Following an initial collaboration for “The Show” in 2001, Foofwa d'Imobilité and Thomas Lebrun created “Un-twomen-show”. This was their response to a commission from Lille 2004/Capitale Culturelle, a show with the general theme of the Tango. The two choreographers decided to produce a “show documentary” capable of setting up a dialogue between the video and the proposed stage design. They obviously wanted to make reference to the history of the Argentinian tango, but they were also interested in how it has been used in the history of dance, particularly contemporary. They chose to quote from, even to parody, artists who have used the tango in their work: Jean-Claude Gallotta, Oscar Araïz, Merce Cunningham, Dominique Bagouet, Daniel Larrieu, Hans Van Manen… It was an opportunity to play with the identities of the genres and to borrow this couple dance to deconstruct the social roles of women and men. This show is an engaged show. But the engagement is with pleasure. The tremendous presence of the two performers transforms the pastiche into a series of iconoclastic presentations which they call “théorires” in French (a portmanteau of “theories” and “laugh”).
Laughter is a lucid force.
From tango lessons à la Mademoiselle Yvonne to the butchers' tango by Boris Vian (in chanson de geste style), from a Geisha duet to an American review, the choreographers grab hold of clichés to offer us an alternative reading. Derision keeps seriousness at bay and opens the way for the deformation of codes and forms. The Argentinean writer Jose-Luis Borges recalls the tango he saw “danced against the golden background of dusk by people capable of a quite other dance, that of the knife”. But here, the knife is this theatrical blade, which stabs to the heart of falsehood's power. Foofwa d'Imobilité and Thomas Lebrun take a “social dance”, appropriate it and transform it as they will. The dancers draw on their respective territories to mutually influence each other and their complementary natures create shifts. In this final part of the show, one is dressed in white, the other in black: the pairing of yin and yang. Their connivance is generous and draws us into a dressing-up game where the mask is an art of surfaces, an art of living, a joyful obstruction to oversimplifications around the issue of identity. Their precision in movement is astounding in contrast to the casualness they flaunt. Excess is combined with the art of detail, popular practice calls upon cultural capital; a cabaret performance gives an account of an enquiry into contemporary art. Everything happens as if, finally, it is the possibility of playing itself that is at stake.
Digital resource by the Médiathèque du Centre national de la danse
Updating: March 2010
Thomas Lebrun has danced for Bernard Glandier, Daniel Larrieu, Christine Bastin, Christine Jouve and Pascal Montrouge, and founded the Illico company in 1998, after composing the solo “Cache Ta Joie!“. Based in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, he was first of all an associated artist at Vivat, Armentières (2003-2005) before taking on a similar role in 2006 at Danse à Lille CDC (Centre for Choreographic Development). “On prendra bien le temps d'y être”, “(La) Trêves” “Les Soirées What You Want?”, “Switch”, “Itinéraire d'un danseur grassouillet” and now “La Constellation Consternée” are all works that are also aesthetic worlds which are explored, allying demanding and precise dance with an assertive theatricality.
Thomas Lebrun has also composed a number of pieces in collaboration, notably with the Swiss choreographer Foofwa d'Imobilité (“Le Show” / “Un Twomen Show”) and the French choreographer Cécile Loyer (Que tál!), and makes training and teaching a priority. She teaches at the CND (National Dance Centre) in Pantin and Lyon, Ménagerie de Verre, La Rochelle Conservatoire, Balletéatro de Porto, etc.
He has also choreographed for foreign companies, such as the Liaonning National Ballet in China, Grupo Tapias in Brazil (a solo and, in 2009, a quintet for the Year of France in Brazil) and for Loreta Juodkaité, the Lithuanian dancer
in the 2009 edition of the New Baltic Dance Festival in Vilnius et for FranceDanse Vilnius managed by CulturesFrance (Vilnius, European cultural capital 2009).
In 2012, Thomas Lebrun becomes the new artistic director for the Centre chorégraphique national de Tours.
