Le genou de mathilde [Portrait de Jean-Claude Gallotta]
Le Genou de Mathilde
This documentary, linked to the piece Des Gens qui dansent, follows the work of the choreographer Jean-Claude Gallotta, in rehearsal with his dancers. Through interviews, he gives his point of view of his pieces. He mentions memories of his family life and of his journey to Africa, which has a special place in his heart.
Des gens qui dansent
Des gens qui dansent is the third episode in a trilogy that started in 2002 with 99 duos and continued in 2004 with Trois Générations. A mother and her daughter, an old, dying writer, a man who came out of nowhere, a Little Red Riding Hood, some wolves, a couple on a bridge, a dancer in high heels, two merry baritones, two lovers from somewhere else, and others. This show brings together on stage a group of ten dancers of different ages who intertwine in passionate twos, tender threes and unusual fours. This is a way of Jean-Claude Gallotta wishing us to be loved madly. Figures who evoke, between friction and fiction, stories such as our own, or glimpsed in the lives of others. He uses ever fewer devices on stage. The characters who appear, use the same name as off stage: Béatrice, Camille, Françoise, Ximena, Mathilde and Benjamin, Christophe, Darrell, Martin, and Thierry. Perhaps they even wear the same clothes. One thing is for sure, they experience the same joy and the same anguish, and the same energy and the same poetry. Des Gens qui dansent is a flowing transposition of life onto the stage. At times the difference is so slight; Jean-Claude Gallotta sets out to introduce so little “machinery” into his show that it might initially be thought that, on stage, he wanted more to arrange from life rather than to choreograph it. Whereas, of course, the choreography that he does offer, although it appears to be lifelike, if at this stage it is life, is simply set free from the mask of the spectacular. It presents itself here without manipulation, without wrapping, and without subterfuge. For the spectacular has today changed sides; it has left the theatre and spilled over outside, where it now dresses up and disguises what is real. Consequently, the stage has to repopulate itself otherwise, with people. Better still, with beings. Of course, most of these beings on stage in Des Gens qui dansent are dancers, great dancers. However, they are not there to parade their virtuosity, nor their muscles or flesh. What they have to bare are primarily the relationships that men and women foster with each other and with the world, whose dismantling, turmoil and fragmentation this show does not imitate identically. On the other hand, the stage of Des Gens qui dansent is obviously crossed by their fracture lines. And it is precisely there, on that narrow wire, on those scars, balanced, that there is something to dance about and think perhaps a little about, if that is possible, with all our might.
After a trip to New York in which he discovered the work of Merce Cunningham, Lucinda Childs, Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown, Stuart Sherman and Yvonne Rainer, Jean-Claude Gallotta – with Mathilde Altaraz – founded the Émile Dubois Group in Grenoble in 1979, which, in 1981, joined the Grenoble Arts Centre as a dance creation unit. This was where Ulysse was born, a playful ballet using both classical and modern vocabularies.
The Émile Dubois Group became the National Choreographic Centre and took up Ulysse again in 1984 for the Olympic Games Festival in Los Angeles, the American Dance Festival, the Holland Festival and the Avignon Festival.
This was followed by: Les Aventures d’Ivan Vaffan, Les Louves and Pandora. In 1986, Jean-Claude Gallotta was asked to be the director of the Grenoble Arts Centre – renamed “Le Cargo” -, thereby becoming the first choreographer to be appointed to run this type of institution.
In 1987, the ballet Mammame was performed at the Montreal International Festival of New Dance: the Canadian press (dance and theatre) awarded him the prize for the Best Foreign Performance of the Year. In 1989, after some ten audiovisual collaborations with, for example, Claude Mouriéras and Raoul Ruiz, Jean-Claude Gallotta produced his first full-length film: Rei Dom – La Légende des Kreuls. This was followed by Docteur Labus and Les Mystères de Subal.
Jean-Claude Gallotta then resigned as director of the Grenoble Arts Centre and published his first book, Mémoires d’un dictaphone.
