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Qu’est-ce qui nous arrive ?!? (New Settings 2013)

Capturing movement

Choreographer Mathilde Monnier and draughtsman François Olislaeger take to the stage, capturing the memory of dance. Both are virtuoso exponents of ‘motion capture’ – one through the medium of dance, the other line drawing. Together, they bring a wickedly entertaining ‘sketchbook’ to life. 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Qu’est-ce qui nous arrive ?!? (New Settings 2013)
© Marc Coudrais

Twenty men and women with no previous experience are gathered on stage by Mathilde Monnier, to talk about their memories of dance. In nightclubs, at teenage parties, a formal ball or a school fête – who has not danced at some time in their lives? So many moments frozen in time, so many piquant memories, animated by draughtsman François Olislaeger, in a cavalcade of enchanted ‘bubbles.’

The pair work in perfect harmony – she uses drawings to anticipate her choreography, he sketches the scene live on stage – bringing together the art of dance (the gesture unfurled) and the art of drawing (gesture captured in line). The artist interacts with the performers, projecting silhouettes, poses and landscapes against the backdrop, playing with the pictorial gesture live, drawing on everything from comic-book art to print-making. After Christine Angot, Philippe Katerine, Heiner Goebbels and Rodolphe Burger, an unexpected guest gets their own ‘invitation to the dance.’ Qu’est-ce qui nous arrive ?!? is a delightful short piece, and a vibrant contribution to the New Settings programme, bringing two seemingly inimical disciplines together onstage for the first time.

The warm, entertaining show makes comic books dance and fixes bodies in motion. It takes its title from the theatre of Julian Beck, delivering a witty lesson on the possibilities of representation.  Qu’est-ce qui nous arrive? (‘What’s happening to us ?!’) asks the high priest of meta-theatre. Nothing serious, reply the woman choreographer and the man with the pencil. Just a fleeting moment of grace.

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23-24 June 2013: creation at the Théâtre de l’Agora – Festival Montpellier Danse

26-28 July 2013: Festival Impulstanz, Vienna (Austria)

6 November 2013: Théâtre Jean Alary, Carcassonne, as part of the Montpellier Danse Festival in Languedoc-Roussillon 2013-2014

14, 15, 16 and 17 November 2013: Théâtre de la Cité internationale, Paris, as part of the New Settings programme of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès

15-16 March 2014: La Ferme du Buisson – scène nationale de Marne-la-Vallée

16 May 2014: La Cigalière, Sérignan



Conception Mathilde Monnier and François Olislaeger
Choreography Mathilde Monnier
Drawings François Olislaeger
Scenography Annie Tolleter
Artistic assistants Thibaut Kaiser and Annie Tolleter
Choreographer assistant I-Fang Lin
Rendition work Enora Rivière
Sound design Olivier Renouf
Lights and technical management Thierry Cabrera
With 15 - 20 amateurs

Production Centre chorégraphique national de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon
With the support of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of its New Settings programme
Coproduction festival Montpellier Danse 2013, La Ferme du Buisson – scène nationale de Marne-la-Vallée