CriticalDance Forum

Marie Chouinard
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Apr 23, 2000 11:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Marie Chouinard

A preview of NY performances of the work of Marie Chouinard. We are told, 'During her 22-year dance career, Ms. Chouinard has been called everything from "the high priestess of choreographic shock" and "a sorceress" to "the praying mantis in the hothouse of Quebec dance."'

Not an article for the tender-minded!

Later- the link that was included here has been deleted as it was no longer live.

<small>[ 24 March 2003, 11:02 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed May 17, 2000 11:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

Deborah Jowitt is intrigued by the extraordinary Marie Chouinard in this round-up article tha appears elsewhere on the site. We are told that, 'Chouinard builds powerful art from the tension between transgressiveness and artful structures.'

Author:  Marie [ Tue Jan 16, 2001 12:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

Compagnie Marie Chouinard presented Les Solos 1978-1998 in Calgary to packed houses last weekend. This retrospective is such a strong show, it blew me away when I saw it almost two years ago. IMHO Marie Chouinard is one of Canada's finest contemporary choreographers, (even enough for cynical me to forgive her forays into earthy, spirit, hippy stuff) especially in her solo work.

From the Globe and Mail, Jan 15/01:

"Chouinard has been aptly described as a modern-day medicine woman or priestess. While her art employs contemporary effects such as strobe lights and ear-assaulting industrial noise, its purpose seems ancient and primal."

Author:  trina [ Tue Jan 16, 2001 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

That first photo is a bit scary--in a good way! Is that a cymbal behind her? What's her work like--anyone up for describing it?

Author:  Marie [ Wed Jan 17, 2001 5:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

Ok, I'll try...<BR>Very theatrical, uses dialogue and props. Her later works are more technical in terms of movement but she doesn't stick to codified movement particularly. In her solo work she is extremely clear, it gets a little muddy with larger groups. Her pieces always seem like vignettes to me, they are often humorous but there's a darkness to the humuor that balances her work. There's an intensity to the movement, it's quite physically demanding, definitely not soft stuff. She has tackled a lot of taboo subjects in quirky ways that are completely unexpected and disarming, yet entertaining, stuff like female masturbation, urination, religion, the list goes on.

Author:  trina [ Wed Jan 17, 2001 10:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

Have you heard of Karen Finley? An american performance artist whose NEA grant was revoked due to "obscenity". That M. Chouinard photo and your description reminded me of Ms. Finley.

Author:  Marie [ Thu Jan 18, 2001 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

I've heard of Finley, but I've only read about her, I've never seen her work. I get the sense that she is more of a peformance artist than Chouinard, who I would classify as a dance artist (because you know we strive to classify here at CD, lol).<BR>Chouinard early works were definitely more shocking, I guess it had something to do with it being the 70's...

Author:  Marie [ Thu Oct 04, 2001 6:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

Susi Lovell - The Gazette, 10.04.01:

Sparks fly on stage

Chouinard's brave physicality ignites festival

Chouinard's style is highly unusual and both visually and kinetically exciting: primal, pagan, exotic, with a surprisingly balletic flavour. She keeps all the body in motion. The torso ripples like a serpent while, simultaneously, arms undulate and legs kick out.

The link that was here is no longer active.

Author:  Marie [ Thu Oct 04, 2001 12:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard


Compagnie Marie Chouinard [CANADA]

Le Cri du monde and 24 Préludes de Chopin Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts

Festival International de Nouvelle Danse
Choreography : Marie Chouinard Performed by : Simon Alari, Kirsten Andersen, Elijah Brown, Julio Cesar Hong, SandrineLafond, Carla Maruca, Lucie Mongrain, Luciane Pinto, Isabelle Poirier, Carole Prieur, James Viveiros <P>Music: Louis Dufort (Le Cri du monde), Frédéric Chopin (Les 24 préludes de Chopin)

Marie Chouinard has an innate gift for revealing the sacred and the profane through movement. I am always surprised that someone can choreograph such powerful and contemporary work in which the thrust of the movement comes from the upper body, using a high center which is typical of ballet. Particularly since much of the canon of modern choreography has been predicated on the works of the likes of Martha Graham who pioneered moving from the pelvis, using a low center (the contraction), to speak with a commanding, and often fierce, voice. And Chouinard's choreography sometimes moves to the floor but could never be considered floor-work or contact, an aspect of contemporary dance that delineates modern movement from the classical, suggesting a kind of intensity and force from putting ones full weight into the ground instead of moving up and away from it. Yet there is nothing weightless or insubstantial about her work.

In Chouinard's 24 Préludes de Chopin her dancers are presented as little savages, exuding irreverence with short black mowhawks attached to their heads. They wear see through black leotards and shorts with strategic strips of black tape placed across their chests and crotches. A barrage of flicking hands opens her piece, a mischievous dialogue with the music of Chopin.

