First Memory is a new piece for 8 dancers and places gesture at the heart of a research that is at once choreographic, musical and visual.

Noe Soulier’s new creation will take place at the Raffinerie in Brussels in may 22 as part of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, then at the Festival Montpellier Danse in june 2022.

The experience of our corporeal actions, whether in the present of their enactment or in our memory of them, is always fragmentary. Certain parts of the body, certain objects and certain sensations occupy a central position while others are left in the shadow. It is this fragmentary dimension of corporeal experience that I am trying to make palpable by means of movement. To do this, I work with practical goals that we all know, such as avoiding, hitting, throwing or catching. They are diverted from their initial function by withdrawing the object of the action, by bringing into play a part of the body that is not suited to the aim pursued, or by breaking it off before it reaches completion. By taking away what makes these everyday actions familiar, I try to make perceptible the strangeness and the elusiveness of our experience of our own body.

This research into gesture is extended into the field of music via a collaboration with composer Karl Naegelen and Ictus. We have begun to explore together the musical dimension of these practical actions: what might be the aural form taken by striking or avoiding? This research into musical actions makes it possible to sketch out a new language that escapes the traditional categories of melody, harmony or instrumentation.

The exploration of gesture will take on another dimension thanks to a collaboration with the artist Thea Djordjadze. Just as the movements of my choreography divert practical actions, many of her works look like functional objects (chair, carpet, shelves, curtains, etc.). Her work interweaves the formal, historical and emotional dimensions of the places it occupies and thus radically calls into question the white cube as a purportedly neutral exhibition space. Here, this approach will be transferred to the black box and the devices of theatre. The putting in place and transformation of the installation will be inscribed in the vocabulary of practical gestures present throughout the choreography. This installation is therefore not just a simple set in which the action unfolds. On the contrary, it creates a context in which gestures and objects mutually determine each other.

The sensorial and affective dimension of gesture will thus be the nodal point tying together the piece’s visual, musical and choreographic dimensions.

Concept, choreography: Noé Soulier
Scenography: Thea Djordjaze
Lights: Victor Burel
Music (recorded): Karl Naegelen, en collaboration avec Ictus
With: Stephanie Amurao, Lucas Bassereau, Adriano Coletta, Julie Charbonnier, Meleat Fredriksson, Yumiko Funaya, Nangaline Gomis, Nans Pierson

Production: Cndc - Angers
Coproduction (en cours): Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Montpellier Danse, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Centre Pompidou, La Place de la Danse CDCN Toulouse / Occitanie, Theater Freiburg.
Avec le soutien de Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels