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Appel d'air

CN D - Centre national de la danse 1981 - Director : Picq, Charles

Choreographer(s) : Chopinot, Régine (France)

Present in collection(s): Centre national de la danse

Video producer : Compagnie du Grèbe

Integral video available at CND de Pantin and at Maison de la danse de Lyon

en fr

Appel d'air

CN D - Centre national de la danse 1981 - Director : Picq, Charles

Choreographer(s) : Chopinot, Régine (France)

Present in collection(s): Centre national de la danse

Video producer : Compagnie du Grèbe

Integral video available at CND de Pantin and at Maison de la danse de Lyon

en fr

Appel d'air

“Appel d'air” was one of the very first pieces choreographed by Régine Chopinot. Presented under the title “Halley's Comet” at the Rencontres chorégraphiques de Bagnolet competition in 1981 (Bagnolet choreography encounters) – before being renamed “Appel d'air” the same year –  this piece borrows its competition title from a novel by Samuel Beckett  (“A man may die at the age of seventy without ever having had the possibility of seeing Halley's Comet”, taken from “L'Innommable” (The Unnamable), 1969).

“Appel d'air” took its place in the choreographic landscape of the 1980s, while contemporary dance was experiencing a real boom. In response to the dramatized gestures which flourished in the wake of Pina Bausch, Régine Chopinot opposes here “a new rejection (...) of any treatment of the body as having psychological depth, as being an emotional centre or a source of identity.”: “In “Appel d'air” (...) the presence of the body is left behind, out of the reach of any impulses and any temptation to merge” [1]

Characterised by an extreme visual simplicity, "Appel d'air” immediately shrugs off any sign which could represent a narrative solution: “The three dancers – Chopinot, Michèle Prélonge, Veronique Ros de la Grange – wear the same dress, in a neutral cut, with no connotations of style, but in different colours; no decoration; the stage, eaten away by the darkness, without contours. The music, played live by the saxophonist Graham Fox, is simple and pierced by silence” [2]. This alteration of signs is relayed by the extracts recited in voiceovers, drawn from “L'Innommable”.

The visual and semantic simplicity of the piece is answered by the simplicity of the gestural vocabulary, borrowing notably from the repertoire of everyday life: “The dance starts with unrolled toes, palpations, strikes on the floor, all kinds of characteristics of support to which the tone of the body starts to adjust and respond”. It is also the first sign of a movement which would become characteristic of Chopinot: that of “no”, resulting from the action of the first cervical vertebra (axis), which can be found in all her work until the 2010s, when she would endeavour to activate atlas, the second cervical vertebra, that of “yes”.

This austerity also produced movements in rhythmic unison, because the dancers worked individually, each one dancing to different music listened to on a Walkman: “This results in three different physical musicalities, three modes of appearance which diverge in an indefinable way. This differentiation – summoned deliberately and not resulting from the solely morphological and postural characteristics of the dancers – is revealed subliminally to the spectator. The choreographer opens up the space for a discrete deconstruction of similarity by inviting qualitative shifts which imperceptibly threaten the visibility of the bodies and break apart the unity of the ensemble. This taste for detail, barely perceptible and yet disconcerting, penetrates the choreographer's whole career. (...) Chopinot blazed new trails in her secret guerrilla war against the powers of the image” [2].

With “Appel d'air”, Régine Chopinot signalled a demolition job on all that constituted her baggage as a classical dancer: feet, port de tête, port de bras, while narration and unison are also in danger. With this creation which affirms a personal style that she will continue to explore and develop in her subsequent creations (“Grand Ecart” (Splits), “Swim one”, “Articules” (Articulations), she won second prize at the international competition in Bagnolet and entered new territory.

[1] A. Suquet, « Chopinot », Le Mans : Ed. Cénomane, 2010, p. 13.
[2] A. Suquet, op. cit., p. 29.

