“Alla Prima”, a group work created for 10 dancers and a musician and premiered at the Montpellier-Danse Festival in June 2005, takes one of the two intertwined stories from William Faulkner’s work “If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem”, entitled “Old Man” as its starting point and asks the question about social ties: “This piece will not be about man surpassing himself in order to win, to survive the violence of the raging river as Faulkner described it, but will instead be a way for the dancers to be the essential elements of that mud-choked river. From its cloistered interior it becomes organicity, a component in the great melting pot of energy, abstracted from the unformed, focusing this energy into what will become the dance”. (presentation of the work on the Company’s website: compagnie-catherine-diverres.com)
Against a stage set designed by Laurent Peduzzi, comprising mobile modules imagined as individual theatres, the dancers express first of all various symptoms of modern-day solitude, which are gradually revealed through Marie-Christine Soma’s lighting work. The freedom covered in W. Faulkner’s work is questioned here in relation to its political, social, love-based excesses. In an interview “that probes the relationship between individualism and community”, the red thread of the work, the philosopher Patricia Allio sums up C. Diverrès’ reflections: “How can we free ourselves from this narcissistic imprisonment? How can we overcome this illusion of freedom that masks a deeper alienation? How can we ‘step out’ of ourselves other than by exploring paroxysmal patterns of rupture? As such, starting out from the question on the deprivation of social ties, we end up with the importance of chaos” (Patricia Allio, “Désordres”. In I. Filiberti, “Catherine Diverrès, mémoires passantes”, Pantin : Centre national de la danse, 2010, p. 83)
Another topic addressed in “Old Man”, the will to deal with confusion is considered in reverse here. Seijiro Murayama’s music accompanies the explosion of individual imprisonments denounced by the choreographer, which leads to a chaos that she proposes, not to surpass but to welcome, to experiment to “punctually reintroduce the lost feeling of continuity which, in return, ensures the durability and vitality of social ties” (Patricia Allio, “Désordres”. In I. Filiberti, “Catherine Diverrès, mémoires passantes”, Pantin : Centre national de la danse, 2010, p. 84).
Presumably to stage this chaos more optimally and to illustrate the “co-fragility”, according to the concept created by the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, as the “basis for a new way of meeting, of coming together”, the choreographer breaks away from her habits and quests rupture: “Just like the forms, the awkwardness, the wilfully impoliteness of the gestures and movements, the dancers’ psychological or mental non-investment breaks away from the inhibition, the distance, present in my previous works”. (Statement of intent, CCN (National Choreography Centre) programme for Alla Prima, 2005)
Even though she refuses to foresee “any sort of “turning point”, or to extrapolate on the writing” (Statement of intent, CCN (National Choreography Centre) programme for Alla Prima, 2005), she will shift towards an approach and a relationship with time that will be revamped, in line with this first collaboration with the musician Seijiro Murayama, for her next creation: “Blowin'”.