“Ces poussières”, a work for six dancers and an actor, which premiered in autumn 1993 at the Quartz in Brest, following a creative residence, went on to be performed at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, then in Limoges and La Rochelle. The work was contrived during a particularly busy period for the Studio DM because, at the same time, “Instance”, its foundational creation, was touring (triumphantly) Eastern Europe whilst the Catherine Diverrès - Bernardo Montet tandem were applying for the directorship of the National Choreographic Centre of Rennes and Brittany (CCNRB), which they were granted in January 1994.
“Ces poussières”, which criss-crosses pictorial and textual references, draws its inspiration from the character of Raskolnikov – the tormented protagonist of the novel “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – coming face to face with scenes taken from the work of the painter Francisco Goya, from his “Los Caprichos”. There is also a scene inspired by the tapestry cartoon “The Puppet” (1792). “The world, disturbed, stifling, feverish, pushed to the paroxysm by Dostoyevsky, the permanence of doubles conjures up Goya’s world, a fantasy, carnavalesque universe where everything is about to become its opposite” comments the choreographer, “Both hurtle us back like a boomerang to the world of today, not as an image but as reality”. 
This new creation paves the way for work on space, which Catherine Diverrès would pursue hand-in-hand with other stage designers for many years to come. A highly-original scenic set-up imagined by Jean Haas provides the performers with a mobile decor comprising risers shifted as wished containing havens where solos, duos and other combinations criss-crossed, to music by J.-S. Bach, Lou Reed and Heinz Holliger. The lighting by Dominique Bruguière – who worked with Claude Régy, Jérôme Deschamps and Claude Chéreau, and for whom it was to be her first collaboration with Catherine Diverrès – provide the set with contrasts to the theatrical violence, which was customary in the choreographer’s work.
Moving away from the “investigation into tragedy”, undertaken in “Tauride” (1992) where the choreographer had, according to Irène Filiberti, “physically experienced the limit to give to meaning”, Catherine Diverrès situates “Ces poussières” on the edges of realism “between reason and delusion”, “in an equivocal space, without beginning, without end” . For Irène Filiberti, the work embodies the choreographer’s “nihilistic voyages”, which would lead her to create “Corpus” and to meet the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy.
From the point of view of the existence of literary material, “Ces poussières” was a climax in the choreographer’s work. It would frequently be quoted as such as the perfect counterpoint to her following creation, “L’ombre du ciel” (1994) – her inaugural work when she established herself in Rennes – in which Catherine Diverrès was eager to distance herself from her previous works and to “return to a purer form of dance, more akin to “Instance” .
 C. Diverrès, Quartz programme, Brest, 30 September-1 October 1993.
 I. Filiberti, Catherine Diverrès mémoires passantes, Paris : Centre national de la danse ; L'Oeil d'or, 2010, p. 117.
 C. Diverrès quoted by D. Orvoine, “Entretien avec Catherine Diverrès”, CCN in Rennes, 28 April 1994.
“As soon as the core, the moral dilemma, is extracted, then the figure of crime and its issue awakens. Raskolnikov, the central character, is multiplied. What madness, what fevers take hold of Bernardo Montet, capture Lluis Ayet, Thierry Baë, Fabrice Dasse and Alain Rigout? What dreams, punishment, exorcisms do Katja Fleig and Catherine Diverrès indulge in? This glorification of madness exposes itself to a truth into which the dancers venture between projections and holes depending on the mobile decor that configures the space: two object-boxes restrict the space and provoke eccentric movement where solos and duos are multiplied. Although, at the beginning, the spectator is carried along by the reassuring style of the story, although there is talk about “lice” and “this dust” (ces poussières, title of the work), suddenly we notice that only a spectre of the story remains, that the gestures are much more related to rites and the questionings that are firmly addressed: “What has happened to the time of the assassins?” are replaced by magnificent images, that are caustic, fantastic and grotesque – depending on whether they flicker from the Russian novel or Goya’s engravings, the writer and the painter were pursued for their closeness of mind”.
I. Filiberti, “Catherine Diverrès, mémoires passantes”, Paris : Centre national de la danse (Parcours d'artiste) ; L'Oeil d'or, 2010, p. 117-118
“Ces Poussières, 1993, rejuvenates reflection, and reflection about dance, on the real field of choreographic research. The ephemeral and painful grace that all human beings carry within. This dust (poussières, in French) that makes us up can strive for, can make a claim to that: a little beauty occasionally, at the clearest moment of the blackness, through awkwardness, and through inadvertence. An oversight, a contradiction, a parapraxis. Nothing. Beauty, be it unintentionally, awaits us. This is what Catherine Diverrès pursues in her dancers and it is the incomparable trust that she offers us, as spectators: to acknowledge this fleeting brilliance, this feeling that occasionally makes us look further, beyond; this strength that pulls us upwards”.
Philippe Brzezanski, CCNRB website, 2002
Latest update: April 2014
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: compagnie-catherine-diverres.com
Studio DM, Réalisation
Choreography : Catherine Diverrès
Interpretation : Luis Ayet, Thierry Baë, Fabrice Dasse, Catherine Diverrès, Katja Fleig, Bernardo Montet, Alain Rigout
Set design : Jean Haas
Text : « Crime et châtiment », Dostoïevski.
Additionnal music : Johann-Sebastian Bach, Heinz Holliger, Lou Reed
Lights : Dominique Bruguière
Costumes : Cidalia da Costa
Meeting with literature
Collaboration between a choreographer and a writer can lead to the emergence of a large number of combinations. If sometimes the choreographer creates his dance around the work of an author, the writer can also choose dance as the subject of his text.