Press quotes

“With “Appel d'air” by Régine Chopinot, we leave the quasi-traditional school that is very much in vogue now of post-modern dance. Its style or rather its language is completely personal since it increasingly moves away from the “déjà vu” by taking on its own identity. A certain aesthetic emerges from it, one that is much more subtle than a simple reaction against any trend, a personal aesthetic with its own laws, its own development and some well-aimed veiled references. A certain conception of the dancing body, very far from the usual norms, emerges from this female trio (Régine Chopinot, Michèle Prélonge, Veronique Ros de la Grange).  Chopinot on stage is Régine in life, injured, tender and solitary. Her trajectories carve out the space on the stage, expose the bodies to the outside world while maintaining a surprising internal strength. Jerky, clean and precise movements accumulate, interrupted by an everyday gesture (scratching the head, rubbing the belly, etc.). Graham Fox, the musician imperceptible in the darkness, distributes his sounds like a card dealer. The floor, never grazed lightly but ceaselessly hammered by the dancers' naked heels, acts as a hard surface from which one does not rise but on which one marks the weight of the body and resonance that it causes. Preoccupied with exposure, they take the time to be looked at, to let the tenderness which they share in their gliding caresses against their mutually supported bodies be revealed.  Effects of strangeness and mystery in this dance play out their motivations without saying when everyone here is forced to look in a different way.”

Geneviève Vincent, « Régine Chopinot, Robert Kovich au Palais des Glaces », Pour la danse, No. 75, December 1981

Updating: February 2013

Chopinot, Régine

Régine Chopinot, born in 1952 in Fort-de-l'Eau (today known as Bordj El Kiffan), in Algeria, was attracted to choreographic art from early childhood. After studying classical dance, she discovered contemporary dance with Marie Zighera in 1974. She moved to Lyon where she founded her first company in 1978, the Compagnie du Grèbe, which included dancers, actors and musicians. Here, she created her first choreographies. Three years later, she was awarded second prize in the Concours chorégraphique international de Bagnolet (Bagnolet International Choreographic Contest) for “Halley's Comet” (1981), later known as “Appel d'air”. Her next pieces of work “Délices” (Delights) and “Via”, introduced other media including the cinema to the world of dance. In 1983 with “Délices”, Régine Chopinot began her longstanding partnership with the fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, which would characterize the period, which included works such as “Le Défilé” (The Fashion show) (1985), “K.O.K.” (1988), “ANA” (1990), “Saint Georges” (1991) and “Façade” (1993). In 1986, Régine Chopinot was appointed director of the Centre chorégraphique national de Poitou-Charentes (Poitou-Charentes National Choreography Centre) in La Rochelle (where she succeeded Jacques Garnier and Brigitte Lefèvre's Théâtre du Silence), which went on to become the Ballet Atlantique-Régine Chopinot (BARC), in 1993. Régine Chopinot made a myriad of artistic encounters: from visual artists like Andy Goldsworthy, Jean Le Gac and Jean Michel Bruyère, to musicians such as Tôn-Thât Tiêt and Bernard Lubat.

At the beginning of the 90s, she moved away from – according to her own expression – “ultra-light spaces” in which, at a young age, she had become acknowledged, in particular through her partnership with Jean Paul Gaultier. She then became fascinated with experimenting on confronting contemporary dance with natural elements and rhythms and on testing age-old, complex body sciences and practices, such as yoga. In 1999, as part of “associate artists”, Régine Chopinot invited three figures from the world of contemporary dance to partner with her for three years on her artistic project: Françoise Dupuy, Dominique Dupuy and Sophie Lessard joined the BARC's troupe of permanent dancers and consultants-researchers, as performers, pedagogues and choreographers.

In 2002, she initiated the “triptyque de la Fin des Temps” (Triptych of the End of Time), a long questioning of choreographic writing and creation subsequent to her creation of a voluntary state of crisis of general notions of time, of memory and of construction. “Chair-obscur”, her first chapter, focused on erasing the past, the memory, whilst “WHA” was based on the disappearance of the future. “O.C.C.C.” dealt with the “time that's left”, with what is left to be done, with what can still be done, in that simple, yet essential spot called performance. In 2008, “Cornucopiae”, the last work created within the Institution, concluded the end of a form of performance and opened the doors to another approach to sensorial perception.

