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Le son d'Elsa

Le son d'Elsa

Le son d'Elsa

In Paris where she settled at the end of the 1960s, the American choreographer Elsa Wolliaston, the pioneer of African dance in Europe, teaches her art. Immersion into her studio One Step, where, seated opposite some thirty dancers, she is assisted by the percussionist Jean-Yves Colson. In the course of the exchanges and improvisations, the elements emerge that are vital for the letting go that the practice of her art requires.

“Take your time/Give way/Force nothing/Energy is at your disposal/Your body will speak”. Retranscribed on the screen towards the end of the film, the recommendations given by Elsa Wolliaston throughout her classes reveal a pedagogy anchored in the listening to the body and the release of its energy. Patient and softly spoken, her expressive face lit up by a huge smile, she works with dancers on a one-to-one basis or in groups, leading them to consider their body as an instrument: “The body is an orchestra: it contains all the instruments!” Behind the closed doors of the studio, which we will only leave on the occasion of a few images from archives inserted into the film, Elsa’s invitations to relax and let go, in silence, will soon give way to music and rhythms. Inspired by her teaching, the entire group will be swept up into an explosive hunting dance where Yves Coméliau’s camera is at the heart of the trance.


Source : Damien Truchot

Wolliaston, Elsa

Elsa Wolliaston moved to Paris in 1969 and worked with Jerome Andrews and Lilian Arlen. She continued her training during a stay in Africa, and researched ancestral rites. From 1970 onwards, she performed in various African countries and Niger in particular, where she danced “La Fleuve” in 1974. In Paris in 1975, she founded the company Ma Danse Rituel Théâtre with Yano Hideyuki. They choreographed and performed numerous pieces together. She has also composed music and dance duets with the saxophonist Steve Lacy. She choreographs regularly for the theatre and opera, trains actors in movement at the Theaterhaus Interkurst and Theatertreffin in Berlin, and teaches African-inspired contemporary dance throughout the world.

Further information

Digital resource - Médiathèque du Centre national de la danse
http://mediatheque.cnd.fr/spip.php?page=mediatheque-numerique-ressource&id=PHO00003898

Updating: November 2010

Le son d'Elsa

Choreography : Elsa Wolliaston

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Yves Coméliau réalisation, Les Films de Belacqua production

Duration : 70'

Filmer le son

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