Saint-Georges à Aulnay
Saint-Georges à Aulnay
Created on 8 and 9 November 1991 at La Coursive in La Rochelle, “Saint-Georges” is a collective work inspired by the research of the art historian Jurgis Baltrusaitis (1903-1988) on Romanesque art, undertaken in the 1930s. His sketches that reproduced the sculpted ornaments of Romanesque buildings enchanted Régine Chopinot who discovered them whilst she was creating “ANA” (1990) and studying the work of the learned Lithuanian on anamorphosis. This work, included in the repertoire of the Centre chorégraphique national de Poitou-Charentes (Poitou-Charentes National Choreography Centre) in La Rochelle, which she has directed since 1986, is flaunted by the choreographer as a return to smaller-scale theatres, after the superproduction tours of “Rossignol”, “K.O.K” and “ANA” which could only be performed in gymnasiums or sports halls due to the scale of their stage-sets.
“In his work “Formations, déformations: la stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane”, J. Baltrusaitis attempts to draw parallels between the monumental Romanesque ornament and the original movement” . Régine Chopinot captures these reflections on the life of forms and retains “the rhythm, the fear of emptiness and the metamorphosis of the subject” . On a mosaic depiction of St Georges fighting the dragon, designed by Zinn Atmane and that covers the stage, twelve performers, alone, as a duo, a trio or a group, sketch, as such, the movements behind the forms portrayed in Romanesque sculpture, backed by a naturalistic sound composition created by André Serre (source and animal noises), interspersed with vocal music interpreted by the Mora Vocis Ensemble. Gérard Boucher's lighting intensifies the coloured costumes made by Jean Paul Gaultier to “dissolve boundaries – between animal and human, between kingdoms and species”  fomented by the interstitial spaces at work in the Romanesque sculpture.
This production that lasts a little over an hour comprises four sequences, described by Régine Chopinot in her introduction in the performance creation dossier: “The “one-white-eye” effigy dwells in its framed-environment, feet within, the African navel, whereas the acrobat-man enters as best he can into the square: the body distorts itself to fit the requirements of the environment — Solo The ornament, like a frieze, runs, circulates, intertwines, losing track, never-ending, weaves, to the point of swallowing fragments of man — Together Arms distorted reaching out to the other, creating corporal lines that become abstract as a result of the geometry — Duo The triplets with a surgeon's cap perpetually moving: hip, head, forearm stuck together. Just imagine the life-cycle triggered by the movement of the elbow of the man on the left in the bent knee of the other on the right of the capital — Trio” 
For the first time ever, in “Saint-Georges”, Régine Chopinot marked the beginning of a new direction in her work by calling upon her dancers to improvise greatly. Working hand-in-hand with Michel Alibert, renowned yoga instructor, she introduced yoga in her troupe training programme, a means for her to provide her performers with the keys to “throw [themselves] into the Romanesque bas reliefs, not as “mechanical shapes” but as “energetic forms” to be tried and tested” . Many critiques would see in “Saint-Georges” the end of the theatricality, which they had ended up reproaching R. Chopinot, and would celebrate its destitution.
In 1992, the choreographer made a video adaptation of her production where she interspersed the choreography with sketches by J. Baltrusaitis and views of the ornamental sculpture of the church of Saint Pierre in Aulnay de Saintonge, considered as a jewel of Romanesque style.
 O. Saillard (dir.), “Jean Paul Gaultier, Régine Chopinot: le defile”, Paris: Les arts décoratifs, 2007, p.136.
 O. Saillard (dir.), op. cit., p.136.
 R. Chopinot, quoted in H. Gauville, “Les dessous d'Ana”, Libération, 13 November 1990.
 R. Chopinot, “Chopinot danse St Georges”, Creation dossier, Centre chorégraphique national de Poitou-Charentes (Poitou-Charentes National Choreography Centre), La Rochelle, 1991.
