L'Ombre du ciel

Creation date : 1994

Catherine Diverrès partners with the English sculptor of Indian origin Anish Kapoor to express the unleashing of telluric energies and to physically map the political upheavals related to the war in Yugoslavia.


Ombre du ciel (L')


“L'Ombre du ciel” was created on 25 October 1994 at the Théâtre national de Bretagne in Rennes. For this first work produced at the National Choreographic Centre of Rennes and Brittany (CCNRB), which she had been co-running with Bernardo Montet since January the same year, Catherine Diverrès partnered with the English sculptor of Indian origin Anish Kapoor who, via this production, pursued his quest into the dematerialization of objects.

Wishing to set aside the literary material that had filled her creations over the last ten years, C. Diverrès illustrated in this work a return to more abstract and more poetical dance. Her key collaboration with the visual artist, who she acclaimed from the very beginning as the “poet of the work”, would help her abandon this familiar material and guide her towards greater simplicity of forms. The work is, nonetheless, highly-rooted in the war in Yugoslavia and “centre stages the unleashing of telluric energies and physically maps political upheavals” [1].

The two artists share “a transcendental vision of emptiness in its relationship with human interiority” [2] which leads their research to journey into metamorphosis, traverse, transformation, inspired by “the conscience of the impermanence of things”. The travel diaries written by Bashô – a classical Japanese poet of the 16th century – were chosen to accompany the reflections of the artistic team and to incite it to penetrate the spirits of the haikus which the choreographer deemed close to the Western vanities of the 16th century and associated with the metaphors of scenic representation.

To the sound design of the Japanese Eiji Nakazawa – a companion right from the beginning, encountered in Japan with Kazuo Ohno –, the visual artist and the choreographer confront the dancers with a moving floor, and thus unstable, and with the panic that this can engender. Laurence Louppe evokes “a moving floor, offering the body the always-possible fracture of the seisms of the world and where the purpose of the dancing movement is to become the trembling double” [3]

Irène Filiberti acknowledges in this key work “work leading towards the stripping down of self, transparency, lightness, light” [4] and the work drew critical praise for the rejuvenation of the choreographic writing that C. Diverrès illustrates here. Undeniably taking advantage of her recent arrival in Rennes, Catherine Diverrès seems to have taken on a process of unframing, to explore new territory, which turned out to be every bit as fruitful as her trip to Japan: territory where dance and visual creation confront each other. The work is also a transition as regards her accomplices as it was to be her ultimate creation with Bernardo Montet and with Thierry Baë, Rita Quaglia, Lluis Ayet and Olivier Gelpe who would move on from the Company to begin their own work as choreographers.

The work was performed until 1997 and toured France (Rennes, Saint-Brieuc, Paris, Dijon, Lyon, Grenoble, Noisiel, Douai, Angers, Châlons-en-Champagne, Limoges) and abroad (Antwerp, Munich, Lisbon).

Claire Delcroix

[1] P. Allio, “Désordres”, in I. Filiberti, Catherine Diverrès, mémoires passantes, 2010, p. 83.
[2] C. Diverrès, Ferme du Buisson press kit, 10 December 1994.
[3] L. Louppe, “Poétique de la danse contemporaine”, p. 194.
[4] Irène Filiberti, Théâtre de la Ville, 13-17 June 1995.


choreography Catherine Diverrès
production Thierry Fonteneau, Annaïce Domergue

visual artist Anish Kapoor
music Eiji Nakazawa
lighting Dominique Bruguière
costumes Cidalia da Costa
dancers Thierry Baë, Cécile Loyer, Fabrice Dasse, Catherine Diverrès, Olivier Gelpe, Benita Kuni, Bernardo Montet, Paul Wenninger

creative team Thierry Baë, Fabrice Dasse, Catherine Diverrès, Olivier Gelpe, Bernardo Montet, Lluis Ayet Puigarneau, Katja Fleig, Tal Beit-Halachmi

duration 90 minutes

latest update: March 2016

Diverrès, Catherine

Catherine Diverrès has said, “Conscience, our relationship with others, this is what creates time,” ever since her first choreographic creation. She is a sort of strange meteor, appearing in the landscape of contemporary dance in the mid-80’s. She stood out almost immediately in her rejection of the tenets of post-modern American dance and the classically-based vocabularies trending at that time. She trained at the Mudra School in Brussels under the direction of Maurice Béjart, and studied the techniques of José Limón, Merce Cunningham and Alwin Nikolais before joining the company of Dominique Bagouet in Montpellier, then deciding to set out on her own choreographic journey.

Her first work was an iconic duo, Instance, with Bernardo Montet, based upon a study trip she took to Japan in 1983, during which she worked with one of the great masters of butoh, Kazuo Ohno. This marked the beginning of the Studio DM. Ten years later she was appointed director of the National Choreographic Center in Rennes, which she directed until 2008.

Over the years, Catherine Diverrès has created over thirty pieces, created her own dance language, an extreme and powerful dance, resonating with the great changes in life, entering into dialogues with the poets: Rilke, Pasolini and Holderlin, reflecting alongside the philosophers Wladimir Jankelevich and Jean-Luc Nancy, focusing also on the transmission of movement and repertoire in Echos, Stances and Solides and destabilising her own dancing with the help of the plastician Anish Kapoor in L’ombre du ciel.

Beginning in 2000, she began adapting her own style of dance by conceiving other structures for her creations: she improvised with the music in Blowin, developed projects based on experiences abroad, in Sicily for Cantieri, and with Spanish artists in La maison du sourd. Exploring the quality of stage presence, gravity, hallucinated images, suspensions, falls and flight — the choreographer began using her own dance as a means of revealing, revelation, unmasking, for example in Encor, in which movements and historical periods are presented. Diverrès works with the body to explore the important social and aesthetic changes of today, or to examine memory, the way she did in her recent solo in homage to Kazuo Ohno, O Sensei.

And now the cycle is repeating, opening on a new period of creation with the founding of Diverrès’ new company, Association d’Octobre, and the implantation of the company in the city of Vannes in Brittany. Continuing on her chosen path of creation and transmission, the choreographer and her dancers have taken on a legendary figure, Penthesilea, the queen of the Amazons, in Penthésilée(s). In returning to group and collective work, this new work is indeed another step forward in the choreographer’s continuing artistic journey.

Irène Filiberti

Source: website of the company Catherine Diverrès



This video is also available on