Last update : May 2011
Born Frédéric Gafner in Geneva in 1969, son of Brazilian prima ballerina and dance teacher Beatriz Consuelo and solo dancer turned theatre photographer Claude Gafner, Foofwa d’Imobilité studied at the Geneva Dance Centre and worked with the Ballet Junior (1981-1987) under his mother’s direction. He then danced professionally with the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany (1987-1990) before joining the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York (1991-1998).
He began working as a choreographer in 1998, creating three multimedia solos.
In 2000, he established the Neopost Foofwa Association in Geneva, with which he produced several group performances. Foofwa has worked in association with mix-media artists Alan Sondheim; artist Antoine Lengo; musicians Fast Forward, Jim O’Rourke, Christian Marclay, Elliot Sharp, Polar, Brice Catherin, Claude Jordan, Nicolas Sordet and Séni; visual artists Nicolas Rieben and Alexia Walther; video makers Pascal Magnin, Nicolas Wagnières and Pascal Dupoy; choreographers Thomas Lebrun and Corina Pia; author Mathieu Bertholet; lighting designers Liliane Tondellier, Jean-Marc Serre, Marc Gaillard, Yves Godin and Jonathan O’Hear; scientists Olaf Blanke and Vincent Barras; dance researcher Annie Suquet and journalist-critic Christina Thurner.
He has studied the relationship between dance and sport and invented the “dancerun”, a hybrid activity between dancing and running over several kilometres, either on stage with « Perform.dancerun.2 » (2003) or outside with « Kilometrix.dancerun.4 » (2003). He then studied the relationship between public and choreographic work in « The Making of Spectacles » (2008) and « Quai du Sujet » (2007); the digital body in « Media Vice Versa » (2002), « Avatar dance series », « Second Live series » (videos), and « Body Toys » (2007); the historicity of the dancing body in « Descendansce » (2000), Le Show (2001), MIMESIX (2005), Benjamin de Bouillis (2005), « Musings » (2009), Pina Jackson in « Mercemoriam » (2009) and « Histoires Condansées » (2011). Foofwa has been commissioned by the Nederlands Dans Theater II, the Bern Ballet, the Ballet Junior de Genève, the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD) and the Festival d’Avignon in 2010 for « Au Contraire » (à partir de Jean-Luc Godard). He has received the financial backing of the Geneva and the Swiss authorities every year since 2002 and received awards from the Leenaards Foundation in 1999 and the prestigious New York Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2009. He was also awarded the Prix de Lausanne in 1987, the New York Bessie Award in 1995, the Swiss Dance and Choreography Prize in 2006 and the first Swiss Prize for Dance in the “dancer” category in September 2013, among other prizes.
His most recent performances include « Uterus, pièce d’intérieur » (2014), « L’engage » (2014), and « Soi-même comme un autre » (2014).
Source: The company Neopost Foofwa s website
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
Thomas Lebrun et Foofwa d'Imobilité
Thomas Lebrun et Foofwa d'Imobilité - D'après les chorégraphies et les témoignages de Hans Van Manen, Dominique Bagouet, Merce Cunningham, Jean-Claude Gallotta, Daniel Larrieu, Mark Tompkins, Oscar Azaïz, Alain Buffard
Thomas Lebrun et Foofwa d'Imobilité
Foofwa d'Imobilité en collaboration avec Thomas Lebrun
Mme Butterfly-Puccini, Rosendo-Orquesta Greco, Azabache-Paul Beron, El Chucho-Orquesta, Tipica Portera, Mme Yvonne-Carlos Gardel, Cité tango-Astor Piazzolla, La Argentina-Julia Miguenez , Les joyeux bouchers-Boris Vian, Ana d'Omerka-Lili Boniche
Prise de vue pour Mademoiselle Yvonne Angèle Micaux - Vidéo Foofwa d'Imobilité en collaboration avec Thomas Lebrun
Thomas Lebrun avec la participation d'Angèle Micaux - Conception des perruques Elisabeth Delesalle