The Kingdom of Shades

The Kingdom of Shades is a series of experiments on the vocabulary of ballet. Through various strategies, I try to disrupt its inner logic and to make it visible spatially and temporally. I have only used classical ballet steps in order to focus the attention on the way the movements are put together. The use of ballet vocabulary is thus a means for the exploration of this very vocabulary.

In the first sequence, the steps follow the alphabetical order: arabesque, attitude, assemblé… The ballet system is quite resistant to this kind of manipulation. If one associates two ballet steps, it will usually produce an acceptable transition. I am trying to test that resistance by using different ways of associating steps. Thus the next sequence is composed only with preparation steps. They are the linking steps, the ones that allow you to do another step such as bending your knees before a jump or opening your arms before a turn. The dancer tries to do these movements as if he would really perform the turn or the jump and to interrupt himself at the last moment by initiating a new preparation. This gap between the intention and the action of the dancer makes visible the way he anticipates the movement to come.

The last sequence is composed of excerpts from XIX century ballets including masculine, feminine and fantastic characters: La Sylphide (1831), Giselle (1836), Napoli (1841), Paquita (1847), Nathalie or The Swiss Milkmaid (1849), Le Corsaire (1858), The Pharaoh’s Daughter (1862), Don Quichotte (1869), Coppélia (1870), La Bayadère (1877), The Sleeping Beauty (1890) and Swann Lake (1895). It is almost impossible to distinguish all these pieces within the sequence which becomes a multifaceted and almost monstrous ballet variation.

Signe blanc

Signe blanc prolongs the research from The Kingdom of Shades within ballet mime vocabulary. The dancer starts by saying the meaning of the mime gestures as he performs them, but progressively the words and the gestures get more and more contradictory. The body becomes the source of multiple messages that complement, transform or contradict each other. The meaning is not anymore in the message itself but in the interaction between the messages, between what you hear and what you see. The opposition is then transposed within the body, as two gestures are performed at the same time. The gap between the meanings of the two gestures gradually increases until the performer is torn between these contradictory signs. The gestures are then performed in a continuous flow until they form a sequence at the edge of meaning and abstract movement.

Choregraphy: Noé Soulier
With: Vincent Chaillet, Premier danseur du Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris

The Kingdom of Shades

Production: PARTS
Executive production: Cndc – Angers

Signe Blanc

Production: wpZimmer, Palais de Tokyo
Executive production: Cndc – Angers

2014
April 15: TAP Scène Nationale – Poitiers (FR)

2015 
January 1: CN D – Pantin (FR)
January 26: CDC – Toulouse (FR)

2016
April 22: STUK Kunstencentrum – Leuven (BE)

2019
November 30: Festival de Danse Cannes Côte d’Azur France– Cannes (FR)

2020
March 31st: Scène Nationale d’Orléans – Orléans (FR)

2022
April 26 : Espace René Cassin – Fontenay-le-Comte (FR)