Concurrently to her choreographic work, Régine Chopinot worked, as a performer, with other artists that she was close to: Alain Buffard (“Wall dancin' - Wall fuckin'”, 2003; “Mauvais Genre”, 2004), Steven Cohen (“I wouldn't be seen dead in that!”, 2003). In addition, she trained and directed Vietnamese dancers as part of a partnership with the Vietnam Higher School of Dance and the Hanoi Ballet-Opera (“Anh Mat”, 2002; “Giap Than”, 2004). In 2008, the choreographer left the CCN in La Rochelle and created the Cornucopiae - the independent dance Company, a new structure that would, henceforth, harbour creation and repertoire, all the works of Régine Chopinot. In 2010, she chose to live and work in Toulon, by its port.

Since 2009, Régine Chopinot has been venturing, questioning and intensifying her quest for the body in movement linked to the strength of the spoken word, through cultures organized by and on oral transmission, in New Caledonia, New Zealand and Japan. These last three years have been punctuated by a myriad of artistic creations: choreographies and films resulting from artistic In Situ experiences were created as part of the South Pacific Project. A privileged relationship initiated in 2009 with the Du Wetr Group (Drehu/Lifou) bore its fruits with the creation of “Very Wetr!”at the Avignon Festival in July 2012 and went on to be reproduced at the Centre national de la danse (National Centre for Dance) in February 2013.

More information

cornucopiae.net

Last update : March 2012

Picq, Charles

Author, filmmaker and video artist Charles Picq (1952-2012) entered working life in the 70s through theatre and photography. A- fter resuming his studies (Maîtrise de Linguistique - Lyon ii, Maîtrise des sciences et Techniques de la Communication - grenoble iii), he then focused on video, first in the field of fine arts at the espace Lyonnais d'art Contemporain (ELAC) and with the group « Frigo », and then in dance.
   On creation of the Maison de la Danse in Lyon in 1980, he was asked to undertake a video documentation project that he has continued ever since. During the ‘80s, a decade marked in France by the explosion of contemporary dance and the development of video, he met numerous artists such as andy Degroat, Dominique Bagouet, Carolyn Carlson, régine Chopinot, susanne Linke, Joëlle Bouvier and regis Obadia, Michel Kelemenis. He worked in the creative field with installations and on-stage video, as well as in television with recorded shows, entertainment and documentaries.

His work with Dominique Bagouet (80-90) was a unique encounter. He documents his creativity, assisting with Le Crawl de Lucien and co-directing with his films Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux and 10 anges. in the 90s he became director of video development for the Maison de la Danse and worked, with the support of guy Darmet and his team, in the growing space of theatre video through several initiatives:
       - He founded a video library of dance films with free public access. This was a first for France. Continuing the video documentation of theatre performances, he organised their management and storage.
       - He promoted the creation of a video-bar and projection room, both dedicated to welcoming school pupils.
       - He started «présentations de saisons» in pictures.
       - He oversaw the DVD publication of Le tour du monde en 80 danses, a pocket video library produced by the Maison de la Danse for the educational sector.

       - He launched the series “scènes d'écran” for television and online. He undertook the video library's digital conversion and created Numeridanse.


His main documentaries are: enchaînement, Planète Bagouet, Montpellier le saut de l'ange, Carolyn Carlson, a woman of many faces, grand ecart, Mama africa, C'est pas facile, Lyon, le pas de deux d'une ville, Le Défilé, Un rêve de cirque.

He has also produced theatre films: Song, Vu d'ici (Carolyn Carlson), Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux, 10 anges, Necesito and So schnell, (Dominique Bagouet), Im bade wannen, Flut and Wandelung (Susanne Linke), Le Cabaret Latin (Karine Saporta), La danse du temps (Régine Chopinot), Nuit Blanche (Abou Lagraa), Le Témoin (Claude Brumachon), Corps est graphique (Käfig), Seule et WMD (Françoise et Dominique Dupuy), La Veillée des abysses (James Thiérrée), Agwa (Mourad Merzouki), Fuenteovejuna (Antonio Gades), Blue Lady revistied (Carolyn Carlson).


Source: Maison de la Danse de Lyon

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