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CN D - Centre national de la danse 2000 - Director : Cassou, Jérôme

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France)

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

Video producer : Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr


CN D - Centre national de la danse 2000 - Director : Cassou, Jérôme

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France)

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

Video producer : Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr


With Voltes, created in 2000, Catherine Diverrès embarked on a project focusing on three pillars, which drew together questions on the memory of works, on their transmission and on solo performance.

The first part of the work focuses, in fact, on solo passages from her creations Instance, L'Arbitre des élégances, Concertino, Corpus, Ces poussières and L'Ombre du ciel [1], which the choreographer chose to pass on to two female performers from her Company, Carole Gomès and Isabelle Kürzi.

“(...) I understood that I could pass on something very intimate and from the past, something that is not comparable with the process of creation, because in the latter, I focus on characters and develop from that. Here, it is something secret, an innermost gift. It is like leaving behind our last private perimeter. I am delighted to see these forms reappearing and coming to life again, these impulses that were with me for fifteen years of my life or so, flashes, small fragments of past works, inhabited by other women today. Later on, perhaps, they will pass on these dances. (…)” [2]

The solos follow on one after the other, danced in turn by each performer, who embrace them with particular respect just as they address them with courage – moreover, respecting the dance of another, what exactly would it be, if it is not necessarily betraying it?

Isabelle Kürzi, standing in lateral light, already perceived in another creation, begins the first solo. The dance, carried along by the assurance of a toned body which endows it with an incomparable terrestrial dimension, proves here to be delicate yet solid. Carole Gomès, afterwards, full of strength and totally focused, embraces a movement stopped, in its tracks, whose abandons are controlled in extremis, in a sort of dance of authority that seems constantly on the verge of rupture. The first reappears, long dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves, languishing the movement subtly to the unsettling sound of a violin.

The second re-emerges in dried blood-red, jumping and arching, her immense arms appear to split an industrial storm conjured up by the blatant noises of clocks and machines. The first comes back again, she resembles a bride, perhaps a communicant, floating, virginal icon whose expertly articulate arms play to reveal a second presence. Carole Gomes returns, wearing a black bustier dress, her body seems to be waiting, suspended on demi-pointe. From the dancer’s arms-wings, and from her back-bird surreptitiously shaken by spasms, a sphere of an enlarged or reduced intimate space gradually takes shape, opening out onto an inside parade at various levels.

The final solo is performed by Isabelle Kürzi: guided, first of all, by a meticulously precise perambulation, curled up, hands holding high the swathes of a terracotta-coloured dress, the dancer spreads out its whole length. Through the effects of the voile of the statuary dress, we perceive an innermost world that is just beginning to bloom, that reveals itself as the movement unfolds sprinkled with dazzling stars, like a romantic ballerina, succeeded by a geisha, and then by a dancer favoured with perfectly Baroque sophistication.

In the second part of the work, Catherine Diverrès reinterprets her solo from Stance 2, created in 1997. Her bent-over entrance, comparable to that of a very old woman, enkindles a distant semblance overwhelmed by clouds, crossed by a bright white line. In this respect, we can perceive, at least at the very beginning, the imprint of the last solo danced by Isabelle Kürzi in the first part of the work. In this context, this resonance is particularly meaningful, insofar as, here, we are witnessing the act of handing over the creations to other dancers: the figure of the old woman, as such, becomes symbolic, and we cannot help but read a parable of recollection of both the work and the gift.

Hands feeling their way around, observers or partners, sidestep, invent and bring an imaginary object to life – a body? - which would appear to be entrapped in a mobility made of curves, yet designed for the sharp, the cutting, and only rounding out at the very last moment, almost by accident. The dancer’s body, which was initially curled, presents itself now in substance to the air of the stage, so frugally lit up that it becomes abyssal. The silhouette, in turn vagabond and incisive, metamorphoses with every movement; behold furtively, while arms stretch out, the shadow of Pavlova’s swan passes by… And in this dance that is forever folding and unfolding, we catch a glimpse of a body covered with references to the history of choreography, including of course her own.

Alice Gervais-Ragu

[1] Solos danced by Catherine Diverrès herself when the works were created
[2] Catherine Diverrès about Voltes, July 2000


“It is this memory woven together by long years of work that the choreographer reconsiders in Voltes, her latest creation. A corpus of pure dance, exclusively composed of the choreographer’s own solos”.

Irène Filiberti about Voltes, 2001

Updating: March 2014

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:

Cassou, Jérôme

Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne

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