Charles Picq, dance film director
- Entering the world of dance...
- His collaborations, his creations
- Promoting dance, increasing public awareness, putting together a dance memory
“For over thirty years, Charles Picq filmed dance like no-one else, exalting choreographies through his camera lens”. (Lucas Ottin)
Entering the world of dance...
Charles Picq started out working with the Espace lyonnais d’art contemporain (E.L.A.C. – Lyon’s contemporary art centre) then met the group Frigo (a Lyon-based collective which championed alternative culture) with which he produced videoed works for several years. At the same time, as soon as the Maison de la Danse in Lyon opened in 1980, the film director was immediately invited to take part in the adventure and was given the mission of producing audiovisual archives by filming the performances programmed by the theatre.
“Charles Picq was incredibly present yet also excessively discreet. And, that’s probably why he filmed dance so well”. (Agnès Izrine, 2012)
“When the feverish buzz of the public turns to silence, when darkness sets in throughout the theatre and light illuminates the stage, then I trigger my camera and everything begins”. (Charles Picq, 2002)
His collaborations, his creations
The director went far beyond the scope of his videomaking mission by exploring the field of creation. Through the Maison de la Danse and different projects which he had previously been involved with, Charles Picq became the accomplice of several choreographers such as Dominique Bagouet, Claude Brumachon, Carolyn Carlson, Régine Chopinot, Andy de Groat, Michel Kelemenis, Abou Lagraa, Susanne Linke and Mourad Merzouki. In addition to recording their performances live, he also produced real video creations with some of these artists, where the art of dance and the art of image are woven together.
“It’s remarkable to see how people dance when you’re behind a camera”. (Charles Picq, 2002)
His filmography comprises a few dozen films, including Song, A Woman of Many Faces and Vu d'Ici with Carolyn Carlson, Tant mieux, tant mieux !, Planète Bagouet, Necesito and So schnell with Dominique Bagouet, Enchaînement, Im bade wannen, Flut and Wandelung with Susanne Linke, Le Cabaret Latin with Karine Saporta, La danse du temps with Régine Chopinot, La veillée des abysses with James Thierrée, Nuit Blanche with Abou Lagraa, as well as the documentaries Grand Ecart, Mama Africa, Lyon le pas de deux d'une ville, Le Défilé, Un Rêve de cirque…
Promoting dance, increasing public awareness, putting together a dance memory
In the 1990s, he became the Director of Video Development for the Maison de la Danse. He established the first-ever freely-accessible, free-of-charge dance video library, initiated the creation of the video-bar and the video presentation of the theatre seasons. In 2005, Charles Picq imagined the DVD Le Tour du monde en 80 danses (Around the World in 80 Dances) which portrays the great choreographic works of the 20th century illustrated as commented abstracts.
“A video library is a treasure trove. Although there may definitely be a few fossils in there, just how many illuminating gems are hidden within... gems which often, and without us realizing it when we created the work, were to pulse the course of history, the history of trends and styles, of fresh thinking as regards bodies in movement”. (Charles Picq, 2002)
The archives, which Charles Picq created, have developed into an impressive collection since the 1980s, with hundreds of hours of videos which the director wished to make accessible to everyone. He imagined a freely-accessible, free-of-charge online editorialized video library which would honour the video work, the choreographic work and its author. He reflected on this hand-in-hand with Laurent Sebillotte, Director of the French National Centre for Dance’s media library and with the support of the BNP Paribas Foundation.
This led to the 2011 creation of the Maison de la Danse’s website Numeridanse.tv, the first-ever online audiovisual platform totally dedicated to dance. This project would go on to become the project of a whole community: artists, national choreographic centres, companies, theatres, festivals, heritage sites and producers who deposit their digital archives on the site.
Charles Picq passed away on 28 November 2012. Throughout his career, he was committed to developing and transmitting choreographic culture and, today, continues to be considered as one of the great dance film directors, acknowledged as a peer and an artist by choreographers.