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Maison de la Danse de Lyon 1983 - Director : Picq, Charles

Choreographer(s) : Petit, Dominique (France)

Present in collection(s): Maison de la Danse de Lyon , Saisons 1980 > 1989

Video producer : Maison de la Danse de Lyon

Integral video available at Maison de la danse de Lyon

en fr


Maison de la Danse de Lyon 1983 - Director : Picq, Charles

Choreographer(s) : Petit, Dominique (France)

Present in collection(s): Maison de la Danse de Lyon , Saisons 1980 > 1989

Video producer : Maison de la Danse de Lyon

Integral video available at Maison de la danse de Lyon

en fr


About the two performances: Les pas perdus [The Lost Steps] and Aranzaquil

The creation of these two performances at La Maison de la Danse in December 1983 was an opportunity for me personally to produce my first group performance after a rather unfortunate experience two years previously during the Festival d'Avignon.

I had been relatively inexperienced in communication with regard to by creations and, to boot, I can't remember whether there was a chance to write a few introductory lines for the programme to be distributed to visitors.

I would like to use this archiving opportunity to look back at what it was that underlay the writing of these two ballets, considered to be a genuine diptych.

At the time, I was a regular visitor of Peter Brook's creations at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord and was deeply moved by his film "Meetings with Remarkable Men" based on the 1979 work by Georges Gurdjeff.

The film traced Gurdjeff's spiritual quest in search of a mysterious brotherhood which he finally encountered in the Gobi Desert after a long trip. He discovered a small community for whom the search for spiritual elevation involved assiduous practice of music and dance. There was, moreover, a dance scene which particularly impressed me through its sheer clarity and power. 

However, above all, this film revealed the existence of a tradition, the like of which I was previously unaware, of which both the initiative and community dimension further reinforced the aspiration of bringing together the spiritual search and artistic practice which I harboured at this time.

These two performances hosted in 1983 in Lyon were, for me, a manner of portraying the deep impact of this film.

Les pas perdus [The Lost Steps] was, therefore, created on the basis of elements which had really left a strong impression on me during this dance scene in the film, that of the rigorous construction and geometry based on the ubiquitous rhythmic nature. I asked Denis Levaillant to pen a partition in nine acts which would offer a series of internal combinations, and he proposed that this be played by Youval Missenmacher on a Zarb, which is a traditional Iranian percussion instrument.

I wrote a dozen choreographic phrases over these nine acts on which almost the entire dance would be based, playing with a host of orientations throughout these phrases, combined with combinations of duos, trios and quartets, etc.

However, from the very outset I knew that this dance would only form part of the programme and that there should be a follow-up which showed the threat which I felt weighed over the transmission of certain traditions. 

And so, I imagined a second section in the form of a debacle by a small group of people violently chased out of their territories and forced into an exodus cutting them off from their cultural roots. I invented the name of a village, "Aranzaquil", which for me was located in Afghanistan, before the invasion of the Soviet Union.

This part of the diptych, unlike the first, written as a full partition, was made up of a hotchpotch of scenes all resulting from improvisations proposed to dancers on the basis of various themes related to exodus, deportation and the loss of cultural and spiritual landmarks, of which the sequence shows the progression of the internal uprooting of the characters.

In this second part of the composition the music followed that of the dance, with Denis Levaillant coming to the studio in person to watch the writing in progress of the various successive sequences and composing the music as this was happening.

Costumes and set design were developed and produced by Francis Coulet. Costumes were inspired by traditional village clothing (based on Japanese kimonos), in a ritual manner in the first act and on a more daily basis in the second.

Lighting was created by John Davis, who I knew well as lighting technical director for Carolyn Carlson at the GRTOP.

This was the second time I had worked with Denis Levaillant after our duo "D. D. Blue Gold Digger" presented at the Georges Pompidou Centre in 1982.

Dominique PETIT

December 2021

Petit, Dominique

French dancer, choreographer and pedagogue.

