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Relâche

CCN – Ballet de Lorraine
2014 - Director : Riolon, Luc

Choreographer(s) : Börlin, Jean (Sweden)

Present in collection(s): Maison de la Danse de Lyon

en fr

Relâche

CCN – Ballet de Lorraine
2014 - Director : Riolon, Luc

Choreographer(s) : Börlin, Jean (Sweden)

Present in collection(s): Maison de la Danse de Lyon

en fr

Relâche

1924 was a particularly wonderful year for the man who declared: “I have always loved playing seriously.” Francis Picabia (1879- 1953), the indefatigable artist, writer and enthusiastic letter writer, was working on 391, an avant-garde Paris revue, using it that year to fight on two separate fronts: the academisation of Dada, which he dismissed with one of his polemical, brutally funny texts, and the pretentions of the nascent surrealism of André Breton, which he suspected was only a pathetic means of seizing power in the Parisian art world. He drew, he painted, he chatted with his co-conspirators Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray and between the laughter and the tears, found the time to work on Relâche or on editing his one novel, Caravansérail, which was both autobiographical and lost for a long time, it was only finally published after his death. With devastating cynicism, incomparable lucidity and humour, this Satyricon of modern times is that of an actor and spectator who sends up, sends off and records with jubilation the day’s current inventions and disorders, settling scores, denouncing fakes, blow-hards and pretenders. An ode to movement and to moments of everyday life, between dinners at Prunier and unbridled delights, jazz bands and the new dances, roulette at Monte-Carlo, exhibitions and visits, opium, car races or spiritualism seances at his home on the rue Fontaine, Picabia intertwines the art scene and the Parisian nightlife of the 20’s, mocking André Breton, costing out Eros and blasting the fake values of the artists sucking up to the powers that be. Caravansérail is a literary gem, and Relâche would be the same thing onstage. Both the novel and the dance work show us what it was like at that time, when all of Paris was a party, as Hemingway wrote. This was the time, set during the period between the two World Wars, at the exact moment when the conventions of bourgeois humanism inherited from the 19th century were collapsing, precipitated by the events of 1914- 18 and by the arrival of European fascism and the Nazis, at the end of the international economic debacle which came about after the crash of 1929. Walking on this tightrope strung between two eras, when the dreams of the new Man were flourishing with the art happening all over Europe, from France to Germany, from Italy to Hungary, from Holland to Russia, between Dada, Bauhaus and Constructivism, the renewal of these art forms resonated for Picabia and his friends with the renewal of certain forms of life.

Relegating old forms of blackmail to what he termed “eternal beauty,” to “noble or overly solemn subjects,” it was with ferocity and humour that the man who declared that he preferred “a chair at the Paris Casino to one at the Académie Française,” attacked the art that had become a mere accessory or a piece of bourgeois furniture – a lie which could be bought, a conveyor of conventions, whose declared romanticism or rebellion against command would set off corrosive yet always joyful salvos.

As for Relâche, it was with the complicity of his elder in salutary insolences, Erik Satie, that Picabia conceived it, along with the young, elegant René Clair, an art critic and writer in a sleeping Paris, a director who was an intact breath of freshness, whom he asked to direct the Entr’acte cinématographique which he had sketched out. And Jean Börlin, the dancer and official Swedish choreographer - was assigned the task of translating onto the bodies a part of the choreography of the piece, which was otherwise taken care of by the overwhelming kineticism of the scenographic art object he conceived of as a set, somewhere between blinding sculpture and flashing luminous tableau. He was asked to speak three of the most familiar languages spoken by audiences in certain dark Parisian theatres of the time – music hall, circus and ballet – to twist them into a sort of braid in which quotes and puns and insinuations of a deliberate casualness would undo the normal hierarchies and communicate his enigmas. Between collage and montage and these newer procedures of the art of that time, the curtain went up on a fiction. And while the “bride” of art, once “stripped naked by its bachelors,” gets dressed in order to later undress them – it is to the audience that Picabia asks this question: what is the Entr’acte (something taking place between two acts) for those who are on Relâche (in French the word means a day of no performance, or that the theatre is closed)?

Christophe Wavelet

Credits

An instantaneous ballet in two acts, a cinematographic entracte and The Dog’s Tail
Conception 1924 : Francis Picabia
Music : Erik Satie
Choreography : Jean Börlin
Film : René Clair

Reenactment - 2014

Choreography : Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley
Historical research and dramaturgy : Christophe Wavelet
Set design : Annie Tolleter
Lighting : Eric Wurtz
Historiacal research about the 1920s: Carole Boulbès
Costumes : Costume department of CCN - Ballet de Lorraine

Börlin, Jean

Swedish dancer and choreographer. Born in Härnösand, Sweden, 13 March 1893. Studied at the Royal Theatre School, Stockholm, pupil of Gunhild Rosen, 1902-05; later studied with Mikhail Fokine, Copenhagen, and José Otero, Madrid, 1918-20. Dancer, Royal Theatre, Stockholm, 1905-1918: second soloist, from 1913; after period of independent study and experiments in choreography, leading dancer in recital financed by Rolf de Maré, Paris, 1920, leading to establishment of company: sole choreographer and principal dancer, Ballets Suédois, founded and financed by de Maré, based in Paris and touring widely in Europe and U.S., 1920-25; also appeared in two films directed by René Clair, Entr'acte (1924) and Le Voyage imaginaire (1925); dancer, Théâtre des Champs Élysées, Paris, 1925, also touring in recitals, including North and South America; leading dancer in recital with his own pupils, Paris, 1929. Died in New York, 6 December 1930.


