2018 - Director : Plasson, Fabien
Choreographer(s) : De Mey, Thierry (Belgium) De Mey, Michèle Anne (Belgium) Cleary, Suzanne Harding, Peter Chaplin, Charlie (United Kingdom) Merzouki, Mourad (France) Decouflé, Philippe (France) Shivalingappa, Shantala (India) Amagatsu, Ushio (Japan) Nair, Savitry (India)
Author : Julie Charrier
Why does hand dancing make us laugh or smile and why is it generally ever-so rhythmic and melodious?
Thanks to their 5 fingers, 27 bones, umpteen muscles and lifelines, hands grasp, manipulate, count, pray, caress, accompany speech and even go as far as replacing it with sign language.
In the collective psyche, music is played by two, sometimes even four hands and feet dance. Yet, hands are also highly capable of calling the tune, leading the dance and using tables as a floor.
Musiques de tables – Thierry De Mey
For this creation, performed by 3 percussionists and their 6 hands playing on a table, Thierry de Mey highlights an ambience of various figures that give rise to a variety of sounds with the different ways the hands strike the table: flat-hand, backhand, hand-chop, fist-hit, finger-flick, hand-edge, fingertips, stone.
What is surprising is the contrast between the performers’ stoicism and the variation of their hands, which are incredibly precise. Here, hands become real instruments and create a dance of sounds and gestures.
Light music – Thierry De Mey
With Light music, Thierry de Mey centres stages an orchestra conductor without an orchestra, a percussionist without percussion... a percussionist who “triggers sounds and musical sequences manipulates them in time and space, loops them, rips them apart, makes them resonate”.
Folk you - Collectif Up & Over it
Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding present themselves as “hand dancers”. Mind-blowing Irish dance performers, they decided to use their hands to symbolize this dance where, traditionally, only legs and feet are required.
They intend to move Irish dance away from the all-predictable, highly-formatted pigeon-hole of major galas and international championships and rediscover the pleasure, the mischievousness and quintessence of the original rhythm. This traditional dance, which migrated to the United States in the suitcases of thousands of Irish women and men, played a great role in music-hall and musical comedy dances which developed throughout the 20th century, in particular tap dancing.
« The Roll dance » extract from Gold Rush – Charlie Chaplin
No-one can resist this dance that Charlie performs on the edge of a restaurant table with two forks and two rolls of bread. He becomes a puppet-master and a dancer at the same time, he plays on the contrast between his hands and his facial expressions. The moment the dance and the music kick off, the rolls of bread become ‘real’ characters and we, as spectators, are immediately filled with empathy. Charlie dares to play like a child and finds himself believing in his little bread roll-dancers; he takes us on a journey into his personal fantasy, into his imaginary world.
Agwa – Mourad Merzouki
The strength of the last scene of this choreography lies in the sensitivity, gentleness and attention that these hip-hop dancers, who are generally on their feet working on speed and virtuosity, carry in their hands. The hands, in synergy with the water that this work takes its inspiration from, connect us with the poetry and fragility of the performers.
Le P’tit bal – Philippe Decouflé
Philippe Decouflé has always been interested in signs, movements and sketches, which can instantaneously, upon simple observation, conjure up a memory or provoke an emotion.
Backed by a song by Bourvil, Philippe Decouflé and Pascale Houbin use their hands to make signs and accessories dance. Instead of offering us play on words, they propose hand-play, visual and gestural winks.
Kiss & cry – Michèle Anne De Mey
An entire show performed by hands, accompanied by a ballet of technicians, cameras and accessories.
This was the challenge that the filmmakert Jaco Van Dormael, and the choreographer Michèle Anne de Mey, ltook on... they refer to it as “nanodances”. Like two children, they create and film on sight a miniature world, where the stories, which are projected directly unto a big screen, are narrated by the dancers’ hands and fingers. The hands love, dance, travel, curl up together, climb, roam around different worlds.
Namasya – Shantala Shivalingappa
In the different traditional Indian dances, hands play a highly codified, frequently narrative role that is rooted in a sacred, ancestral art. In the Odissi, one of these dances, there are 67 different hand positions. Decorated in detail, they deliver the melody, just like feet deliver the rhythm.Shantala Shivalingappa, a kuchipundi dancer, transposes her knowledge of traditional dance to contemporary dance.
Dans Namasya, she proposes 4 solos, choreographed in collaboration with Ushio Amagatsu, Pina Bausch and her own mother Savitry Nair. In each solo, she becomes aware of the vital role of the hands and, as such, places emphasis on them as dance incentives. Determined, strong, serious, light, subtle and gracious, her hands lead the way and prompt the rest of her body to follow suit.
In more depth
PEJU, Pierre. Enfance obscure. Paris : Gallimard, impr. 2011. 371 p. (Haute enfance).
PLOUVIER, Jean-Luc (dir.), ADOLPHE, Jean-Marc, IMBAULT, Charlotte. « Thierry de Mey », in Mouvement, n°59, 2011, p. 8.
Dance company website
Up and Overt It / Suzanne Cleary & Peter Harding [en ligne]. Up and Overt It, dernière mise à jour 2017. Disponible sur : http://upandoverit.com/
After years in dance-studies, at the Conservatoire d'Avignon, then at the National Center of Contemporary Dance of Angers, Julie Charrier is moving towards the production of documentary films and live performances captations mainly centered around contemporary dance for many production companies. As a consultant, then editorialist, she participated in the birth and development of Numeridanse.tv. She coordinates for the ACCN and the Ministry of Culture, delegation to dance, the digitization of the French choreographic heritage. She is responsible for the artistic direction and production of the 360 "Histoires d'espaces" collection, which questions the new possibilities that virtual reality offers to live performance.
Sélection des extraits
Maison de la Danse
Le Parcours « Danses de mains » a pu voir le jour grâce au soutien du Secrétariat général du Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication - Service de la Coordination des politiques Culturelles et de l'Innovation (SCPCI)