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Summer in the City

- Paris Quartier d’Eté

by lili

July-August, 2004 -- Paris

« Paris Quartier d’Eté » is a festival that offers a variety of shows: dance, music, theatre, circus and it takes place each year between July 14th and August 15th. During this period, all the public theatres in Paris are closed and the only way to see dance is to visit “Paris Quartier d’Eté”. In fact, from June onwards, the focus of the dance season moves from Paris to the festivals in the south of France: Uzes, Montpellier, Avignon and Aix en Provence.

This year “Paris Quartier d’Eté” scheduled five dance programmes, all performed outdoors in the Jardin des Tuileries except “le vif du sujet” which was staged at the Arènes de Montmartre:

"Two thousand and three" - Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genêve / Gilles Jobin, 15-17 July

"City of Twist", "Broken Man" and "Strange Attractors (part II)" - Stephen Petronio, 20-23 July

"Projet de la matière" - Odile Duboc, 26-28 July

"Solo" - Philippe Decouflé, 31 july-2 August

"Le Vif du Sujet" 12,13 and 14 August

first solo : choreographer : Daniel Larrieu / Dancer : Julie Dossavi
second solo : choreographer : Robyn Orlin / Dancer : Sophia Kossoko

There were also a few free dance events called “danse nomade” taking place in the streets or parks.

I saw three of these programmes: “Two thousand and three”, “Projet de la matière” and “Solo”. I liked “Two thousand and three” very much; it’s a rare example of a successful creation by a modern choreographer for a neoclassical company. I had never seen a piece by Gilles Jobin before and this was a really interesting way to discover his work and made me want to see other pieces, choreographed for his own company. “Two thousand and three” is about touch, the contact between two skins, an exploration of the different ways a body can touch another one. The touch can be soft or strong, sweet or tough, kind or aggressive, slow or quick.

During the entire performance, all the dancers remain on stage with great quality of movement and expressive power. Jobin is Swiss and rather fashionable at present, as his last 3 pieces were shown this summer at Montpellier Danse, the largest annual dance festival in France. It was interesting to see a modern piece with so many dancers. Indeed, Jobin accepted the commission from Ballet du Grand-Théatre de Geneve in order to work on a larger scale than would be possible with his own small company and he certainly made the most of the opportunity.

“Projet de la matière” was created in 1993 for nine dancers by the French choreographer Odile Duboc and she decided to revive this piece a decade after its première. “Projet de la matière” means “matter project” or “matter plan” and the starting point of the choreographer was to study how movement is affected by matter, by the material. For example, at the beginning of the piece, there is a huge air cushion on stage with a dancer moving on the top and this interaction dictates a different approach and, as a result, the dancer finds new and unusual ways of moving. This piece is strange and enigmatic and I found this very interesting, as you never really know what is happening and what will occur next.

Last, but not least, I saw “Solo” choreographed and performed by Philippe Decouflé, which was full of this artist’s usual video tricks and jokes. I found it rather shallow and superficial, but it’s a good entertainment and amusing. Perhaps Decouflé is a victim of his own success, as people expect funny things from him and don’t want to see other facets of his art. “Solo” is scheduled at London's Dance Umbrella 2004.

Edited by Stuart Sweeney

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