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Le Rêve d'Helen Keller

CN D - Centre national de la danse 1984 - Director : Diverrès, Catherine

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France) Montet, Bernardo (France)

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

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr

Le Rêve d'Helen Keller

CN D - Centre national de la danse 1984 - Director : Diverrès, Catherine

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France) Montet, Bernardo (France)

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

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr

Le rêve d'Helen Keller

In this work for 4 performers presented in 1984 at the Concours chorégraphique international de Bagnolet (Bagnolet International Choreographic Contest), where it won first prize as well as the French Ministry of Culture award, Catherine Diverrès evokes the figure of Helen Adams Keller – the blind, deaf and dumb American lecturer and political activist – by drawing her inspiration from “La forme du rêve” (Dream Form), a novel by the Japanese writer Hanya Yukata. This dream imagined by the writer Hanya Yukata is described as “a tactile dream deprived of tactile perceptions (...) which has to blot out all external elements and allows only to see something indubitably come spontaneously into being from the sole World of Darkness” [1]

As the introduction to her presentation for the Châteauvallon Festival, the choreographer announced her project, which was highly-remote from any type of portrait, in the following words: “We will remain in this sort of dream consciousness that persists in our wakeful and daytime consciousness: in this place where light and day, waking and sleeping are shared; at the point of masculine-feminine ambiguity, at the social reference point. The question of limitation is asked. Physical and visual exasperation touches this state of no-limit, of immoderation, a feeling of fragility contained in things”. [2]

In this work, blindness is alluded to through physical suggestion: “Here, there is no game with any whatsoever imaginary or real sign language, but work on the various dimensions of darkness, of perception, of the intelligence of touch” [3] writes Irène Filiberti. And, equating this work research which can be seen in her other creations, she adds: “Just like bodily states are pursued, where their paradoxical potential – fever, waking, hypnosis, somnambulism – plays a role in the atmosphere of the creations”.

The critic Laurence Louppe qualifies “Le Rêve d’Helen Keller” as a project that is “radical and absolutely unusual” and continues:“Montet-Diverrès shared the blindness of the pure body with us. They managed to appear, difficult to do, in a spaceless, imageless world. Experience veering on the impossible. Yet, through this paradox, they took us back to the very roots of an elusive impulse, which perhaps is known as dance. Having reached this extreme point where the danced purpose could have absorbed itself in the invisible, “Le Rêve” still led to a highly-important spectacular figure: the lines stated the muffled quelling of silence and the obscure, reinvented the writing of the unseen, where body and unconsciousness explored their own periphery” [4] 

[1] C. Diverrès in “Var République Matin: Ve Festival de Châteauvallon danse”, 12-25 July 1984.
[2] C. Diverrès in “Var République Matin: Ve Festival de Châteauvallon danse”, 12-25 July 1984.
[3] I. Filiberti, “Catherine Diverrès, mémoires passantes”, Pantin, Paris: Centre national de la danse, L'Oeil d'or, 2010, p. 52.
[4] Laurence Louppe, ““Lie”-tinéraire de Catherine Diverrès”, Pour la danse, n° 119, November 1985, p. 18-19.

Claire Delcroix, 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.


Source: Irène Filiberti, website of the company Catherine Diverrès


More information: compagnie-catherine-diverres.com

Montet, Bernardo

Bernardo Montet is currently an associate artist with the SEcW project in Morlaix and artist-in-residence at the Théâtre Louis Aragon in Tremblay-en-France. He was director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Tours from 2003 to the end of 2011. 

After a period spent at Maurice Béjart’s Mudra school in Brussels, he pursued his career with the choreographer Catherine Diverrès, and was joint director with her of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Rennes until 1998. From 1997 onwards, Bernardo Montet gathered around himself a team of loyal collaborators: Tal Beit Halachmi, Taoufiq Izeddiou, Dimitri Tsiapkinis and Marc Veh, with whom he composed a repertoire of some twenty works. Since Pain de Singe, a founding solo devised together with the filmmaker Téo Hernandez (1987), he has signed such works as, in 1997 Issê Timossé (with the complicity of Pierre Guyotat, author and reciter), in 1998 Beau Travail (in collaboration with Claire Denis), in 2001 Racine’s Bérénice (co-written with Frédéric Fisbach), and O.More (with Gnawa musicians) in 2002. 

In Tours, he created nine pieces: Parcours 2C (vobiscum) (with the plastic artist Gilles Touyard) in 2004, Coupédécalé with Eran Tzur for the musical composition (2005), Les batraciens s’en vont (2006) and Batracien, l’après-midi (2007), two works produced together with Lorella Abenavoli for the electroacoustic creation, Apertae (2008), Switch me off (co-written with Thomas Ferrand, 2009), God needs sacrifice (2010), Isao, a solo written for and in collaboration with the Malagasy choreographer Gaby Saranouffi, and Des Hommes, a group work in collaboration with the historian and critic Geneviève Vincent in December 2011. 

In July 2011, he was made an Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres. 

In 2012, Bernardo Montet accompanied Madeleine Louarn for the show Les Oiseaux (from Aristophanes’ Birds), while at the same time working on a duo entitled (Des)incarnat(s), with one of the actors of the Atelier Catalyse, on the notion of Vulnerable. 

All his pieces, buoyed up by demand and radicality, deal with subjects dear to his heart: colonialism, memory, identity, consciousness of the body, resistance, to name but a few. Each choreography springs up from the previous one to weave an image that is both similar and different: the bodies, in their poetical and political dimension, replay the world surrounding us. 

Bernardo Montet also develops unusual projects with children, such as ChOral (2013), Mom’arts (2011 and 2014), and in the urban space with Pas à Pas (2013), La Marche des Anges (2007), and Veiller par le geste (2008, 2010). 


More information: www.ciemawguerite.com

Catherine, Diverrès

Rêve d'Helen Keller (Le)

Choreography : Catherine Diverrès

Interpretation : Catherine Diverrès, Bernard Glandier, Bernardo Montet, Nasrin Pourrhosseini

Original music : Eiji Nakazawa

Lights : Pierre-Yves Lohier

Settings : Jean-Yves Bouchicot

Duration : 62 minutes

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