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Mandala (Short Story)

Mandala (Short Story)

Mandala (Short Story)

Carolyn  Carlson’s solos showcase her spiritual and existential approach to  dance. She describes them as ways of sharing the state of solitude that  is peculiar to the human condition.

Mandala is  an incarnation of the human heart beat, a constituent of the space  universally shared by every being, from the beginning to the end of our  existence. Here, lived time takes the form of the ensō, the circle of  Zen Buddhism that symbolises both the universe and artistic perfection,  which can only be achieved by a totally free spirit.

The  circular patterns found in crop fields are another source of  inspiration. They remain without explanation, like a message from a  spirit force or from elsewhere, whose unexpectedly beautiful shapes  leave a visual mark deep down in the soul. A similar mark is left by  Michael Gordon’s powerful music. It carries the energy of the movements  and strengthens them with the insistent undulation of a beat.

Sara  Orselli gives substance to a piece that represents a culmination of the  complicity established between Carolyn Carlson and her dancer over more  than a decade.


Source: Carolyn Carlson Company

More information: carolyn-carlson.com

Carlson, Carolyn

California-born Carolyn Carlson defines herself first and foremost as a nomad. From San Francisco Bay to the University of Utah, from the Alwin Nikolais company in New York to Anne Béranger’s in France, from Paris Opera Ballet to Teatrodanza La Fenice in Venice, from the Théâtre de la Ville de Paris to Helsinki, from Ballet Cullberg to La Cartoucherie in Paris, from the Venice Biennale to Roubaix, Carlson is a tireless traveller, always seeking to develop and share her poetic universe.

She arrived in France in 1971 the beneficiary of Alwin Nikolais’s ideas about movement, composition and teaching. The following year, with Rituel pour un rêve mort, she wrote a poetic manifesto that defined an approach to her work that she has adhered to ever since: dance that is strongly oriented towards philosophy and spirituality. Carlson prefers the term ‘visual poetry’ to ‘choreography’ to describe her work. She creates works that express her poetic thoughts and a form of complete art within which movement occupies a special place. 

For four decades, Carlson has had significant influence and success in many European countries. She played a key role in the birth of French and Italian contemporary dance through the GRTOP (theatre research group) at Paris Opera Ballet and Teatrodanza at La Fenice.

She has created over 100 pieces, a large number of which are landmarks in the history of dance, including Density 21.5, The Year of the Horse, Blue Lady, Steppe, Maa, Signes, Writings on Water and Inanna. In 2006, her work was rewarded with the first ever Golden Lion given to a choreographer by the Venice Biennale.

Nowadays, Carolyn Carlson is director of two organisations: the Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson, an international centre for masterclasses, residencies and creating new works, which she founded in 1999 and the National Choreographic Centre Roubaix Nord-Pas de Calais until December 2013, which produces and tours shows all over the world.


More information: en.carolyn-carlson.com

Carolyn Carlson Company

Artistic Direction: Carolyn Carlson

Creation: 2014 


Recognised for her talents as a choreographer, Carolyn Carlson is equally a “group leader”, gathering around herself the personalities who nourish her poetic world. Her creations are the fruit of exchanges with performers which she chooses primarily for their distinctiveness and their capacity to commit to a composition process based on improvisation techniques. Today, the Carolyn Carlson Company consists of a group of dancers who come together in various combinations, depending on the work or project.

Dancers Constantine Baecher, Ismaera Takeo Ishii, Chinatsu Kosakatani, Juha Marsalo,  Celine Maufroid, Riccardo Meneghini, Isida Micani,  Yutaka Nakata, Alexis Ochin, Sara Orselli, Sara Simeoni

“The Carolyn Carlson Company is a hive of activity, an area of creativity and freedom in which intertwine gesture and poetic thought...”

January 2014: after nine years as director of the CCN de Roubaix Nord-Pas de Calais, Carolyn Carlson returns to Paris and funds her company, the Carolyn Carlson Company (CCCy), in residency at the Théâtre National de Chaillot from 2014 to 2016.

With a unique repertory and accompanied by dancers true to her poetical gesture, Carolyn pursues her creative process: each year, the Carolyn Carlson Company carries out at least two large scale projects, a creation and the transmission of repertoire pieces to the most prestigious international ballets, while continuing touring the choreographers’ creations worldwide.


More information : carolyn-carlson.com

Mandala (Short Story)

Choreography : Carolyn Carlson

Interpretation : Sara Orselli

Original music : Michael Gordon

Lights : Freddy Bonneau

Costumes : Chrystel Zingiro

Other collaborations : Cadrage Thomas Rollo. Montage Andréa Da Silva Oliveira

Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Carolyn Carlson Compagny, CCN Roubaix Nord-Pas de Calais en collaboration avec l'Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Théâtre national de Chaillot

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