso

Balenciaga, Bourdelle: a stroll in the antechamber of beauty

In 800 Signs

Balenciaga was an ambidexter. Suspicious, wary, he used to present his work one month away from Paris runways to protect it from plagiarists. He would always operate in absolute silence, with the cut as his one single obsession. Far from ostentatious glamour, Balenciaga designed volumes without tulle or corset, invented silk gazar with Swiss manufacturer Abraham. He formed those balloon dresses from 1950s and 1960s which sealed the reputation of the House forever.

A dialog of beauties: Balenciaga, Bourdelle. Photography © Araso
A dialog of beauties: Balenciaga, Bourdelle. Photography © Araso

More signs


Inside his ivory tower of 10 Avenue George V in Paris, the Spanish Master created collections for the elite of the elite. Black infant women, dressed like ramparts for these spiritual heiresses of el Greco and Zurbarán. A maestro beyond reproach, Balenciaga is dubbed by his peers, including Chanel, who will say « he was the only one of us, couturiers, who knew how to sew, draw and cut » and the Maison Christian Dior: « Haute couture is an orchestra that only Balenciaga knows how to conduct, all of us, the other designers, merely follow his lead. » In 1950, whilst Cristóbal is on top of his fame, a certain André Courrèges writes to him: « I want to work for you, for free, like the last apprentice ». By a strange twist of fate, it is because of André Courrèges’ success that in 1968 Balenciaga deems his time is over and closes his couture house.

Balenciaga inside the Bourdelle Museum, Illustration © Araso
Balenciaga inside the Bourdelle Museum, Illustration © Araso

These beauties now come out of their tissues from Palais Galliera’s conservation rooms to go back to another atelier, that of sculptor and painter Antoine Bourdelle and once again display their marvels to the public. Beauties from the past dialog over nymphs’ sculptures and end of the XIXth century portraits. What are they saying? Probably that not so long ago in the middle of templating and tacking, fashion would create timeless icons. Powerful images worthy of featuring in the Pantheon of works of art. Unbeatable mat blacks, shiny blacks, see-through blacks. Gazing at their own beauty in the light of 2017’s fashion, they probably laugh, at least a little.

Balenciaga, l’oeuvre au Noir, an exhibition by the Palais Galliera at the Musée Bourdelle in Paris, until July 16th 2017

François Chaignaud, Cecilia Bengolea et Hanna Hedman dans Dub Love au CND

Dub Love: an orgy of glitter, sound and sweat

After Pâquerette, it’s a five-year time leap ahead. In 2013 Dub Love, François Chaignaud, Cecilia Bengolea and Hanna Hedman (in lieu of Ana Pi) do the splits between pointe and dub. The nightlife and its glitter stick to the bodies and penetrate the skins.

François Chaignaud, Cecilia Bengolea and Hanna Hedman in Dub Love, CND
François Chaignaud, Cecilia Bengolea and Hanna Hedman in Dub Love, CND

Remixed live by MatDTSound, High Elements’ riddims (“rhythm” in Jamaican) make the audience dance. The Grand Studio’s thick concrete walls tremble as a giant speakers wall spits out loud basses. Dub surfs the reggae wave. Dub is the growing part played by sound engineers in popular music, blending the boundaries between styles. Dub is also a kind of digital, as “dubbing” is the process of transferring formats from one medium to another whithe the aim of restoring and saving.

Saving the festive side of dance, the joie de vivre, a sense of gap and highlight. Dressed in leotards, bodies are running with sweat, François’s makeup is melting, specks of glitter dust are trickling down onto the floor. Dub love is an orgy of vibrations, the haven after the battle.

Performance seen within the rerun of François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea’s repertoire at the CND in Pantin, February-March 2017

Illustration © Araso