Mette Ingvartsen The Dancing Public


Using the « dance manias » of the Middle Ages as her starting point, Mette Ingvartsen brings us as a choreographic response to the urgency of the situation. In this oral and physical performance that oscillates between liberating movement and uncontrollable pulsations, her words give shape to the capacity of the dancing body for rebellion.

In a context of epidemics and famine, mediaeval Europe was witness to outbursts of irrepressible dancing, with men and women taking to the streets and dancing frenetically for days, sometimes weeks, without stopping. These dance “diseases” remain largely unexplained: were they proof of an illness, or a means of healing? Were they an uncontrollable trance or collective catharsis? With the world having to confront itself to a pandemic which has overturned our relationship with the body, Mette Ingvartsen uses this historic context as a means of putting the current situation into perspective. With her solo The Dancing Public, she brings into existence a manifesto for the return to movement linking together word and gesture, thereby enabling us to assess the destabilising capacity of the dancing body. Run through with frenetic movements, she journeys through the different eras, delves deep into the religious, medical and political discourses which have always sought to rationalise this excess. Going from the articulation of the spoken word to revolutionary chants, her body becomes the seismographer of a troubled present. It transmits the urgency of a collective impulsion.