He discovered dance with K. Cremona, then left to study in New York with P. Sanasardo and went on to perform for him. When he arrived back in France in 1975, he joined the GRTOP (Groupe de recherches théâtrales de l'Opéra de Paris - Paris Opera theatrical research group), then created his company in 1980. A remarkable dancer, he would very quickly reveal his qualities as a choreographer... his highly-sensitive and poetic side from Ircea (1979), subtlety and sedateness, where the body comes into play, through to Lieux d'orages driven by his social and human commitment. Jade (1985), a magnificent duo created with Anne Carrié, and les Tournesols (1988), a powerful work about human beings, stand out in his rather discreet career which, nevertheless, counts some twenty-five creations. In 1997, he began teaching at the CNDC (National Centre for Contemporary Dance) in Angers.

He taught there for many years. Since 2001, he has been working as a contemporary dance teacher at the conservatory in La Roche-sur-Yon. In 2009, he created Danser, hors de soi in partnership with Daniel Dobbels.


Source : Daniel Dobbels website

Picq, Charles

Author, filmmaker and video artist Charles Picq (1952-2012) entered working life in the 70s through theatre and photography. A- fter resuming his studies (Maîtrise de Linguistique - Lyon ii, Maîtrise des sciences et Techniques de la Communication - grenoble iii), he then focused on video, first in the field of fine arts at the espace Lyonnais d'art Contemporain (ELAC) and with the group « Frigo », and then in dance.
   On creation of the Maison de la Danse in Lyon in 1980, he was asked to undertake a video documentation project that he has continued ever since. During the ‘80s, a decade marked in France by the explosion of contemporary dance and the development of video, he met numerous artists such as andy Degroat, Dominique Bagouet, Carolyn Carlson, régine Chopinot, susanne Linke, Joëlle Bouvier and regis Obadia, Michel Kelemenis. He worked in the creative field with installations and on-stage video, as well as in television with recorded shows, entertainment and documentaries.

His work with Dominique Bagouet (80-90) was a unique encounter. He documents his creativity, assisting with Le Crawl de Lucien and co-directing with his films Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux and 10 anges. in the 90s he became director of video development for the Maison de la Danse and worked, with the support of guy Darmet and his team, in the growing space of theatre video through several initiatives:
       - He founded a video library of dance films with free public access. This was a first for France. Continuing the video documentation of theatre performances, he organised their management and storage.
       - He promoted the creation of a video-bar and projection room, both dedicated to welcoming school pupils.
       - He started «présentations de saisons» in pictures.
       - He oversaw the DVD publication of Le tour du monde en 80 danses, a pocket video library produced by the Maison de la Danse for the educational sector.

       - He launched the series “scènes d'écran” for television and online. He undertook the video library's digital conversion and created Numeridanse.

His main documentaries are: enchaînement, Planète Bagouet, Montpellier le saut de l'ange, Carolyn Carlson, a woman of many faces, grand ecart, Mama africa, C'est pas facile, Lyon, le pas de deux d'une ville, Le Défilé, Un rêve de cirque.

He has also produced theatre films: Song, Vu d'ici (Carolyn Carlson), Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux, 10 anges, Necesito and So schnell, (Dominique Bagouet), Im bade wannen, Flut and Wandelung (Susanne Linke), Le Cabaret Latin (Karine Saporta), La danse du temps (Régine Chopinot), Nuit Blanche (Abou Lagraa), Le Témoin (Claude Brumachon), Corps est graphique (Käfig), Seule et WMD (Françoise et Dominique Dupuy), La Veillée des abysses (James Thiérrée), Agwa (Mourad Merzouki), Fuenteovejuna (Antonio Gades), Blue Lady revistied (Carolyn Carlson).

Source: Maison de la Danse de Lyon


Choreography : Dominique Petit

Interpretation : Anne Carrié, Bernadette Doneux, Pierre Doussaint, Isabelle Dubouloz, Dominique Petit, Giorgio Rosssi

Original music : Denis Levaillant

Lights : John Davis

Costumes : Francis Coulet

Settings : Francis Coulet

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Maison de la Danse de Lyon - Charles Picq, 1983

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