 M. Alibert, “Yoga et santé énergétique”, Les Cahiers de Présence et d'Esprit, No.5, 2004, p.33
Updating: March 2012
Régine Chopinot, born in 1952 in Fort-de-l'Eau (today known as Bordj El Kiffan), in Algeria, was attracted to choreographic art from early childhood. After studying classical dance, she discovered contemporary dance with Marie Zighera in 1974. She moved to Lyon where she founded her first company in 1978, the Compagnie du Grèbe, which included dancers, actors and musicians. Here, she created her first choreographies. Three years later, she was awarded second prize in the Concours chorégraphique international de Bagnolet (Bagnolet International Choreographic Contest) for “Halley's Comet” (1981), later known as “Appel d'air”. Her next pieces of work “Délices” (Delights) and “Via”, introduced other media including the cinema to the world of dance. In 1983 with “Délices”, Régine Chopinot began her longstanding partnership with the fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, which would characterize the period, which included works such as “Le Défilé” (The Fashion show) (1985), “K.O.K.” (1988), “ANA” (1990), “Saint Georges” (1991) and “Façade” (1993). In 1986, Régine Chopinot was appointed director of the Centre chorégraphique national de Poitou-Charentes (Poitou-Charentes National Choreography Centre) in La Rochelle (where she succeeded Jacques Garnier and Brigitte Lefèvre's Théâtre du Silence), which went on to become the Ballet Atlantique-Régine Chopinot (BARC), in 1993. Régine Chopinot made a myriad of artistic encounters: from visual artists like Andy Goldsworthy, Jean Le Gac and Jean Michel Bruyère, to musicians such as Tôn-Thât Tiêt and Bernard Lubat.
At the beginning of the 90s, she moved away from – according to her own expression – “ultra-light spaces” in which, at a young age, she had become acknowledged, in particular through her partnership with Jean Paul Gaultier. She then became fascinated with experimenting on confronting contemporary dance with natural elements and rhythms and on testing age-old, complex body sciences and practices, such as yoga. In 1999, as part of “associate artists”, Régine Chopinot invited three figures from the world of contemporary dance to partner with her for three years on her artistic project: Françoise Dupuy, Dominique Dupuy and Sophie Lessard joined the BARC's troupe of permanent dancers and consultants-researchers, as performers, pedagogues and choreographers.
In 2002, she initiated the “triptyque de la Fin des Temps” (Triptych of the End of Time), a long questioning of choreographic writing and creation subsequent to her creation of a voluntary state of crisis of general notions of time, of memory and of construction. “Chair-obscur”, her first chapter, focused on erasing the past, the memory, whilst “WHA” was based on the disappearance of the future. “O.C.C.C.” dealt with the “time that's left”, with what is left to be done, with what can still be done, in that simple, yet essential spot called performance. In 2008, “Cornucopiae”, the last work created within the Institution, concluded the end of a form of performance and opened the doors to another approach to sensorial perception.
Concurrently to her choreographic work, Régine Chopinot worked, as a performer, with other artists that she was close to: Alain Buffard (“Wall dancin' - Wall fuckin'”, 2003; “Mauvais Genre”, 2004), Steven Cohen (“I wouldn't be seen dead in that!”, 2003). In addition, she trained and directed Vietnamese dancers as part of a partnership with the Vietnam Higher School of Dance and the Hanoi Ballet-Opera (“Anh Mat”, 2002; “Giap Than”, 2004). In 2008, the choreographer left the CCN in La Rochelle and created the Cornucopiae - the independent dance Company, a new structure that would, henceforth, harbour creation and repertoire, all the works of Régine Chopinot. In 2010, she chose to live and work in Toulon, by its port.
Since 2009, Régine Chopinot has been venturing, questioning and intensifying her quest for the body in movement linked to the strength of the spoken word, through cultures organized by and on oral transmission, in New Caledonia, New Zealand and Japan. These last three years have been punctuated by a myriad of artistic creations: choreographies and films resulting from artistic In Situ experiences were created as part of the South Pacific Project. A privileged relationship initiated in 2009 with the Du Wetr Group (Drehu/Lifou) bore its fruits with the creation of “Very Wetr!”at the Avignon Festival in July 2012 and went on to be reproduced at the Centre national de la danse (National Centre for Dance) in February 2013.
Last update : March 2012
Saint-Georges à Aulnay
Choreography : Régine Chopinot
Interpretation : John Bateman, Jeannette Carol Brooks, Boris Charmatz, Régine Chopinot, Philippe Combes, Georgette Louison Kala-Lobe, Joseph Lennon, Samuel Letellier, Francis Mervyn, Marianne Rachmuhl, Lin-Guang Song, Eric Ughetto
Original music : Concept musical Cyril de Turckheim, Régine Chopinot - Compositeur et musicologue Anne-Marie Deschamps
Additionnal music : Musique enregistrée Ensemble Mora Vocis (Monique Avril, Pierrick Bachelin, Rebecca Bain, Richard Costa, Annie Paris, Françoise Slavick)
Lights : Gérard Boucher
Costumes : Jean Paul Gaultier
Settings : Zinn Atmane - Réalisation du décor RTLD et Nestor
Technical direction : Denis Tisseraud
Sound : André Serré, Frédéric Viricel
Duration : 26 minutes
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