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Le Printemps

CN D - Centre national de la danse 1989 - Director : Moisset, Gilles

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France)

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

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr

Le Printemps

CN D - Centre national de la danse 1989 - Director : Moisset, Gilles

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France)

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

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr

Printemps (Le)

Premiered on 29 May 1988 at the International Festival of Music and Dance of Granada (Spain), “Le Printemps” draws its inspiration from a novel by the Polish writer Bruno Schulz, taken from the collection “La Clepsydre” (The Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass). The extract selected as the preamble to introduce this “metaphor-ballet” sets the tone: “In each spring there is everything: processions and manifestations, revolutions and barricades. Each brings with it, at a given moment, the hot wind of frenzy, an infinity of sadnesses and delights that seek in vain their equivalents in reality.
There is a smell of turf and tree rot; roots wander about, entwined, full with juices that rise as if sucked up by pumps. We are on the nether side, at the lining of things, in gloom stitched with phosphorescence. There is a lot of movement and traffic, pulp and rot, tribes and generations. [...] Wanderings and tumult, the tangle and hubbub of history! That road leads no farther”. [1]

Catherine Diverrès declares that, in this work, she pursued “a state of life where whatever “touches” the human being is intrinsically linked to the perception of death” [2]. She states her intention with the following words: “It’s a nocturne bathed in light. A fulguration-like structure. Spring enters its height through them. Oneness of the otherness of bodies articulated, disarticulated by breathing. Hands, mouths, backs, artificial flowers that they move deeply.
The bedazzlement of a new and cruel beauty. The fine membrane of the wall in the garden, pre heaven. Childhood glance. Love. Juice that rises. Outside... effervescence, crowd, caricature. Lightness of contours... What is spring other than the banality and occurrence of the organic return in the invisible and uninterrupted passage of time?” [3]

“Le Printemps”, a remarkable creation, received unanimously favourable reviews, even if there was a certain degree of bewilderment, and marked Catherine Diverrès’ rite of passage into the sphere of choreographers recognized as important. The work was performed over a two-year period and was honoured during the Concours chorégraphique international de Bagnolet (Bagnolet International Choreographic Contest) when Rita Quaglia won the award for best performance.

The video film based on the work was made by Gilles Moisset the year after its creation. This film, which lasts for half an hour, focuses on the seven performers, concentrated, transplanted in the setting of the Château de la Mosson, an 18th century “folly” situated on the outskirts of Montpellier, in place of the decor created by the Polish stage designer, Gyula Pauer.

The film was publicly screened in January 1990 at the City of Paris Vidéothèque (now known as Le Forum des Images), then in February 1991 during the Mostra de Video Dansa in Barcelona.

Claire Delcroix

[1] Bruno Schulz, “Spring”, 1989 translation by Celina Wieniewska – published by Walker & Company .
[2] Jean-Marc Adolphe, “Catherine Diverrès : Le Printemps”, Présences, November 1988, n°83.
[3] Théâtre National de Chaillot programme for “Le Printemps”, 25-28 April 1989.


“In contrast to the more secret, more private works that she had previously created, here, Catherine Diverrès injects impressive vigour that draws its inspiration from the heart of indescribable turmoil. She has the genius to intensify feelings, to bring moments of folly, which we generally tend to hide, out into the full light of day, and to embellish them with powerful mystery. Le Printemps’ performers unveil to us the secret of what is beyond their control. It is like an admission of life, lifeblood that bursts forth from the body and that implores behavioural outrage”.

Jean-Marc Adolphe, “Catherine Diverrès : Le Printemps”, Présences, November 1988, n°83

“Two eyes are not enough to see everything and not to miss anything of the performance. Something is going on in every corner of the stage and, this stage, by the way, seems to have more than four of them. There are seven dancers and, very quickly, we are left wondering who is who, who is dancing with who and who is doing what. But one thing is for sure, Catherine Diverrès and her dancers surprise. Impossible to predict what is going to happen. All the time, with every new change of scene, she ventures even further: dancers who come and introduce themselves in turn, gesticulating and uttering barely audible words, a giant, retro-style chandelier descending unto the stage to light it up, a crazy gun made of plastic, quick-fire flashes of humour like swipes of claws”.

F. D., “Soir de novembre, soir de printemps”, La Voix du Nord, 13 November 1988

Updating: March 2014

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.

Source: Irène Filiberti, website of the company Catherine Diverrès

More information:

Moisset, Gilles

Printemps (Le)

Choreography : Catherine Diverrès

Interpretation : Luis Ayet, Thierry Baë, Fabienne Compet, Catherine Diverrès, Bernardo Montet, Rita Quaglia, Mitsuyo Uesugi

Set design : Gyula Pauer

Additionnal music : Vincenzo Bellini, Prokoviev, Eiji Nakasawa, musique traditionnelle polonaise

Video conception : Théo Hernandez

Lights : Pierre-Yves Lohier

Costumes : Cidalia Da Costa, Eva Mark

Duration : 25 minutes

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