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CN D - Centre national de la danse 1996 - Director : Fruits

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France)

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

en fr


CN D - Centre national de la danse 1996 - Director : Fruits

Choreographer(s) : Diverrès, Catherine (France)

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

en fr


A work for ten dancers created during the Montpellier-Danse Festival in 1996, “Fruits” draws its inspiration from a poem by Friedrich Hölderlin and from which she created her title – “Les fruits sont mûrs” (The fruits are ripe) –, which conjures up for the choreographer “a carnal and sensual aspect as well as the presence of the cycle of death”: “Sensuality exists in life”, she states. “But a fruit can be rotten. If we talk about flesh, then we talk about decomposition”. [1]

« Les fruits sont mûrs, baignés de feu, cuisants,
Et goûtés sur la terre ; une Loi veut
Que tout se glisse comme des serpents au cœur des choses,
Prophétique, rêvant sur
Les collines du ciel. Et il y a beaucoup
(Comme aux épaules, une
Charge de bois bûché)
A maintenir. Mais perfides
Sont les sentiers. Oui, hors du droit chemin,
Comme des coursiers, s'emportent les Eléments
Captifs et les antiques
Lois de la Terre. Et sans cesse un désir vers ce qui
N'est point
Lié s'élance. Il y a beaucoup à maintenir. Il faut être fidèle.
Mais nous ne regarderons point devant nous, ni
Derrière, nous laissant bercer comme
Dans une tremblante barque de la mer. »

“The fruits are ripe, dipped in fire,
Cooked and sampled on earth. And there's a law,
That things crawl off in the manner of snakes,
Prophetically, dreaming on the hills of heaven. And there is much that needs to be retained,
Like a load of wood on the shoulders. But the pathways are dangerous. The captured elements and ancient laws of earth
Run astray like horses. There is a constant yearning
For all that is unconfined. But much needs to be retained. And loyalty is required.
Yet we mustn't look forwards or backwards.
We should let ourselves be cradled
As if on a boat rocking on a lake. » [2]

“Fruits”, imagined when she returned to France from ex-Yugoslavia, was created with the complicity of the stage designer Daniel Jeanneteau – a clearly identified associate of Claude Régy – who had just returned from a trip to Beirut. Both of them were inhabited by images of the destroyed landscapes that they had seen. It was Daniel who suggested Hölderlin’s poem to C. Diverrès: “I was stunned when I saw this poem. I thought that it was definitely a matrix for creating something”. [3] She specifies moreover how she perceived it: “The text evokes the fleeting aspect of things and how to prolong passing moments. As such, the creation would speak about time. But the poem, just like the work, also evokes the violence of the elements in nature and the recurrent violence in human beings”. [4]

Drawing its inspiration from a war with no name, the subject of “Fruits” is the rage to destroy expressed by movements that are often violent. The central focus of the stage design is a monumental metallic grill cover (eight metres by fifteen) which totally covers the stage house lengthwise and heightwise. Made of worn steel, it conjures up a grill cover riddled with bullet holes and is inhabited quite unusually by a hen. Erected right in the middle of the stage during the first hour of the performance, it instigates a challenge that is both scenic and political: “how will the dance manage to shine through this heaviness?”, “how will the dance manage to crack this invisible and pernicious wall?”. Along with “Tauride” (1992) and “Ces poussières” (1993), “Fruits” is one of Catherine Diverrès’ creations that reflects current events the most. Interviews provide the choreographer with a floor for expressing her intellectual and political commitment through dance.

