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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:49 am ]


Photo by Didier Grappe

Centre Chorégraphique National de Rillieux-la-Pape
Umwelt (UK Premiere)

Sat 22 & Sun 23 October 7.45pm
South Bank Centre: Queen Elizabeth Hall 08701 454 555
Tickets £11 - £17.50
(concs 50% off, limited availability)

Meet the Artist: Sat 22 with Maguy Marin. Free to ticket holders after the performance

Influenced by the work of playwright Samuel Beckett, Maguy Marin has created a work in which the audience is compelled to critique its own reflection.

The performers disappear and reappear on a set comprised of monolithic mirrored slabs which shake and shudder as if caught in a storm. Carrying out a series of actions depicting the innate habits of sex, violence, survival, destruction and waste, Umwelt eloquently depicts a hypnotic and colourful rear-window view of Marin's sense of the human condition.

The soundtrack by Marin's long term collaborator, Denis Mariotte, perfectly complements this exquisite and often humourous hour-long cycle of inherent activity.

‘Ms. Marin’s ingenious brand of dance-theater is never devoid of the pungent image; it has the arrow of insight that

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:59 am ]
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Cathing up on one we missed
Maguy Marin: I predict a (ballet) riot
Will Maguy Marin’s Umwelt raise a ruckus with us Brits, asks Clifford Bishop for The Sunday Times

Only the more half-hearted French hooligans head off to a football match when they’re looking for a fight. The serious troublemakers know that for partisanship, volatility and sheer spite, the best crowds are always found at the theatre, especially if there’s a ballet in town. The very first professional ballerina, a Mlle de la Fontaine, in the 17th century, was so traumatised by her fans that she retired to a nunnery; ever since, the French attitude to dance could best be described as one of robust, if uninvited, audience participation.

Riots have been a traditional response to anything from the cancan to The Rite of Spring. So there was something almost reassuring about the scenes that greeted Maguy Marin’s Umwelt when it premiered last year in Lyons.

click for more

Author:  kurinuku [ Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:55 am ]
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Catherine Diverrès/ Maguy Marin
by SANJOY ROY for the Guardian

Umwelt is like a unflinching, dispassionate glimpse into the void at the heart of our existence. No dance performance has left me more profoundly unsettled.

published: October 25, 2005
more in the second part of the linked article

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:27 am ]
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Maguy Marin
By Jann Parry for The Observer.

The banalities of everyday living are exhaustively played out in Maguy Marin's Umwelt, a Dance Umbrella provocation that could pass for a Tate Modern installation. It lasts as long as a piece of string suspended across the stage takes to wind between two spools, droning for an hour over three electric guitars. Noisy wind buffets the performers, parading in between Perspex screens.

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Author:  preeti vasudevan [ Thu Nov 17, 2005 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Umwelt - Surrounding Worlds

Umwelt by Compagnie Maguy Marin
Queen Elizabeth Hall, October 22nd, 2005

I met Maguy Marin in 2003 at the American Dance Festival, Durham. It was the year she received the Samuel H. Scripps/ADF Award for her contribution as an outstanding choreographer in dance. Her speech of gratitude that evening left a deep impact in the fraternity of dancers gathered to rejoice in her recognition. To her the dance space was a social space revealing in a concentrated moment the nature of human play. It was how the world was represented on stage and in revealing this world, how the theatre simultaneously changed the same world.

November 2005, I was witnessing this phenomenon at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Under the auspices of Dance Umbrella 2005 and France Moves, Maguy Marin’s company performed “Umwelt”, meaning ‘Surrounding World’. The upstage had a series of standing mirrors carefully separated from each other forming frames in between. The downstage had three guitars with a string looped through them stretching across the breadth of the performance space. Nine performers arrived from the gaps in the mirrors, stepped onto the open area of the stage and set their gaze upon us. We began the performance!

Synchronized movements with repetitive patterns formed the foundations of the evening. This basic theme that was established within the first five minutes of the performance insisted on testing the audience and performer alike to see who will be the first to get exhausted by the sheer fatigue of repetition. The mundane lives we lead as humans, disregarding our surroundings, abusing our own system and another’s maintained a cyclical rhythm complemented by the electronic drone of the three guitars with the long cord pulling through the strings. I almost gave up within ten minutes when I found myself slip between the frames into the cracks of the performance, awakened by the subtle changes within each performer and movement. I had started to notice the process of the performance and not the performance. This was Maguy Marin’s dialogue with us: to join in the process of human existence and not merely perform the repetitions of living. The ennui of the beginning transformed into liveliness of individual thought within a rigid frame. In seeking space and individuality in a chaotic world where an assembly-line structure is more important than freedom of thought, “Umwelt” fashioned a mode of truth. The truth was in rediscovering one’s inner space so that rhythms found counterpoints and time became multidimensional.

This truth was a revelation to the inner eye more than grasping the creator’s contention of our dialogue with the environment. The performers continued in a monotone, going in and out of frames, sometimes speeding, sometimes deliberating, sometimes throwing matter onto the open space, and sometimes reclaiming the discards. But the shift had been made within me. The oppression of repetition was complex. We were trying to change the world by making life a habit. It became one law, one class, one language. We made it a tradition! Where did the individual go? I began questioning “Umwelt” or ‘Surrounding World’…where was it? what was it? which world was it in?

Author:  Christine de León [ Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:22 am ]
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I have to agree with Jann - Umwelt was worthy of the Tate Modern as a performance venue, (more so than Rosemary Butcher's stint in the Turbine Hall as part of DU) but did quite nicely at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

I really enjoyed this work, it was wacky, it was interdiscplinary and it was performed with chutzpah.

The repetition of everyday activities: going to the loo, eating a sandwich, walking in the wind become a choreography, pieced together like a magnificient quilt by Maguy Marin. There was not a moment I wasn't intrigued, I was captivated by each of the performers and eagerly awaited thier next tableau.

This was choreography that pushed the boundaries, with sound and performance. The artefacts left over at the end was an amazing installation in itself. This piece was all the things I hate most about dance: dischordant soundtrack, pedestrian movement, pedantic choreography - but when Marin casts her magic wand on these elements, it becomes true theatre and all the wonderful things theatre makes us consider and reconsider about our own lives.

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