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Exquisite Corpse

Numeridanse.tv 2012

Choreographer(s) : Leighton, Joanne (Belgium)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse.tv , Joanne Leighton

Video producer : CCNFCB

en fr

Exquisite Corpse

Numeridanse.tv 2012

Choreographer(s) : Leighton, Joanne (Belgium)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse.tv , Joanne Leighton

Video producer : CCNFCB

en fr

Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse is a piece for 7 dancers constructed from dance material made by 58 choreographers using the «Cadavre Exquis» or «Exquisite Corpse» process.

Also known as an Exquisite Cadaver or Rotating Corpse, the Exquisite Corpse is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled, the result being known as an Exquisite Corpse or cadavre exquis in French. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. «The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun.») or by having access to an exerpt from the previous contribution.

The idea was originally developed by a group of artists and writers including Jacques Prevert, Yves Tanguy, and Andre Breton. The first sentence written using this process was Le cadavre - exquis - boira - le vin  - nouveau : The exquisite – corpse – will – drink – the new - wine. Hence the name le cadavre exquis or exquisite corpse. Since its development, the process has manifested itself across a  range of different artistic disciplines, commencing with poets and writers, but moving into the visual arts through artists such as Man Ray, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali. There have been a number of large scale multi-media and trans-disciplinary Cadavre Exquis performances, some of which are on-going. More recently, the internet, with its rhizomic multiplicity, heterogeneity and connectivity has provided a fertile ground for exploration of the Cadavre Exquis process, especially in fields such as digital arts.

The Exquisite Corpse process is one that further develops two of the central ideas which Joanne Leighton has been exploring in previous works: firstly, the use of pre-existant and non-original material as the basis for new choreographic work, and secondly, questions regarding authorship, originality, and the ownership and transfer of intellectual and cultural property.

Leighton, Joanne

Based in Paris Ile-de-France, Joanne Leighton is a Belgian-Australian choreographer. Her professional career is linked to an original, dynamic and constantly evolving vision of dance and her discourse is permeated by an emphasis on dialogue and exchange, both with the public and with her artistic collaborators. Central to her work lies the notion of site, territory and identity, which are for Joanne Leighton interdependant spaces.

After dancing in the Australian Dance Theater (1986-1991), Joanne Leighton moved to Europe, living and performing in London for 2 years. Her company Velvet was established in Brussels in 1993, where she built up her choreographic work, active for over 18 years. 

Directrice of the National Choreographic Center of Franche-Comté in Belfort in France (2010 – 2015). In 2015 Joanne Leighton formed WLDN, project, philosphy and platform for her choreographic research and creation. Her works have been performed nationally and internationally in theaters, urban and industriel spaces, art galleries, town squares, on rooftops and presented on screens and smartphones.

Joanne Leighton's choreographic work has been co-produced and presented on many international stages for over 20 years. Joanne Leighton has to her credit over twenty dance productions. This includes her stage work « Exquisite Corpse » (2012) an exquisite corpse for 57 worldwide choreographers and 7 dancers ; « Made in…Séries », a large scale ‘architecture in movement’ for 99 participants performed in situe and (re)created in France, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, Cuba ; « The Modulables », a series of site-specific pieces between installation and performance with an ambulatory public, which have been evolving over a period of 10 years. Joanne Leighton and the director Christoph Frick co-sign « Melting Pot » for 9 young performers from immigrant backgrounds, a cultural exchange between the Theater Freiburg, the CCN of Belfort and Junges Theater Basel ; « Chair Dances » (2010-2015), a virtual digital gallery comprising over 30 short choreographic films involving chairs ; « 9000 Steps » (2015), is performed by six dancers on a bed of salt to the music of Drumming, Steve Reich.

In September 2011, Joanne Leighton launched her large scale work, « The Vigil », a work for 732 inhabitants and performed over 366 consecutive days.  The Vigil of Evreux - « Les Veilleurs d'Evreux » is currently being mounted for the Scène Nationale Tangram in Evreux, the performance will premiere on the 22nd September 2017 - 22 Setpember 2018.

In parallel to her signature stage piece « 9000 Steps », Joanne Leighton has initiated a series of walking pieces with « WALK#1 Belfort – Freiburg », where she walked a path between the two Vigil sites by following waterways over 120 kms in four days. Since 2014 these ‘walking dances’ are part of her choreographic practice.

An internationally recognized pedagogue, Joanne Leighton regularly gives lectures and workshops. She has taught for companies such as Jean-Claude Gallotta, Catherine Diverrès, Angelin Preljocaj, Trisha Brown Company, Centre National Danse in Paris, Carolyn Carlson Atelier, Batsheva Company etc.

« Songlines », the new choreographic work for 6 dancers, will premiere in February 2018. Interested in finding new ways of being, doing, thinking, working, making and presenting, Joanne Leighton seeks to embrace a radically different approach to access, ownership, and authorship in contemporary dance performance.


Source: Joanne Leighton's website

More information: wldn.fr

Exquisite Corpse

Artistic direction / Conception : Joanne Leighton

Choreography : Joanne Leighton

Interpretation : Jérôme Andrieu, Matthieu Bajolet, Marion Carriau, Marie-Pierre Jaux, Massimo Fusco, Edouard Pelleray et Pauline Simon (distribution à la création)

Artistic consultancy / Dramaturgy : Elodie Bergerault

Set design : Nicolas Floc’h

Original music : Peter Crosbie

Lights : Maryse Gautier

Costumes : Corine Petitpierre

Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Le Rive Gauche, Scène conventionnée pour la danse - Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray / Le Granit - Scène nationale de Belfort / La Filature - Scène nationale de Mulhouse. Avec le soutien de : La Ménagerie de Verre dans le cadre de Studiolab et le Centre National de la danse (Pantin) pour la mise à disposition de leurs studios.

Exquisite Corpse : Processus

For Exquisite Corpse, each of the 58 choreographers were given access to the last few seconds of the previous section. They were asked to compose a choreographic response to it, a continuation, all choreographic material being in the form of a solo. Subsequently, the last few seconds of this new material was passed to the following choreographer, and so on. To start the process, Joanne Leighton made the first «choreographic module». At the conclusion of the process, the material was assembled in the order in which it was created, with each « choreographic module » following its generative precedent.

This sequence of solo material, 58 minutes long, became a «choreographic score» and was used as the starting point and base for the construction of the work for 7 dancers.

For the final piece, the solo material is always present and acts as a guiding thread. However it is expanded and developed by the 7 dancers across the duration of the full-length work through the use of a range of techniques. This solo is reproduced, commented upon, amplified, reflected for the duration of the piece. These processes  bring into play permutation, transformation, combination, derivation, parody, pastiche, imitation, reduction and augmentation, distortion, contamination and substitution.  Duos, larger sections in unison, multi-layered renderings - all spin off from the original Rotating Corpse and various «choreographic modules», which becomes, in effect, a score to be (re)interpreted. This is very similar to the compositional technique in music, «cantus firmus», or fixed voice, where a pre-existing monophonic melody is used as the basis for the construction of a new polyphonic work.

Central to the process of Exquisite Corpse is the question of documentation and transmission of danced material. The work poses diverse questions including «alongside direct oral transmission or the use of video, what non-textual forms of notation, composition, documentation or description are available to us for the conservation and the exchange of choreographic content ?». In order to facilitate the accurate exchange of information between the choreographers involved in the Rotating Corpse process, the piece also explores new ways of documenting and transmitting dance material through the use of multimedia and informatique systems.

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