A programme talks about a “dance that tastes of ashes” [5] and, not without reason: in fact, the performance takes place “on the dust of charred ground, a dark expanse that carries us back in time and incites awakening” confirms Irène Filiberti [6]. Daniel Jeanneteau drew his inspiration from a photo of disaster-stricken Beirut to create “extremely poor, extremely blackened ground”, a substance that the choreographer wished to see mixed with litter “with ochre objects that look like the bark of trees” [7]. He states as such:
“To distrust complacency, images
Ground covered in sludge, Joan at the stake, liquid gold
Finally, the mushy vermiculite granita, dance with that.
Treacherous, uncomfortable ground. The litter, the pigeon droppings, abandon, death”. [8]

The creation, which lasts for two hours, is performed by ten dancers of various nationalities (German, Austrian, Brazilian, American, French, Italian), including only two – Fabrice Dasse, who joined the Company in 1992, and Cécile Loyer, in 1994, - who had already taken part in the work of the choreographer, who had established herself in Rennes two years before. It is worth mentioning that it is also the only work in which Catherine Diverrès does not perform. Noticing that the bodies of this rejuvenated team, younger than those she had previously worked with, showed no signs of suffering, she used their lightness to offset the graveness of the work.

During the Montpellier-Danse Festival, “Fruits” was given “a barrage of fierce criticism” as the critic Dominique Frétard said. Unfairly so, in her opinion. To those who rebuke it for its graveness, its violence, its length, the critic retorts: “”Fruits” burns. It is a major aesthetic accomplishment. Archaic, violent, close to sacrifice, to sacrificial offering, inhabited by somnambulistic creatures, who perform the worst as if asleep, Catherine Diverrès’ dance could only metamorphose itself by giving time to the movement, by stretching it out. (...) These two hours are mandatory to enable the, often violent, movement to become disconnected from the bodies, to become diluted in the space. As such, the violence becomes the very form of the work. It is everywhere, imperceptible, camouflaged. The body is present yet elsewhere, occasionally totally motionless. “Fruits” is toxically sophisticated. (...) In “Fruits”, it is her own violence that the choreographer has wrenched from her body. For the first time, she does not dance. She observes her dancers, all new dancers, who have come from around the world, elegant, shred her soul apart on stage”. [9]

A publication from the National Choreographic Centre of Rennes, put together along with the Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques (French Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers – SACD), completes this creation. The creative process steps are described within and richly illustrated with snapshots taken by the Israeli photographer Lee Yanor.

Claire Delcroix

[1] C. Diverrès quoted in Delphine Goater, “Diverrès l'insoumise”, Les Saisons de la danse, June 1996, n° 281.
[2] F. Hölderlin, Poèmes isolés, in « Hölderlin Œuvres », Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, published by Gallimard, translated by Jean Tardieu, Philippe Jaccottet and Gustave Roud ; In English, Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin, translated by James Mitchell (San Francisco: Ithuriel's Spear, 2004).
[3] C. Diverrès, “L'espace, les forces”, in “Fruits”, published by Lansman, p. 65.
[4] C. Diverrès quoted in D. Goater, ibid.
[5] La Comédie of Caen programme, January 1997, n° 330.
[6] Théâtre de la Ville handbill, 26-30 November 1996.
[7] C. Diverrès, “L'espace, les forces”, in “Fruits”, published by Lansman, p. 65.
[8] D. Jeanneteau, interview notes, June 1996. Quoted in “Fruits”, published by Lansman, p. 51.
[9] D. Frétard, “Montpellier-danse célèbre les seventies et tient à l'écart la création actuelle”, Le Monde, 2 July 1996.

Updating: June 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:


“Fruits”, a work for ten dancers, draws its inspiration from a poem by Friedrich Hölderlin and from which she created her title – “Les fruits sont mûrs” (The fruits are ripe) –, chosen to conjure up carnal sensuality and the cycle of death.

Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne


Choreography : Catherine Diverrès

Interpretation : Alessandro Bernardeschi, Giovanni Cedolin, Fabrice Dasse, Carole Gomes, Osman Kassen Khelili, Benita Kuni, Cécile Loyer, Tamara Stuart Ewing, Paul Wenninger, Tomoko Wenninger en alternance avec Barbara Falco

Set design : Daniel Jeanneteau

Original music : Eiji Nakazawa

Additionnal music : extraits de " Concerto funèbre " de Karl-Amadeus Hartmann et " Trois Cahiers d'étude pour piano (n° 12) " d'Alexandre Scriabine

Lights : Dominique Bruguière assistée de Pierre Gaillardot

Costumes : Cidalia da Costa

Duration : 130 minutes

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