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    Festival d’Automne à Paris
    156 rue de Rivoli
    75001 Paris

You are visiting the page of a show featured in the 2016 edition. Find all the shows from this edition in our archives
Portrait Lucinda Childs

Lucinda Childs
Maguy Marin
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

Trois Grandes Fugues

Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon


    • Maison des Arts Créteil
      November 29 to December 3
    • Théâtre du Beauvaisis, Scène nationale de l’Oise en préfiguration Beauvais – Compiègne
      December 6
    • L'apostrophe, scène nationale de Cergy-Pontoise et du val d’Oise
      December 8 and 9
    • Théâtre-Sénart, Scène nationale
      December 13
    • Nanterre-Amandiers, centre dramatique national
      December 15 to December 17

    Here the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon will be giving audiences the opportunity to discover the resonances between three works from its repertory - all three of which are set to Grande Fugue op. 133 by Beethoven, and carry the signature of three of today’s foremost choreographers: Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Maguy Marin and Lucinda Childs. How does each of them set about tackling this whirlwind of string sounds, in which Beethoven pushes the art of the counterpoint to its maximum point of intensity? Using the same score, the same notes, audiences will be treated to a vast array of physical constructions, and relationships between moving bodies, either in unison or at odds with the unfurling rhythms and melody. These intimate differences make each version unique to the three choreographers. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker was the first, in 1992, to delve into this monumental work of instrumental music. Against the backdrop of Beethoven’s music, the version she conjures up is an austere one, tinged with her wish “to write a masculine, non-classical, and sexual vocabulary”, characterized by the motif of the fall or drop. Maguy Marin’s relationship to this “grand music” carries with it the imprint of liberty and fantasy. In keeping with her keen eye for the off-beat, her version confronts the Grand Fugue’s dark tonalities with a quartet of women dressed in red. In a bubbling, effervescent staging the dancers beat out the rhythm, leap, collapse, recover and contort their bodies. In a sort of inverse chronology, Lucinda Childs will be bringing proceedings to a close with this final Grande Fugue for twelve dancers divided into six couples, specially created for the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon. A pioneer in the relationship between dance and music - the minimalist rigour of which had a marked influence on the early works of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker set to the music of Steve Reich - Lucinda Childs demonstrates to what extent, almost thirty six years after Dance, she has lost none of her strength of invention.

    Grande Fugue : Choreography, Lucinda Childs
    Assistant, Caitlin Scranton
    Music, Beethoven, Die Grosse Fuge op.133
    Stage, lighting and costume design, Dominique Drillot
    Piece for 12 dancers
    A Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon creation, first performed on 17th November 2016

    Die Grosse Fuge : Choreography, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
    Music, Beethoven, Die Grosse Fuge op.133
    Directed by Jean-Luc Ducourt
    Stage and lighting design, Jan Joris Lamers
    Costume design, Rosas
    Master costumer for Rosas, Heide Vanderieck
    Musical Analysis, Georges-Elie Octors
    Direction for rehearsals, Jakub Truszkowski, Mark Lorimer, Clinton Stringer
    Technical advisor, Simo Reynders
    A piece for 8 dancers
    Created by compagnie Rosas in 1992 at the Halles de Schaerbeek – The work entered the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon repertory on 12th February 2006

    Grosse Fugue
    : Choreography, Maguy Marin
    Music, Beethoven, Die Grosse Fuge op.133
    Costume design, Chantal Cloupet
    Lighting design, François Renard
    Piece for 4 dancers
    Created by Compagnie Maguy Marin, and first performed on 17th March 2001 at Espace Jean Poperen de Meyzieu – The work entered the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon repertory on 12th February 2006

    In association with Maison des Arts Créteil ; Théâtre de la Ville-Paris ; Festival d’Automne à Paris for performances at Maison des Arts Créteil // In association with Nanterre-Amandiers, centre dramatique national ; Festival d’Automne à Paris for performances at Nanterre-Amandiers, centre dramatique national // With support from Adami // In partnership with France Inter