During the 1991-1992 season, two choreographic creations combining dance, words and music were performed: La Légende de Roméo et Juliette, performed in November 1991 for the Albertville Olympic Arts Festival, and La Légende de Don Juan, performed in June 1992 for the Universal Exhibition in Seville, as a joint production with the Avignon Festival. Jean-Claude Gallotta then shot his second full-length film: l’Amour en deux.
1993: publication of Les Yeux qui dansent (interviews with Bernard Raffalli).
In July of the same year, Jean-Claude Gallotta recreated Ulysse at the Châteauvallon Festival. This was followed by a long international tour.
1994: Prémonitions, a new choreography created in Grenoble. 1995: at the request of ‘Lyon Opéra Ballet’, Jean-Claude Gallotta composed La Solitude du danseur, four solos performed to music by Erik Satie. Gallotta then worked with Nicholas Hytner and Sir Charles Mackerras to produce La Petite Renarde Rusée, an opera by Leos Janacek, performed by the Théâtre du Châtelet.
At the Châteauvallon Festival, Jean-Claude Gallotta choreographed and performed the solo Hommage à Pavel Haas. In Grenoble, he created La Tête contre les fleurs for the company. This was followed in 1996 by Rue de Palanka, and in 1997, La Rue (an event for 3,000 spectators) and the creation of La Chamoule ou l’Art d’aimer.
A longstanding collaboration was set up with Japan, at the invitation of the director Tadashi Suzuki: from 1997 to 2000, Jean-Claude Gallotta ran the dance department at the new Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre, training and directing a permanent company of eight Japanese performers. In 1998, Jean-Claude Gallotta also directed Le Ventriloque by Jean-Marie Piemme and Le Catalogue by Jean-Bernard Pouy, and wrote Pierre Chatel for “l’Adieu au siècle”.
Jean-Claude Gallotta created Les Variations d’Ulysse for the Paris Opera Ballet, which was performed at the Opéra Bastille in 1995, and repeated in 1998. He also created Nosferatu in May 2002 to music by Pascal Dusapin; the ballet was performed again in spring 2006 at the Opéra Bastille.
In 1999, he created Presque Don Quichotte at the Douai Hippodrome; the piece was also performed in Shizuoka, Japan. In 2000, he created l’Incessante, a solo for Mathilde Altaraz, at the Avignon Festival as part of Le Vif du Sujet. In 2001, he created Les Larmes de Marco Polo for the Lyon International Biennial.
In 2002, he created 99 duos at the Chaillot National Theatre, the first part of a trilogy on ‘People’. In 2003, he prepared Trois générations for the Avignon Festival, which was eventually cancelled. The piece, which includes children, former dancers and the Company, was performed at the Rampe d’Echirolles in March 2004.
It was performed in May of the same year at the Chaillot National Theatre and was repeated in November 2005. The same year, he worked with the director Hans-Peter Cloos to produce a show combining dance, theatre and music, Les sept pechés capitaux by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. In 2006, he created Des Gens qui dansent, the third part of the trilogy initiated by 99 duos and Trois Générations and, in 2007, he repeated his flagship piece from the 80s, Ulysse, under the title Cher Ulysse.
In 2008, Bach danse experience with Mirella Giardelli and “L’Atelier des Musiciens du Louvre”; Armide by Lully with the conductor William Christie and the director Robert Carsen at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris; Chroniques chorégraphiques - season 1, a sort of “stage movie” that allowed him to pursue his poetic research into genres and people.
In 2009, he created l’Homme à tête de chou, with the original words and music by Serge Gainsbourg in a version recorded for the show by Alain Bashung. In April 2011, he performed a solo with Faut qu’je danse ! as a prelude to the recreation of his trio Daphnis é Chloé in Grenoble.
In October 2011, again in Grenoble and with a piece for thirteen dancers, he took on Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps, which he presented in April 2012 at the Chaillot National Theatre, Paris, along with Tumulte and Pour Igor in the first part.
