With this work conceived for Elizabeth Schwartz, Jérôme Bel continues his series of dancer portraits begun in 2004 and focuses on one of her specialities, Isadora Duncan. Unlike Véronique Doisneau, Cédric Andrieux and Pichet Klunchun and I, Jérôme Bel here draws the portrait of a deceased choreographer for the first time on the basis of her autobiographical work Ma Vie [My Life]. Jérôme Bel discovers behind the romantic figure a visionary choreographer who, with her great freedom of expression, her preference for spontaneity and naturalness, created the foundations of modern dance, which in turn form the basis of contemporary dance. With a mixture of discursive and sensitive styles, spoken moments and danced solos, the performance brings the memory of free dance to life by combining choreographic know-how with the experience of spectacle. In conjunction with Jérôme Bel’s reflections on dance as a lever of emancipation, Isadora Duncan’s teachings, revived here, make it possible to underline the topicality of its critical potential. For ecological reasons, the R.B/ Jérôme Bel company no longer travels by plane. A version of the piece is created in New York, via teleconference, with the dancer Catherine Gallant.
Florian Gaité, for the Festival d’Automne à Paris, 2019
American dancer and choreographer Isadora Duncan, uncompromising pioneer of modern dance, embodies a new freedom, not only for the choreographic art, but also for the state of the state. Her turbulent life, which made her a heroine, fascinated her time and probably contributed to the extraordinary influence of her name and legend in the world. With her bare feet, her thin “Greek” tunics and her “free” movements, i.e. detached from any known technique, she imposed a new idea of dance based on invention, improvisation and harmony of body and mind. As a result, every choreographer has to define his or her own personal “language”.
Duration: 1 hr.
Language: plain English
Wed 02.02. Audience discussion afterwards
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Concept: Jérôme Bel
Choreography: Isadora Duncan
with: Elisabeth Schwartz, and alternately Sheila Atala, Chiara Gallerani, Jérôme Bel
Duration: approx. 60 minutes
Production: R.B. Jérôme Bel
Co-production: La Commune centre dramatique national d’Aubervilliers, Les Spectacles Vivants – Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Festival d’Automne à Paris, R.B. Jérôme Bel (Paris), Tanz im August/ HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen)
with the support of: CND Centre National de la Danse (Pantin) as part of its residency programme, MC93 (Bobigny), Ménagerie de Verre (Paris) as part of Studiolab, for providing studio space.
R.B Jérôme Bel is supported by the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles d’Ile-de-France, French Ministry of Culture, by the Institut Français, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for his international tours and by the ONDA – Office National de Diffusion Artistique – for his tours in France.
R.B. Jérôme Bel:
Artistic advice and direction: Rebecca Lasselin
Production management: Sandro Grando