When nature leads the dance

Choreographers draw their inspiration from our relationship with the natural elements, the universe, or the environment … Four shows testify to this trend at Rencontres de Seine-Saint-Denis and at the June events.

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) danced against the ocean. Anna Halperin (1920-2021) healed the land through collective rituals known as planet dance 1 ; Kristen Coyroud has made walking outdoors a creative process. around xxAnd Century, landscapes, flora and fauna inspired western dancers and choreographers. It all began in Monte Veretta, the hill in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland, where it was founded, around In the 1900s, pre-hippies were directed by, among others, Rudolph Laban and Mary Wigmann, which was based on free love, connection with nature, and liberation through dance. Since 2010, while global warming, the collapse of biodiversity and various types of pollution have made the environmental question of paramount importance, new relationships have emerged between artists and what is commonly called “nature”. Immersion in wild places, questioning the place of humans in the world, reshaping the relationship with living rituals and “magical”: artists imagine different forms of dialogue with ecosystems, sometimes as poetic as philosophical or political.

Choreographer, dancer since the 80s, Sylvain Proninck has aspired, since 2017, to dance in the open air, initially in village squares. Little by little, the project grew until, after two years, it became a dancing crossing of the Eurasian continent, on foot and by train, from Finistère to Sakhalin Island, in the far east of Russia, with a length of 48And Parallel, which will give its title to the creation drawn from this experience. “I had the impression that my body was dissipating into my environment like a mist, and that it could turn into a stream, or a pebble, or an insect. Slow travel keeps you in touch with the landscape,” Says Sylvain Proenck. During his flight, he sometimes rubs his shoulders with hostile plants and animals. Surprised by the attacks of swarms of insects, he watches with fear the arrival of a bear in Siberia, contrary to the legend of a nourishing and benevolent nature. “Spending a lot of time in nature dictates humility. It was as if she was looking at us and asking us: Who are you?” his last piece, to be in the middle, Immerse yourself in places located in the geographical center (edges, wastelands, Morbihan swamps), in order to highlight the porosity between his body and the landscape.

to Ocean (2020), American choreographer Daniel Linehan plunged into the woods. “I felt like I was entering space It does not belong to me. First, you had to take the time to listen,” He explains. After this show where he summoned the animal part of humans, he called his audience, in Listen here: this forest, To plunge into the woods for a hidden sensory experience: “We are always interacting with other beings. When we breathe, we exchange carbon dioxide with trees; Our food comes from other species, even our bodies are inhabited Bacteria … It is a permanent cooperation with the other. Dancing in a natural setting makes you more aware of this reciprocity. » A way to break the myth of domination and subjugation of man, at the head of the species hierarchy. It is a reflection inspired by famous philosophers who urge a new symbiosis with the living, such as Vinciennes Desperate, Baptiste Morizot or Donna Haraway.

In “Listen Here: This Forest,” Daniel Linehan invites his audience to delve deeper into the woods for a subtle sensory experience.

Danny Williams

These thinkers also fed the thinking of choreographer Marion Cariao and visual artist Magda Kachouch, who Centenary oak Creating a ritual with post-apocalyptic accents. Here, dancing mingles with singing and plastic arts, and they become hybrid creatures thanks to costumes made from recycled materials. A way to connect with ancient knowledge like weaving to confront a ready-to-consumer society. Recreate the magic of the world through imagination. “We wanted to build a shelter to survive in this world, Marion Carrillo explains. but also to transform us into imaginary beings, into imaginary living beings to create our own myths by summoning magic,” Magda Qashoush adds.


In “Chêne Centenaire,” choreographer Marion Cariao and visual artist Magda Kachouch create rituals with post-apocalyptic accents. They’ve become hybrid creatures thanks to costumes made from recycled materials.

Lea Mercier

Magic, specifically, also lives on nebula, by Brazilian-born choreographer Fania Fano. In this solo on a bed of coal, which evokes environmental disaster, you manipulate clay and gold during a shamanic ritual to heal a wasteland. Imbued with spiritual traditions, she imagines patterns of relationship between humans and their environment. “I became successively an animal, a plant, and a machine, in this horizontal logic of Amerindian cosmology where spirits live in plants or stones. I wanted to re-create a world where all things are connected,” She trusts. But beyond mystical imagination, Vanya Vano sees in this open-air room a way to look at the means of producing her creations from another angle: “I wanted to break out of the usual framework of dwellings, which makes us artistic products. I preferred to stick to the cycles of nature.” For her, as for choreographer Jerome Bell, who refuses to fly on environmental grounds, re-examining connections with nature also forces us to rethink the ecosystem of live performance.

“Being in the middle of the middle”,
by Sylvain Proenck. May 28, 4 p.m., Parc de la Poudrerie, allée Eugène-Burlot, 93 Vaujours. free entry. Until June 18 at Rencontres chorégraphiques de Seine-St-Denis.01 55 82 08 08. 0-12 €.
“Listen here: this forest”, by Daniel Linehan. May 30, 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., in the Bois de Vincennes.
“nebula”, by Vanya Fano. June 7, 7:30 p.m., Paris Atelier. June 8, 8 p.m., at
The Bois de Vincennes.
Centennial Oak Marion Cariao and Magda Kashush. June 9, 7:30 p.m., Paris Atelier. June 11, 10:30 p.m., in the Bois de Vincennes.
June events. From May 30 to June 18. Atelier de Paris, Cartoucherie, 2, route du Champ-de-Maneuver, 12And. 01 41 74 17 07 20. 10 euros.

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