Jean Börlin, a Swedish ballet dancer who studied Bournonville and Italian techniques before training with Mikhail Fokine in Stockholm and Copenhagen, was the principal dancer and choreographer for the Ballets Suédois. In that capacity he collaborated with some of the foremost composers and artists of his time--including Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau, Francis Picabia, Fernand Leger, and Paul Claudel--to create some of the most innovative ballets of the early twentieth century.


Rolf de Maré, the founder of the Ballets Suédois, hired Börlin in 1920 and based his company in Paris. Apart from de Maré, Börlin, and a few dancers from the Stockholm Royal Opera, there was not much else that was Swedish about the Ballets Suédois. Originally de Maré had wanted to use the company as a vehicle for translating Swedish folk themes into modern theatre, but the Ballets Suédois made a name for itself with avant-garde ballets combining the choreography of Jean Börlin with the work of French librettists, composers, and painters.


With its first Paris season in 1920, the Ballets Suédois established itself as the artistic successor to Diaghilev's declining Ballets Russes. Comparisons of Börlin to Vaslav Nijinsky, the principal dancer of the Ballets Russes, were inevitable. In fact, Paul Claudel conceived L'Homme et son désir in 1917 as a vehicle for Nijinsky, who, it turned out, could not perform the role because of his disintegrating mental health. In 1921, after seeing Jean Börlin and the Ballets Suédois, Claudel and his collaborators offered the ballet to the new company. Whether or not Börlin's dancing was like Nijinsky's, his choreography was certainly similar to Fokine's.


Börlin's choreography adhered closely to the "five principles" Fokine had formulated for the Ballets Russes: movement corresponded to subject matter, period, and musical style; dance and gesture advanced dramatic action; dancers' entire bodies were used; the corps de ballet was integral to the ballet rather than just ornamental; and the dance was combined with other arts. Börlin's movement was described by some critics as very much like pantomime and not very "dancey", reflecting his emphasis on expression rather than a traditional dance vocabulary. His use of popular dances such as the shimmy and the foxtrot in Within The Quota, to music by Cole Porter, is an example of movement corresponding to subject matter, period, and musical style.


After staging their most ambitious piece, Relâche, in 1924, de Maré and Börlin decided to disband the Ballets Suédois. Börlin gave recitals in South America and two more concerts in Paris before he died in New York at the age of 37.


Source : Gale Group’s website

Riolon, Luc

After studies of mathematics preparatory class and medecine studies, Luc Riolon begins to make films within the framework of his Faculty of Medicine, then met the famous choreographers of the 80s (Maguy Marin, Mark Tompkins, Josef Nadj, Daniel Larrieu Daniel, Odile Duboc, Josette Baiz, Angelin Prljocaj, etc.) with whom he shoots numerous films (re-creation for the camera, the illegal securements). In the 80s with the American choreographer Mark Tompkins he introduces the video on the stage, broadcasting live on big screens the images which he shoots with his camera by being on the stage with the dancers, mixing live images and pre-recorded images. With Daniel Larrieu he participates in the creation of the famous show WATERPROOF, the contemporary choreography which takes place in a swimming pool, by filming live) the dancers dancing in the water and mixing the live images with pre-recorded underwater images. This choreography has been shown in many countries (USA, Canada, Spain, England…)
Then he collaborates during 10 years with the famous french TV producer Eve Ruggieri for her programs" Musics in the heart ". He shoots with her of numerous documentaries about classical music, opera singers and dance. From 1999 he directs documentaries of scientific popularization, by following researchers attached to the resolution of a particular ecologic enigma. These two artistic and scientific domains which can seem separated are nevertheless, for Luc Riolon, connected by the same approach : the deep desire to understand the world, by the art or by the scientific research, and to restore it to the largest number. Among his recent scientific documentaries, we can quote for example " The Enigma of the Black Caiman ", Living and dying in the swamp " or " The Nile delta: The end of the miracle ". “Chernobyl, a natural history ? “ These documentaries of scientific popularization recently have been awarded in international festivals.


Source: Vimeo

CCN - Ballet de Lorraine

Since acquiring the CCN title in 1999, the Centre Chorégraphique National - Ballet de Lorraine has dedicated itself to supporting contemporary choreographic creation. As of July 2011 the organization is under the general and artistic direction of Petter Jacobsson.
The CCN – Ballet de Lorraine and its company of 26 dancers is one of the most important companies working in Europe, performing contemporary creations while retaining and programming a rich and extensive repertory, spanning our modern history, made up of works by some of our generations most highly regarded choreographers.
The CCN functions as an art center and venue for multiple possibilities in the fields of research, experimentation and artistic creation. It is a platform open to many different disciplines, a space where the many visions of dance of today may meet. 

More information : http://ballet-de-lorraine.eu 

Relâche

Artistic direction / Conception : Conception 1924 : Francis Picabia

Choreography : Jean Börlin // Reprise 2014 : Petter Jacobsson et Thomas Caley

Interpretation : CCN - Ballet de Lorraine

Artistic consultancy / Dramaturgy : Recherche historique et dramaturgie : Christophe Wavelet

Set design : Annie Tolleter

Original music : Erik Satie

Video conception : René Clair

Lights : Eric Wurtz

Costumes : Atelier costumes du CCN - Ballet de Lorraine Avec la participation des élèves de la section broderie du Lycée Lapie de Lunéville

Other collaborations : Recherches historiques sur les années 1920 : Carole Boulbès

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