Marie Chouinard
Sadler’s Wells
21, 22 June 2016

 

 

 

 

This was the UK premiere for the Compagnie Marie Chouinard from Quebec.  She started with Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge – a title that means nothing in English but perhaps has more resonance in French.  Happily the work was far more exciting than the title.  Chouinard is an inventive and challenging choreographer whose style is dangerous and provocative.  The first ballet explores the idea of the grotesque.  Her team,  in navy practice-gear, take on the roles of walking in a spastic way.  The theme appears to be disability.   Chouinard admirably breaks political correctness by posing serious questions about the way ‘abnormality’ is inhabited and perceived by the self and others, while deconstructing notions of ‘the beautiful dancer’ with a modern take inspired by a lineage from Oskar Schlemmer to Diane Arbus.  Her use of a simple black sweater to hide and reveal the face is inventive and witty.  There is a parallel theme around gender politics and androgyny which is more predictable.  However the dominant theme is the tension between spasticity and plasticity of movement, intelligence and social conditioning which is very fine indeed.

The second dance piece is Henri Michaux-Mouvements.  It is a homage to the Belgian-born French artist (1899-1994).  Here she really uses total theatre as the dancers, first individually, and later in groups, interpret the 64 pages of Michaux’ ink-jet multi-form figures.  This is a wildly exciting game that the audience shares with the highly-skilled ensemble.  It is has a hugely enjoyable sense of the absurd and she stimulates us to translate these images as if we are individually involved in decoding a Rorasch test.  Chouinard has one of her dancers speaking Michaux’ poetry in French.  This is a fine introduction to his abusrdism however at the end of the ballet, there is more text in English and, what is teasing in French is tedious in English.  The cultural gaps are too wide for the poetry to be literally translated.  In the final moments of the dance, Chouinard uses strobe which is a huge disappointment.  Strobe is a cliché and always feels like an easy get-out when the choreographer runs out of ideas.  She should cut this and keep the text in French to sustain the brilliance of her original ideas.

Julia Pascal © 2016.

Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge
Henri-Michaux-Movements. Dancer - Carol Prieur
 Henri-Michaux-Movements, Dancer - Carol Prieur
Henri-Michaux-Movements, Dancer - Lucy May
Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge
Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge
Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge
Soft virtuosity, Dancer - Megan Walbaum
Soft virtuosity,  Dancer - Valeria Gallucio
Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge

This is a link and list to all the shows the company have coming up:

http://www.mariechouinard.com

July 17 To 20 And 22-23, 2016
Soft Virtuosity, Still Humid, On The Edge
Festival d’Avignon, France
Tickets

August 4 And 5, 2016
Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden Of Earthly Delights
Theaterfestival Boulevard, Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
Tickets (Not Available)

August 8 And 10, 2016
Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden Of Earthly Delights
Impulstanz, Vienna, Austria
Tickets

August 14, 2016
Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden Of Earthly Delights
Operaestate Festival Veneto, Bassano Del Grappa, Italy
Tickets

August 27 And 28, 2016
24 Preludes By Chopin And The Rite Of Spring
Beijing New Dance Festival, China
Tickets (Not Available)

September 2 And 3, 2016
24 Preludes By Chopin And The Rite Of Spring
Da Ning Theatre, Shangai, China
Tickets (Not Available)

September 8 And 9, 2016
24 Preludes By Chopin And The Rite Of Spring
Xi’an Silk Road Festival, China
Tickets (Not Available)

September 24, 2016
24 Preludes By Chopin And The Rite Of Spring
Festival Cadences, Arcachon, France
Tickets (Not Available)

September 29 And 30, 2016
Étude No 1 And Henri Michaux : Mouvements
Sardegna Teatro, Cagliari, Italy
Tickets (Not Available)
October 4 And 5, 2016
Le Cri Du Monde And The Rite Of Spring
Milanoltre, Milan, Italy
Tickets (Not Available)

October 7, 2016
Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden Of Earthly Delights
Milanoltre, Milan, Italy
Tickets (Not Available)

October 8 And 9, 2016
Gymnopédies And Henri Michaux : Mouvements
Milanoltre, Milan, Italy
Tickets (Not Available)

October 14, 2016
Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden Of Earthly Delights
Cultuurcentrum, Bruges, Belgium
Tickets

November 1, 2016
Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden Of Earthly Delights
Grand Théâtre De Québec, Canada
Tickets