At the end of 2012, he is to present Racheter la mort des gestes - Chroniques chorégraphiques 1 at the Théâtre de la Ville, then at MC2; in early 2013, his recreation of Yvan Vaffan (first performed in 1984) will enable him to continue his work on the repertoire, alternating with his creations and thereby pleading for a certain “continuity in art” and seeking patiently to share with his audience the same story: the story of a shared artistic history and future.
In October 2013, he directed the singer Olivia Ruiz in El Amor Brujo byManuel de Falla, a piece presented together with Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, a show on which he worked together with the conductor Marc Minkowski and the director Jacques Osinski.
For the 2014-15 season, he presented The Rite and its Revolutions (including the first performance of Xenakis’s Jonchaies and Six Pieces for Orchestra, op. 6 by Webern (Homage to Angela Davis) at the Philharmonie de Paris, and in June he gave the first performance of The Stranger, based on the novel by Albert Camus at the MC2 in Grenoble.
He is opening the 2015-2016 season with My Rock at the MC2 in Grenoble, and at the Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris.
In 2009, he adapted Serge Gainsbourg's album l'Homme à tête de chou (performed for the occasion by Alain Bashung), created with singer Olivia Ruiz, Volver, presented in 2016 at the Biennale de la danse de Lyon; he also worked on rock figures with My Rock (2004) then My Ladies Rock (2017). In September 2017, the Adami, Maison des artistes interprètes and the Théâtre du Rond-Point gave him carte blanche to stage two exceptional evenings around the work of Bob Dylan, with performers from all disciplines, including the group Moriarty.
Since the end of 2015, Jean-Claude Gallotta has been associate author at the Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris. The Groupe Émile Dubois is housed at the MC2: Grenoble.
In September 2018, he presented Comme un trio, based on Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan, and the re-creation of l'Homme à tête de chou at the Printemps de Bourges festival in April 2019. He is preparing a new creation for the autumn of 2020, entitled Le Jour se rêve, with musician Rodolphe Burger and visual artist Dominique-Gonzalez Foerster.
More information : www.gallotta-danse.com
Marie-Hélène Rebois is a French director born in Nancy. Alongside literary studies (literature preparatory studies for “les grandes écoles”, a Master’s in literature, history of art and philosophy) and theatrical training with the director Jean-Marie Villégier and the Festival international de théâtre de Nancy, her home town, Marie-Hélène Rebois produced her first short films and became a filmmaker. In her films, she develops her favourite themes, always related to the expression of social issues and artistic creation, where family sagas, interior journeys, religion, writing, music, painting, opera and dance play a large role.
She collaborated in the educational work of the production department of La Femis from 1992 to 1997. She worked for one year with the Montpellier Danse Festival to produce a film on the history of the festival (Montpellier Danse 1980-2000) and a special evening for Arte (Montpellier Danse 2000, points de vue d'Afrique). This programme received a special mention at the 11th Grand Prix international video danse. In 2003, her film Ribatz, Ribatz ou le Grain du temps was awarded the French selection prize at the Festival international de cinéma de Marseille. She also produced for the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris a film on the analysis of the body in danced movement: Le Geste créateur as well as, for the SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers), a short film on a circus act Rondeau pour un fardeau, a piece with lifts, together with portraits of the pianist Vanessa Wagner, the choreographer Jean-Claude Gallotta, and the Italian puppeteer Laura Kibel. In Dialogue avec les fauves, broadcast on Arte, she shows just how far man can go in communication with wild animals, with what language and with what gestures. Noces d'or, la mort du chorégraphe, broadcast on France 2, is the last part of the trilogy that Marie-Hélène Rebois imagined and started after the death of the French choreographer Dominique Bagouet (the first two parts were Histoire d'une transmission, So Schnell à l'Opéra, 1999, and Ribatz, Ribatz ou le Grain du temps, 2003). She has since produced three documentaries for Arte: Maguy Marin, la danse cachée; Montpellier Danse, 1980-2010, Zigzag, for the 30 years of the Montpellier Danse Festival and Merce Cunningham, la danse en héritage, where she follows the last tour paying tribute to the man who was one of the leading artists of the 20th century. Alternating rehearsal periods, images from archives, and interviews, her film raises the issue of the transmission of a truly intangible heritage. In 2016, her last film, Dans les pas de Trisha Brown, was selected for the Festival international de cinéma de Marseille.
