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Strange works

2018 - Director : Plasson, Fabien

Choreographer(s) : Nikolaïs, Alwin (United States) Chopinot, Régine (France) Robbe, Hervé (France) Brown, Trisha (United States) Larrieu, Daniel (France) Charmatz, Boris (France) Bourgeois, Yoann (France) Nadj, Josef (Hungary) Petton, Luc (France)

en fr


Nikolaïs, Alwin (United States)



Chopinot, Régine (France)



Brown, Trisha (France)


La Danseuse malade

Charmatz, Boris (France)



Bourgeois, Yoann (France)


Les Corbeaux

Nadj, Josef (France)


The spectator's moment (2015): Luc Petton

Petton, Luc (France)

Strange works

2018 - Director : Plasson, Fabien

Choreographer(s) : Nikolaïs, Alwin (United States) Chopinot, Régine (France) Robbe, Hervé (France) Brown, Trisha (United States) Larrieu, Daniel (France) Charmatz, Boris (France) Bourgeois, Yoann (France) Nadj, Josef (Hungary) Petton, Luc (France)

Author : Centre national de la danse

en fr


 A dance performance generally unites dancers and spectators using music, lights, costumes and stage design. Other elements can be added: musicians, video, interactive technologies, text, visual installations etc. In the tradition of the avant-garde movement of the 1920s and the American dance of the 1960s, many contemporary choreographers reinvent the concept of the performance itself and that of representation while playing with their various components. They try out new relationships with the stage, question many elements of the performance, and immerse themselves in new practices. For the last forty years or so, the borders of what is “dance” have been continually pushed back, a phenomenon which can also be seen in the other arts. “Strange performances” appear.



Crucible - Alwin Nikolaïs

The choreographer Alwin Nikolaïs frequently created stage devices which allowed the visual dimension of dance to be renewed. In Crucible, the spectator only sees part of the body of the dancers which is reflected in a horizontally placed mirror. A finger redoubled by its reflection thus becomes a strange form, as does an arm or a leg. Multiple creatures that come to life, interact and create a crazy world now emerge. The performance exists on the fringes of dance, around the mirror plays so popular in the Renaissance era and kinetic art.

KOK - Régine Chopinot

This piece was inspired by the world of boxing.  The choreographer Régine Chopinot refined her choreographic writing in accordance with the square shape of the boxing ring and its space, which is more restricted than the usual stage space. The choreography is nourished by the movements and positions of boxing in a double parody : that of sport and that of dance.  

Mutating Score - Hervé Robbe

Hervé Robbe imagined Mutating Score as a hybrid choreographic project presented in the form of a device with which the audience interacts. In the performance, the images are manufactured in real time and the spectator is placed inside the device. The actions carried out in “technological real time” question the reality of the dance and the virtual nature of the image. Moreover, everything that happens is subject to variation; the “performance" thus becomes a new presentation, different each time to what came before.

Planes - Trisha Brown

In Planes, the theatre space attempts to become vertical! Three performers traverse the surface of the wall in slow motion, giving the illusion of falling through space explains Trisha Brown in reference to this creation.1 A wall, bored with holes, in effect constitutes the stage space on which a film of aerial images is also projected. Jud Yalkut, director of the film, sought “to design the theatre as vertical tunnel in which the audience is suspended in planes of rows”. Planes shift the perception of spatial reference points by changing how the movement is seen and itspoints of support..   

Waterproof - Daniel Larrieu

In the show Waterproof  by Daniel Larrieu, the dancers move in water, on its surface and at the edge of the pool. Cameras capture what happens under water while the spectators watch a strange performance where the fish pirouettes, the dancer activates his gills and the swirls and eddies of the water have rhythm. In a sense, this choreography takes up and revamps the nautical ballet of the American musicals. Daniel Larrieu says that Waterproof is also “a piece with echoes of war, conflict and combat, here with a liquid element, a manner of breathing, of taking air, of guiding the movement”.  

La Danseuse malade - Boris Charmatz

Based on texts by Tatsumi Hijikata, one of the founders of buto dance, performed on stage but not illustrated, Boris Charmatz imagined with La Danseuse Malade a strange creation where we see the actress Jeanne Balibar lead a A twirling truck whose dancer, follows in a very virtuous way the movements. An astonishing scene in which the container and the contents can be seen simultaneously, and where the strength of Hijikata's writings "leaves us," says Boris Charmatz, "free in the very act of carrying them."

Cavale - Yoann Bourgeois

In Cavale, the circus artist Yoann Bourgeois considers falling, bouncing and flying. Falling is one of the movements that has been developed by contemporary dance.  But when an elastic surface replaces the floor and makes the performer bounce, the fall is prolonged by astonishing suspensions and a resumption of a different verticality. Many choreographic performances call on performers whose physical practice does not deal only with dance – like Yoann Bourgeois, the “acrobat, actor, juggler, dancer, but above all, a player”.

Les Corbeaux - Josef Nadj

In Les Corbeaux, the choreographer Josef Nadj dances, draws, paints and plays with materials. Sometimes, he also makes sounds with the musician Akosh Szelevényi. The two performers are inspired by ravens in a performance where the physical dimension of painting and musical interpretation echothe plastic dimension of the dance. This creation questions tracks, desired or not, human or animal, readable or indecipherable. It is both a dance proposal, a live concert and a multimedia performance.  

La minute du spectateur – Luc Petton

The performers in a dance work are usually dancers, but also pseudo boxers, actors, circus artists, mobile sculptures, a truck etc. They can be also birds – real ones. This is the case with the dancer Luc Petton, a keen ornithologist who in 1999 also choreographed, for karate world championships, his piece Polemos – du duel au duo. He threatens the dancer's dream of flying by confronting it with the reality of the bird. One flies and the other does not; so the dancer becomes the branch, the support and above all the accomplice of the animal. In Confidence des oiseaux, thirty birds dance with four dancers. In Swan, the dance partners are swans. Who knew birds could dance?  



The Centre national de la danse (CN D) is a national art center dedicated to dance. It’s an instititution dependent on the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and devoted to dance in all its aspects: the promotion of shows and choreographers, the dissemination of choreographic culture, artistic creation, and pedagogy.


Extracts selection
Centre national de la danse


Centre national de la danse

Maison de la Danse

The "Strange shows" Parcours was created thanks to the support of the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Culture and Communication - Department for the Coordination of Cultural Policies and Innovation (SCPCI) 

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