Chouinard has a distinct style in which the dancers spin and move swiftly on demi-pointe, limbs bent and hands poking and proding like sharp beaks. High-speed jumps are sudden and sharp, with little or no preparation. Her work recalls Nijinksy at times in the two-dimensionality of some of the movements in profile. The faces that the performers make are trademark Chouinard, screwed up and twisted like lunatics or mouths and eyes wide open in an expression of fury.

Le Cri du monde is all about the latter, an enraged howl at the cosmos. It's a raw but articulate piece that shifts between solos, duets and group work. The musical score vibrates like the dancers on stage, pulsing as if it exists in a time without end. The climax is an apocalyptic moment, where the dancers release all of their energy into a deafening roar. It's a primal unleashing of physical tension and mental anguish.

In an art form that is rife with muddied intention, it is Chouinard's substantial choreographic facility that allows her to explore abstract subjects with such visceral clarity. Many choreographers excel at presenting movement that is beautiful or virtuousic, and others bring theatricality to contemporary dance, but few can do both with the skill of Marie Chouinard.

Author:  wroginski [ Thu Oct 04, 2001 12:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

This is mostly toward Marie, as I too saw Les Solos about 2 years ago. I wouldn't say she tackled urination and masturbation as much as presented it. A least one of the solos, with the dancer glued to a chair, was boring I believe. So was the bell clapper piece. Quite a few people left the urination piece instantly---more shortly later. I saw it at the Joyce and there was an unusually large French and Canadian contingent that night (week). They gave thunderous applause while the regular crowd was more subdued. I enjoyed the show --- but would likely not go again---didn't buy tickets for this year. I thought her movement unchallenging for dancers---more like pantomine or performance art than dance.

Author:  Marie [ Thu Oct 04, 2001 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

I think it's important to recognize when some of the solos were created, it's a twenty year span of work, and Chouinard has stated herself that they don't provoke the way they did at one time. What seemed risky in the late 70's doesn't read the same way now. (I love the bell clapper piece, but each to their own...)<BR>In my opinion, her choreography for the company has evolved considerably and is a lot more technical than what she choreographed for herself as a solo artist over the past 23 years. <p>[This message has been edited by Marie (edited October 04, 2001).]

Author:  Marie [ Sat Feb 16, 2002 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

VICTOR SWOBODA - Montreal Gazette, February 16, 2002:
Chouinard keeps pushing physical limit

Despite her reputation, Chouinard does not consider herself an iconoclast or erotic dancemaker, a view she admitted might not be shared by her admirers and dance critics.
This link is no longer active

<small>[ 24 March 2003, 11:04 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Marie [ Thu Jun 13, 2002 5:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

Philip Szporer - Hour Magazine, 2002/06/13:<BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Alone at the top <BR>Marie Chouinard makes a triumphant return to the solo form</B><P>Two solos presented by choreographer Marie Chouinard at the Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa hypnotized and invigorated audiences. The internationally acclaimed dance artist has returned to the solo form once again after several years doing group pieces for her company. The artistry in evidence is bold and varied.<BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><B>more...</B><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Marie (edited June 13, 2002).]

Author:  Malcolm Tay [ Fri Jun 21, 2002 6:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

Compagnie Marie Chouinard at the 2002 Singapore Arts Festival (18-19 June), presenting Les 24 Préludes de Chopin and Le Cri du monde. While I didn't really "get" the latter, I loved watching the former. Review in The Business Times, Singapore:

June 21, 2002
Boldly going where few dare

Marie Chouinard's choreography has dramatic, emotive tonality

By Cheah Ui-hoon

WHETHER choreographer Marie Chouinard's work elicits a positive or negative response from the viewer, it elicits a response - period. The most suitable adjective to describe her double bill programme - Les 24 Preludes de Chopin and Le Cri du Monde - is 'bold'.

Chouinard crafted simple but theatrical choreography in Les Preludes. But bolder still was her attempt to sculpt a dark, jittery work around 40 minutes of mere oral sounds and emissions in Le Cri du Monde. Not to mention the daring costuming, or lack thereof, which earned it an R(A) rating from the powers-that-be.
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<small>[ 24 March 2003, 11:06 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Malcolm Tay [ Thu Jun 27, 2002 2:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Marie Chouinard

Review in The Straits Times:

Like a kick in the groin
By Ong Soh Chin

THOSE who went to Compagnie Marie Chouinard last night expecting a night of R(A) titillation certainly went away with their senses reeling.

After a slew of pretty dance acts at this year's Arts Festival, including the charming crowd-pleaser, Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu's Le Jardin De Io Io Ito Ito, Marie Chouinard's group was like a well-deserved kick in the groin.

The evening started out pleasantly and innocuously enough with the nine dancers in the troupe giving their spirited interpretation of Chopin's 24 Preludes.
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<small>[ 24 March 2003, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

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