Sources : Ardèche Image ; Film-documentaire.fr ; CMCA
Groupe Émile Dubois
At the end of the 1970s, a handful of young choreographers burst onto the French scene. Jean-Claude Gallotta was one of them. In 1981, he created his company, the Groupe Emile Dubois, with Mathilde Altaraz, and eight dancers (four men and four women), inspired by Merce Cunningham’s and John Cage’s choreographic revolution in New York. These dancers were not recruited on technical criteria alone but also on their personality, their difference and their desire to integrate a group: one hails from theatre, another from the world of architecture, while a third is a doctor.
The G.E.D. was invited to set itself up as a creative unit within the walls of the Maison de la Culture de Grenoble, today the MC2. One of its first pieces, “Ulysse” (1981), was immediately recognised as the founder of the Nouvelle Danse Française. The choreographer surprises us with a “ballet blanc” (white ballet), which does not destroy the classical fabric but rather plays with it and incorporates it into contemporary gestures.
In these first few years, the G.E.D. helped give rise to the concept of the Centres Chorégraphiques Nationaux (French choreographic centers). The Grenoble CCN is one of the first, set up there in 1984.
At the start of the 1990s, the G.E.D. produced shows known as D.T.M. (dance, text, music) according to the idea that the notion of dance had to go beyond the simple question of bodily motion and must incorporate sound, voice, words and meaning.
In the course of time, although the team of dancers was renewed, the importance that the choreographer grants to the quality of human relationships has led each interpreter to follow the company for a number of shows, just like Thierry Verger since 1992 or Béatrice Warrand since 1995.
The G.E.D. thus embarks on a journey throughout the world, a choreographic style that, inspired by Cunningham, has developed in a highly personal manner with, in particular, the introduction of a gestural humour and a permanent reflection on the uniqueness of the body of “those who dance, those who have danced, those who would like to dance, and those who perhaps will never dance”.
At the end of 2015, the G.E.D. left the setting of the CCN to resume its first identity, while also continuing to work within the MC2 Grenoble. Jean-Claude Gallotta also became associate author of the Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris.
The G.E.D. presented “Volver” in 2016, revived “My Rock”, created “My Ladies Rock” in 2017, and prepared “Comme un trio” after Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse (autumn 2018), as well as the recreation of “l’Homme à tête de chou” (spring 2019).
In addition to Jean-Claude Gallotta’s creations, the G.E.D. also manages the transmission of repertoire pieces and awareness-raising actions with schools and amateurs.
The Groupe Émile Dubois / Cie Jean-Claude Gallotta is supported by the French Ministry of culture and communication as a Company with a national and international reach. It is also supported by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and the Département de l’Isère.
Source: Groupe Émile Dubois
More information: www.gallotta-danse.com
Le genou de Mathilde
Artistic direction / Conception : Marie-Hélène Rebois
Interpretation : Jean-Claude Gallotta, Mathilde Altaraz, Françoise Bal-Goetz, Camille Cau, Darrell Davis, Christophe Delachaux, Ximena Figueroa, Benjamin Houal, Martin Kravitz, Thierry Verger, Béatrice Warrand, Cécile Renard, Loriane Wagner, Marie Fonte et avec Claude-Henri Buffard
Production / Coproduction of the video work : CLC Production coproduction Centre chorégraphique national de Grenoble, TLM, Mezzo
Duration : 25'
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