    Delving into the Festival d’Automne’s archives reveals the importance given over to the “pioneers” of American dance. The 1979 edition featured works by Merce Cunningham, Deborah Hay, and Trisha Brown. In the same edition, Lucinda Childs presented a piece set to the music of Philip Glass, marking the start of a long history of work together, and an unshakeable sense of loyalty. Together, these names formed a constellation, stemming from the central, tutelary figure of Merce Cunningham, and which reorganized itself around a new generation of so-called “post-modern” choreographers during the 1960’s. Schooled, for the most part, in the Cunningham technique, but also having taken on board the ideas of John Cage on such things as the action of chance, the relationship with context and the refusal of pre-established formats, New York’s Judson Church quickly became a meeting place for this informal collective of artists and dancers, each with a common aim to overturn the way we set about doing dance and any conceptions we had about it. From out of it came the formulation of their demands for transparency, and a rejection of all forms of narration or expression, coupled with the use of new spaces and a movement vocabulary built upon everyday gestures. Lucinda Childs, one of the movement’s founding members, created, in the period 1963 to 1966, thirteen intriguing pieces situated somewhere between performance, sculpture and daily ritual. In an interview, Yvonne Rainer recalls the strange experience of watching this girl with a slender body giving herself over to bizarre experiments on her body, as in her pivotal work Carnations, in which she transforms herself into a “ready-made”, object adorned with household items. For Lucinda Childs, these pieces were, above all, exercises in freeing up her own academicism. But with the bringing into question of the playing space itself, and the refusal of the “spectacular”, her work was already heading in the direction of rigorous composition, the use of repetition and the accumulation of elementary actions as the basis for composition. As such, Lucinda Childs’ trajectory is exemplary of one rooted in the laboratory of post-modern dance research but which went on to invent a minimalist language of its own, in which simplicity and economy of means are the order of the day.

    From 1968 onwards, she began applying this logic of deconstruction to the classical vocabulary that she was in the midst of learning. All of her works dating back to this period, such as Radial Courses or Katema, sought to redefine the possible combinations between walking, running, jumping, jeté and the geometric implication of the body in the space. The resulting abstraction affirmed a refusal of personal expression, in favour of shapes and forms generated by their own dynamic - more often than not in silence, in non-theatre spaces such as galeries and museums. Another determining phase was the encounter with Philip Glass and Robert Wilson, for whom she choreographed the Einstein on the Beach opera in 1976. Driven on by Wilson’s sparse onstage language and Glass’s music - the rhythmic precision and melodic simplicity of which proved to be the perfect counterpart to her own research work, she embarked on the conception of a large-scale form for the stage. The result was Dance, in 1979, a choreographic poem whose title summed up perfectly this contraction towards a form which is dance, and dance only. It hinged upon basic, simple steps, modulated by different rhythms, repeated to dizzying effect, and underpinned by Glass’s music and Sol LeWitt’s filmic installation. AVAILABLE LIGHT, in 1983, marked the high-point in this harmonic upsurge between musical, choreographic and spatial constructions.

    A third crucial period began during the early 1990’s, via the collaboration with the harpsichordist Elisabeth Chojnacka, who introduced her to the field of European contemporary music. This contact with the work of composers such as Luc Ferrari, György Ligetti, Henryck Górecki and Mauricio Kagel, whose non-linear structures dislocated the clarity of the minimalist lines, brought about a transformation in her work. Pieces such as Rhythm Plus or Concerto bear witness to this new-found inflection, making more space available for the fragility of states, and quavering figures. From the 1990’s into the 2000’s, her approach has diversified. Regularly invited to work with prestigious ballet companies, she has choreographed or directed numerous opera productions such as Orpheus and Eurydice by Gluck, Zaide by Mozart, and Dr. Atomic by John Adams. This diversity forms a major part of her work, right up to the present day.

    The work of Lucinda Childs, brought to us in all its diversity by this Festival d’Automne Portrait, has been a decisive influence on numerous choreographers - from La Ribot to Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker - and on all the areas it touches upon, ranging from performance, theatre, and opera to ballet. Through its resolutely pluridisciplinary approach, it has provided a profound source of renewal for XXth century choreographic art. Whether in terms of the revival work undertaken with her niece Ruth Childs, her company or the pieces that she has imparted to the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, this very special form of dance continues on its stellar journey, an ode to the purity of movement.

    “Such a work is dance”

    Gilles Amalvi