Gisèle Vienne Crowd


Crowd, a piece for 15 dancers, delivers a painstaking dissection of the dark side within us and our need for violence. It represents a culminating point in Gisèle Vienne’s trajectory. Her healthy disrespect for the different artistic practices restores to the stage its unique cathartic power.
Behind their technical and formal perfection, Gisèle Vienne’s productions are often perceived as being “disturbing” or, at the very least, unclassifiable. Since Showroomdummies (2001), she has been digging deeper and deeper into the eternal duality - Eros and Thanatos, Apollo and Dionysos - to be found at the core of our humanity. For Gisèle Vienne, the innate thirst for violence that we all carry within us also has something of the erotic and the sacred. Crowd, a choreography devised for 15 performers attending a festive event, represents the coming together of the different aspects of her unerring, unique form of research. Its overflowing, polyphonic form brings to (black) light all the various mechanisms underpinning manifestations of collective euphoria such as this, and “the way in which a given community can handle (or not) the expression of violence”. With a background in music, puppetry, philosophy and the visual arts, the universe that Gisèle Vienne brings to the stage is a fragmentary one. Different realities and time-scales rub shoulders, and the jerky movements and gestures owe as much to urban dance as they do to puppetry. Within this universe, Dennis Cooper’s text and the music by the KTL duo become instruments of theatre. They disturb our perceptions, simultaneously blurring the frontiers between interiority and exteriority, daydream and frenzied rave party. Alternating between the very contemporary and, thanks to its the cathartic dimension, the powerfully archaic, Crowd brings to the stage a dialogue “with our innermost selves”.