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San

CN D - Centre national de la danse 2001 - Director : Gwenael, Cohenner

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France)

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr

San

CN D - Centre national de la danse 2001 - Director : Gwenael, Cohenner

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France)

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr

San

Created in 2001 following a commission initiated by the Culturgest of Lisbon, San (Lointain) represents a tribute to Oskar Schlemmer, a painter but also a dancer, sculptor, choreographer and theatre artist. Building on this prolific, multidisciplinary point of focus, Catherine Diverrès proposes powerful contemplation on externality and initiates an experience here that is radically different from those undertaken in her other works, which focused more so on inner states.

When it was created, San (Lointain), performed by three male dancers, was regularly presented as the second part of a male/female diptych introduced by Voltes, which focused exclusively on female performers.

In San (Lointain), the recurring presence of a white rectangle on the stage, insofar as it is to be perceived as a reference to a work of art, appears to propose a framework here for the dance. As such, this framework induces an extremely intense tie-in with the pictoriality of the moving bodies and poetizes the constant use of gestural geometrics. A game comes progressively into play with the various levels of perception offered to the spectator, as a result of the almost manic use of the dancing bodies moving away from and towards the objects comprised in the stage design. The impression of near and far can, as such, create perceptive confusion, and lead to a vertiginous gain of emptiness. Hence, the aim of the work appears to be utterly predestined to what we are able to believe, to feel, to think almost as if in a work of art.

The use of a looping-electro soundtrack, conjuring up a mechanization of the elements, and even their industrialization, heightens the perceptive upheaval. In fact, the sounds used distance de facto the possibility of organic perception, and guide the gaze towards focusing on a mathematization of the space. As a result, as regards San (Lointain), we can evoke the intention of a chiasmatic intertwining of the senses – in line with the phenomenology of perception initiated by Merleau-Ponty then developed by Michel Bernard [1] –, where sound material interacts with pictorial elements.

“It is the first time that I have ever accepted a commission and the perilous exercise of paying tribute, bearing in mind, however, that the work to come will not be an exercise of course but a creation. […] Oskar Schlemmer’s mechanical abstraction of bodies, so far from the organic and lyric abstraction that guides my work encourages me not to consider this creation from the point of view of Schlemmer’s work, but rather from a view closer to the man, his intimacy, his psychology”. [2]

The work was transmitted to the Ballet of the Opera of Lyon in 2011.

Alice Gervais-Ragu

[1] Michel Bernard, “Sens et fiction” in De la création chorégraphique, published by Centre national de la danse, 2001
[2] Catherine Diverrès about San (Lointain)
 

CRITICAL RECEPTION

“All the images in San ring a bell. The weightless swimmer drifting in mid-water, the welder igniting a hellish fire, or the final scene with the three boys pelting each other with handfuls of rice. We have rarely seen a performance as understated, as condensed, as inspired as this superbly danced tribute”.

René Sirvin, Le Figaro, 26 July 2002

“By focusing on the painter’s gesture, Catherine Diverrès creates a dazzling geometric composition where the bodies, volumes floating in space, evoke a world of weightlessness. Spiral dancing where the movement is an exultation”.

Irène Filiberti, handbill for San (Lointain), 2002

Updating: February 2014

Diverrès, Catherine

Catherine Diverrès has said, “Conscience, our relationship with others, this is what creates time”, ever since her first choreographic creation. She is a sort of strange meteor, appearing in the landscape of contemporary dance in the mid-80’s. She stood out almost immediately in her rejection of the tenets of post-modern American dance and the classically-based vocabularies trending at that time. She trained at the Mudra School in Brussels under the direction of Maurice Béjart, and studied the techniques of José Limón, Merce Cunningham and Alwin Nikolais before joining the company of Dominique Bagouet in Montpellier, then deciding to set out on her own choreographic journey.

Her first work was an iconic duo, Instance, with Bernardo Montet, based upon a study trip she took to Japan in 1983, during which she worked with one of the great masters of butoh, Kazuo Ohno. This marked the beginning of the Studio DM. Ten years later she was appointed director of the National Choreographic Center in Rennes, which she directed until 2008.

Over the years, Catherine Diverrès has created over thirty pieces, created her own dance language, an extreme and powerful dance, resonating with the great changes in life, entering into dialogues with the poets: Rilke, Pasolini and Holderlin, reflecting alongside the philosophers Wladimir Jankelevich and Jean-Luc Nancy, focusing also on the transmission of movement and repertoire in Echos, Stances and Solides and destabilising her own dancing with the help of the plastician Anish Kapoor in L’ombre du ciel.

Beginning in 2000, she began adapting her own style of dance by conceiving other structures for her creations: she improvised with the music in Blowin, developed projects based on experiences abroad, in Sicily for Cantieri, and with Spanish artists in La maison du sourd. Exploring the quality of stage presence, gravity, hallucinated images, suspensions, falls and flight — the choreographer began using her own dance as a means of revealing, revelation, unmasking, for example in Encor, in which movements and historical periods are presented. Diverrès works with the body to explore the important social and aesthetic changes of today, or to examine memory, the way she did in her recent solo in homage to Kazuo Ohno, O Sensei.

And now the cycle is repeating, opening on a new period of creation with the founding of Diverrès’ new company, Association d’Octobre, and the implantation of the company in the city of Vannes in Brittany. Continuing on her chosen path of creation and transmission, the choreographer and her dancers have taken on a legendary figure, Penthesilea, the queen of the Amazons, in Penthésilée(s). In returning to group and collective work, this new work is indeed another step forward in the choreographer’s continuing artistic journey.


Source: Irène Filiberti, website of the company Catherine Diverrès


More information: compagnie-catherine-diverres.com

Gwenael, Cohenner

San (Lointain)

Choreography : Catherine Diverrès

Interpretation : Nam Jin Kin (remplacé par Julien Fouché ou Felipe Lourenço par la suite), Osman Kassen Khelili, Fabrice Lambert avec la participation de Carole Gomes

Set design : Laurent Peduzzi

Lights : Marie-Christine Soma assistée par Pierre Gaillardot

Costumes : Cidalia da Costa

Sound : Denis Gambiez

Duration : 40 minutes

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