Dominique Brun Nijinska | Voilà la femme


Dominique Brun pays hommage to Bronislava Nijinska, whose work, despite being the first and only choreographer of the Ballets Russes, has been all too often overlooked. By means of an in-depth reading of her archives, she restages, in complicity with her dancers, Les Noces and reinvents Le Boléro. The aim is to turn the spotlight on her legacy - even to the extent of slightly fantasising about it.

Pursuing her research into the prominent figures of modernity, in particular Vaslav Nijinski, Dominique Brun turns her attentions to his sister, "our Nijinska", another cornerstone of the Ballets Russes. After meticulously going through her archive material (drawings, notes, notebooks, and scores, for example), she retraces the thread of a form of choreographic writing that stood apart from the different eras it was situated in, and which set out to bring them back to life by bringing their sedimentary memories into contact with each other. From the reactivation of these archives to their performance in the present, the programme's restaging of two iconic pieces pays homage to an Avant-garde choreographer who was influenced by the constructivism and modernism of her brother. Les Noces, restaged using most of the cast from Sacre #2 privileges the movement of the group and anchorage to the ground. Its choreography, ritualistic and grounded in equal measure, draws upon the energy of the Russian peasant dances. The piece is accompanied by an instrumental and vocal recording of Ravel's first version, written in 1919. In Boléro, originally choreographed by Nijinska, set to the music of Ravel and commissioned by Ida Rubenstein, a soloist makes a spectacle of himself in front of a group of twenty transfixed men. With her invitation to François Chaignaud to perform it and to share in its choreographic writing, Dominique Brun confronts the bolero form with that of other typical Spanish dances, skirt dances and Tatsumi Hijikata's "revolt of the flesh" Butoh dance. Dressed in a long robe, the dancer alternates between spinning, staccato with the feet, and slow arm and upper-body movements, his body entering into resistance with the martiality of the rhythm in order to undermine the authority of the music.