STAYIN ALIVE: the title of Mark Tompkins’s new work incorporates some of the paradoxes that he has been continually grappling with throughout his career: creating confusion, mixing the spectacular and the intimate, interweaving the resources of the voice and the body and disguises of every kind, introducing to the contemporary stage a web of influences from song to cabaret in order to explore the ambiguous relationship between fiction and embodiment. STAYIN ALIVE is thus a disco hit – one whose title immediately triggers the first notes in people’s minds – and a meaning, staying alive, which evokes a meditation on passing time, aging, death and the future for the dancer’s body. This work was inspired by the feeling of what it is like to now be categorised as ‘old’, with your career behind you: too old to dance, to move, to create. Faced with this silent injunction to disappear and become a name in history, Mark Tompkins asserts the persistence of the body as a force in the present: a body at the boundary between what he is and all his futures, all the states he has dreamt about. A danse macabre, STAYIN ALIVE goes back and forth, frolics, sings, sings again, repeats; lists real and imagined lives, states passed through and those that remain to be invented. The stage becomes a big fiction – the locus for the reality of bodies and at the same time for a scrap of eternity wrenched from time. In this show in which you never know what to take at face value, what to see as biting irony or a celebration of transformation, the passion for embodying persists.
A multi-faceted choreographer, singer and dancer, Mark Tompkins masters different genres and mixes forms in a tireless quest to break down barriers. With the company I.D.A., founded in 1983, he creates unique performances combining music, song, text and video. Created in collaboration with stage designer Jean-Louis Badet, his works veer between concerts, performances, solos and group pieces, such as the musical trilogy BLACK’N’BLUES (2010), OPENING NIGHT (2012) and SHOWTIME (2013). In 2017, he created BAMBI un drame familial, then HOLY ROLLER with and for James Carlès and RESURRECTION in collaboration with Mariana Tengner Barros.
Source: program of the CND
Mark Tompkins is an American dancer, choreographer and teacher living in France since 1973. After a series of solos and group collaborations, he founds his company, I.D.A. in 1983. Over the years, Tompkins' unique way of fabricating unidentified performance objects has become his signature. Solos, group pieces and concerts that mix dance, music, voice, text and video are steps of this journey initiated in the 70's, and continued with the complicity of set and costume designer Jean-Louis Badet since 1988. His passion for improvisation and Real time composition leads him to collaborate with many dancers, musicians, video makers and light designers. Renowned for his teaching, he travels extensively around the world. Winner of the International Choreography Contest in Bagnolet in 1984. He has created works nearly every year since then.
Source : Mark Tompkins’s website
More information :
Centre national de la danse, Réalisation
Since 2001, the National Center for Dance (CND) has been making recordings of its shows and educational programming and has created resources from these filmed performances (interviews, danced conferences, meetings with artists, demonstrations, major lessons, symposia specialized, thematic arrangements, etc.).
Artistic direction / Conception : Mark Tompkins
Interpretation : Mark Tompkins
Artistic consultancy / Dramaturgy : Jean-Louis Badet
Stage direction : Frans Poelstra
Set design : Jean-Louis Badet
Additionnal music : Song For Our Ancestors – Steve Miller ; Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees ; I Would Die 4 U – Prince ; I Am What I Am – Gloria Gaynor ; When the Music’s Over – The Doors ; The End – The Beatles ; Private Eyes, Emotional Blackmail, Hot or Cold, Blind Date, Stay Alive – composées par Nuno Rebelo & Mark Tompkins – Mark Lewis & The Standards ; Is That All There Is, arrangement Sarah Murcia (piano & contrebasse), Benoît Delbecq (piano)
Lights : Titouan Lechevalier
Costumes : Jean-Louis Badet
Technical direction : David Farine
Other collaborations : Enregistré au CND le 25 mars 2018