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

Positions emerge from chaos -and so does the Blitz Theatre Group

To believe in Europe still. To start a construction site. To walk the dead. What is this stooped girl in a purple gown coming to tell us, dragging an axe behind? She says in Greek a text inspired by Friedrich Hölderlin’s Menon’s Lament for Diotima, which begins as follows: « Daily I search, now here, now there my wandering takes me. »

It is thus the heart of German romanticism the spokeswoman with zombie looks chooses to call upon, to help the young find their way in the haze of dawn. Everything is still to be built on this abrupt zany ground as kites take off, casting a rain of silver confetti on the suicide bodies.

The seven protagonists keep on erecting scaffoldings which keep on falling down, and on it goes for those modern Sisyphus figures . One can read the myth two ways, and see in it either the miserable worker doomed to the eternal cycle, or the founder of Corinth who managed to defeat Thanatos. Positions emerge from chaos.

6 A.M. HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY is a performance by Greek collective Blitz Theatre Group, presented at the festival d’Avignon in July 2016 and seen while on tour at the Nouveau Théâtre de Montreuil from February 23rd to 28th 2017 with the Théâtre de la Ville.

Dieudonné Niangouna’s totemic fevers

The leading figure of Congolese drama scene meets the late Sony Labou Tansi, a monument of literature in the two Congos. Pain and hope. Rebellion and torture. It’s sharp, it’s hot, sometimes inaudible.

Erected in the centre of the set around/on which the audience takes place, a fetishist construction made of everything and anything stands for a mausoleum, dressing room, make-up room and decor. The sacred made desacralised.

One of Dieudonné Niangouna's preparatory sketches
One of Dieudonné Niangouna’s preparatory sketches

This hunt for verticality on wheels (which seems very close to the one seen the same week with the Blitz Theatre Group) is that of a self, which can barely sit together and doesn’t know what it’s made of anymore. Its only hope lays in Antoine, a fallen prince locked up in a cell following a failed coup d’état. A plastic dummy in a pale skin is all that’s left of him.

Diariétou Keita in Antoine m'a vendu son destin/Sony chez les chiens by Dieudonné Niangouna
Diariétou Keita in Antoine m’a vendu son destin/Sony chez les chiens by Dieudonné Niangouna

As always with Dieudonné Niangouna, one reads, sings and dances. Diariétou Keita the totemic woman, the castrating mother, dog, icon, plays all the roles cunningly and powerfully. Her dance, rather than an invitation to leap up, is more of a call for introspection.

Antoine m’a vendu son destin/ Sony chez les chiens
Words Dieudonné Niangouna and Sony Labou Tansi
With Dieudonné Niangouna and Diariétou Keita
In Théâtre National de la Colline until March 18th 2017

Saburo Teshigawara's birds of silence

Hear that? A wind of arid and dry beauty is blowing over Chaillot. After Mirror and Music et DAH-DAH-SKO-DAH-DAH, Saburo Teshigawara is back to the Palais with an in situ creation: Flexible Silence. The japanese choreographer and six dancers sofly approach the dissonant repertory of the Ensemble Intercontemporain founded by Pierre Boulez.

Saburo Teshigawara, Flexible Silence, Chaillot
Saburo Teshigawara, Flexible Silence, Chaillot

It’s a piece where beauty emerges from multiple sources. A ray of light, a shadow, a halo, the electrified fluttering of slender fingertips. Exceptional solos and duets shape up an extraordinary variety of birds and aquatic plants. The movement of bodies creates a bubble of soft energy, like an anamorphosis makes confluences appear. Here it feels like stepping into Murakami’s captivating world. There one can almost see Michael Jackson’s shirt floating freely–recalling the compelling piece Glass Tooth.

Costumes are black, set is austere yet it’s warm. As usual, Saburo Teshigawara does everything from choreography to (a sublime) light design. Pure moments of gracefulness are in there for those who wait in silence.

Illustration © Araso

BiT-Maguy Marin

BiT by Maguy Marin: a farandole for humanity

The piece is well known. Yet each time it’s a shock. The surging of naked bodies, the orgies, the rapes, the deviant monks with the scary masks, the anonymous violence and this sublime pre-Raphaelite picture throwing up genitals and golden coins had nearly been forgotten.

Maguy Marin, throughout her unclassifiable work, has committed to stir in the depths of humanity in order to extract its essence, which daily life throws into oblivion. It’s beautiful, it’s ugly, and it’s often disturbing.

BiT, Maguy Marin, illustration © Araso
BiT, Maguy Marin, illustration © Araso

BiT is a techno dance procession starting with a group of Mormons. Six dancers gather into a farandole, which grows intoxicating as the beat goes up (genius sound design by Charlie Aubry). Faces gloat, bodies reveal themselves and discordances start « against the audience’s pleasure »*.

The anachronic trance jumps to the Middle-Age with spinning distaffs. Religion, SM harnesses and dough transfigure the bodies. They collide, chase each other, and then find each other again only to leap into the void. In BiT, hope and hopelessness are one, and lay inside the other(s).

*Interview of Maguy Marin by Bénédicte Namont and Stéphane Boitel, Garonne theatre – Toulouse August 2014.

BiT is a 2014 creation by Maguy Marin, presented by a non-residential Théâtre de la Ville at the Rond-Point theatre until February 11th 2017

Marionnette: A new Label for puppeteering, Audrey Azoulay, illustration © Araso

French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay announces new "Label" for puppeteering

The French Minister of Culture Audrey Azoulay has visited the ESNAM construction site in Charleville-Mézières on Friday Februray 3rd. On this occasion, she has made a highly anticipated announcement that a “label” for puppeteering will soon be created, which shall be granted upon the school and many other institutions connected to puppeteering but currently under a more non-specific “label” (one “CDN”, one “scène nationale”, nine “scènes conventionnées” already exist under the understanding that they are meant for puppeteering).

This advances the normalization of relations between public authorities and puppeteers, and shows recognition of the importance of their the craft, a logical consequence of the inscription of the Diploma of Puppeteering Crafts in the National Registry of Professional Certifications (RNCP). This shows support from the State to the further development of that form of theatrical performance.

Audrey Azoulay, illustration © Araso
Audrey Azoulay, illustration © Araso