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Ô Senseï

Ô Senseï

O Senseï

For the first time in fifteen years and since the creation of “Stance II”, Catherine Diverrès returned to the stage to dance a solo in memory of Kazuo Ohno, master of butoh, this “dance of the obscure body” which builds a bridge between the worlds of living and dead, who died in 2010 and was a huge influence on her career as a choreographer.With a white cloth as a set, that serves as both a backdrop and a projection screen for a spectral dance in which the body is duplicated and seems to come from another world, “O Senseï…” is a profound piece exploring the life of the dead, ghosts, the grace of movement and life, and of transformation too. Catherine Diverrès unusually chooses a fragmented form in which she changes face, character, costume, music. Burlesque and pantomime in turn, a body at prayer, a ghost body, a suffering body, a sublime body, and a body of farewell, Catherine Diverrès explores the tragedy and the sense of the ridiculous that is at the heart of all humanity. And if “sensei”, in Japanese means master, Catherine Diverrès understands it to mean “intellectual guide”, i.e. someone who raises questions and lets everyone make their own way. That which it suggests in this creation is inwardness and beauty, introspection and metamorphosis, pain and grace, the presence of oneself and of others, the living as well as the dead. Playing with white, the colour of purity, in Japan the colour of the dead, with black, the colour of mourning in the West, and to finish, deep red, the red blood of life and wounds, the red of Asian funeral processions, Catherine Diverrès looks underneath the surface, and discovers something in the same movement. “Something in her” dances, palpably.

Source: Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis

Updating: April 2012

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: compagnie-catherine-diverres.com

Centre national de la danse, Réalisation

Since 2001, the National Center for Dance (CND) has been making recordings of its shows and educational programming and has created resources from these filmed performances (interviews, danced conferences, meetings with artists, demonstrations, major lessons, symposia specialized, thematic arrangements, etc.).

Ô Senseï

Choreography : Catherine Diverrès

Interpretation : Catherine Diverrès

Set design : Laurent Peduzzi

Additionnal music : Keiji Haino, Seijiro Murayama, Frédéric Chopin, Ingrid Caven, J.S. Bach

Lights : Marie-Christine Soma

Costumes : Cidalia da Costa

Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Compagnie Catherine Diverrès / Association d'octobre Coproduction CDC - Les Hivernales, Centre national de la danse - Pantin, Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis, Musée de la danse - Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne, Centre chorégraphique national de Caen / Basse-Normandie dans le cadre de l'accueil-studio. Remerciements Collectif Rennes Métropole

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