The body as architecture

I carry on my episodical chronicles of contemporay dance performances on this blog. My literary experimentation blog could be better suited, but it is in French only. The yearly Rencontres Choréographiques de la Seine-Saint-Denis are back, and with them the pleasure of discoveries for the intermittent amateur.


Tamara Bacci, Marthe Krummenacher and Perrine Valli are dancers and choreographers. The first two asked the third to orchestrate a choreography for them. The apparent aim was to stage the performer’s body and its (perceived or real) limits. The limits of what it can achieve (never enough in the learning process), but even more the limit of our own conception of what a body is. The result is extremely impressive but also raises some questions. Extremely impressive when Tamara Bacci, at the very beginning of the piece, stages the body beyong its enveloppe, the body of bones and muscles, able to pass from feminity to indetermination, the ribcage and the spine as we have never seen them. Or when Marthe Krummenacher plays with the suspended completion of grace and the expectation of its repetition. Or in her extraordinary duos with the other performer clothed as Spiderman.

RA de MA ré, duo de Marthe Krummenacher avec Raphaële Teicher en 2010.

These scenes are of a great force. The continuity between them is searched for through Perrine Valli’s on-stage reading of texts on learning to dance, its pains, uncertainty and happiness. These texts are clearly rooted in veracity beyond the fictional details. They made me think of the frequent occurence of questions on writing within digital literary writing. However, here, the discourse appears a bit superfluous, because it is expressed in another medium, in a narrative mode that is foreign to the dance it accompanies. One can wonder if the little spoken commands (“do it again”, “you are too small”) would not have been sufficient to carry the message. One would have then needed another structuring thread. Similarly, the title “Laissez-moi danser” (Let me dance) is surprising. One would not think of preventing them from doing it. One would even ask for more.

This post is also available in: French

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