Ondine Cloez L’art de conserver la santé


On discovering the Salernitan Medical School’s 18th century treatise on the art of living a healthy life, Ondine Cloez asked herself the following question: how can we conjure up all those gestures which have been lost or forgotten? In this dance piece with live singing, Ondine Cloez and two other fellow dancers perform aphorisms taken from the work, as well as sharing reflections and revealing what remains in their bodies from that time.

In order to grow medicinal plants in her garden, Ondine Cloez dusted off a copy of the Regimen Sanitatis Salernitarium, a popular collection of precepts for a healthy lifestyle, a manual for our relationship with our own bodies and the world. These poems written in alexandrines deal with subjects ranging from the common cold, sleep, and passionate love to the summer, cherries and wine, addressing reader, doctor and plant alike in the same informal manner. Alongside her companions Anne Lenglet and Clémence Gaillard, the Brussels-based French choreographer and performer will be developing a vocal and choreographic score based on the work. Rather than a historical or aesthetic re-enactment, the means for this encounter with the mediaeval body and its forgotten gestures will be the language, imagination and bodies of contemporary dancers. Via this continuation of the process she initiated in Vacances Vacance, a piece focussing on the relationship between movement and her own train of thought or with the literature which describes it, the artist hollows out a dance of absence and survival. Her interpretation, as profound as it is undisciplined, of these bodies, together with their different states and emotions deftly plays upon the hiatus between what is said, what we see and what we perceive.
An all-inclusive performance will bring the L’Art de conserver la santé series to a close at the Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers (Sunday 15 November). In line with the Anglo-Saxon concept of relaxed performances, the received codes of theatrical representation will be reconsidered in order for spectators to make noise, move around, leave the room and come back when they feel the need, without having to worry about disturbing the performers. The evening is open to individuals with autism, attention and behaviour-related difficulties, and for whom adopting expected codes of behaviour is an impossibility.