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Come rain, wind, or snow, the dance goes on. By night, in an abandoned space of tarmac, stone or concrete. Boris Charmatz’s intensely physical, urban night dance constitutes a radical challenge to the established order.
The night dance is insistent, vitally important: it must take place, waiting impatiently for sunset (because this is a wilfully clandestine act, too). The minimal apparatus reflects its yearning for freedom: just a handful of spotlights and amps, and the dancers’ bodies do the rest, performing quick-fire movements in direct contact with the ground, the urban fabric. Boris Charmatz’s work engages with the surrounding space, gesture, and the zeitgeist itself.
The intensity of the dance is underpinned by a soundtrack of noise, fragmented voices, and verbal improvisations by the performers as the counter-shot to the performance, evoking the art of political caricature, humour and a sense of danger. Part funeral eulogy, part act of resistance, for choreographer Boris Charmatz (director of the musée de la Danse in Rennes) danse de nuit is also a resonant exploration of his own artistic practice in the contemporary scene.
Far from the comfort of the theatre, the show’s six performers adapt to new and unfamiliar urban settings: a disused museum courtyard, an abandoned industrial site overgrown with weeds, a school yard… Boris Charmatz invites the audience to discover a new, truant dance form, presented as an urgent necessity. danse de nuit is part of New Settings #6 from the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, which has supported its production and staging across Paris and the Paris region (at the Usine Babcock in La Courneuve, at the Louvre and the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts), with the Festival d’Automne à Paris.
As part of the Festival d’Automne
Usine Babcock, La Courneuve (with MC 93) • Friday, October 7 to Sunday, October 9, 2016. 8.30 p.m. (Friday and Saturday); Sunday 7 p.m.
École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris • Wednesday, October 12 and Thursday, October 13, 2016, 8 p.m.
Musée du Louvre, Cour Lefuel (with the Théâtre de la Ville de Paris) • From Wednesday, October 19 to Sunday, October 23, 2016. 7.30 p.m. (Wednesday to Friday); 7.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Duration, 40 min
Choreography Boris Charmatz
Performers Ashley Chen, Julien Gallée-Ferré, Peggy Grelat-Dupont, Mani A. Mungai, Jolie Ngemi, Marlène Saldana • alternating with Olga Dukhovnaya, Frank Willens
Lighting Yves Godin
Sound installation Perig Menez
Vocal work Dalila Khatir
Technical direction Fabrice Le Fur
Costumes Jean-Paul Lespagnard
Dresser Marion Regnier
Rehearsal director (touring) Magali Caillet-Gajan
Production Sandra Neuveut, Martina Hochmuth, Amélie-Anne Chapelain
Production: Musée de la Danse/Centre Chorégraphique National de Rennes et de Bretagne – Direction: Boris Charmatz. Partnership sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Brittany), the City of Rennes, the Brittany Regional Council and the Departmental Council for Ille-et-Vilaine. The Institut Français supports international tours of works originated at the Musée de la Danse. • With the support of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of the New Settings #6 • Co-production: Théâtre National de Bretagne-Rennes, Théâtre de la Ville & Festival d’Automne, Paris, Bâtie-Festival Geneva, Holland Festival-Amsterdam, Kampnagel-Hamburg, Sadler’s Wells London, Taipei Performing Arts Center • With thanks to Rosas, WIELS Centre d'Art Contemporain (Brussels).