À quoi tu penses ? [Entretien]
Interview with Dominique Boivin
About "À quoi tu penses ?" [What are you thinking about?] / creation 2003
In this extract Dominique Boivin talks about his collaboration with writer Marie Nimier on the piece "À quoi tu penses?” (What are you thinking about?).
This interview was recorded at the CND (Centre national de la danse) in Pantin in 2005.
Updating: December 2010
À quoi tu penses ?
[What are you thinking about ?]
Going beyond a simple dialogue between dance and literature, “À quoi tu penses ?” is a veritable co-creation. Dominique Boivin and Marie Nimier worked hand in hand, mingling their worlds and investigations. What goes on in a dancer's head on stage or during rehearsals? By what internal process does one become a dancer? Where does the desire to dance spring from? What stories do the gestures tell, if they are not silencing them? Both exposed and concealed, the dancer's presence is a living enigma which author Marie Nimier sets out to probe here. In order to write the texts that make up the performance, she had lengthy discussions with the company's dancers, leaving their accounts, their voices and their movements to resonate within her. A number of fictional accounts emerged. Dominique Boivin, in turn, immersed himself in Marie Nimier's texts until he knew them intimately. There was a period of improvisation, selection and rough drafts based on the texts, working in close collaboration with the dancers, before the choreography took its final form. In short, the piece is the result of combining the twin viewpoints of writer and choreographer. Together, they kept a close eye on the rehearsals.
Born out of the metabolism of writing by dance and vice versa, “A quoi tu penses ?” turns the dancers' presence inside out like a glove. Marie Nimier's texts, carried either by the voices of actors on stage or by voices off, act as sound close-ups of the dancers' internal lives: we hear what they are thinking. And what they think becomes embodied. Furthermore, Boivin describes the dances which weave the choreography as “thoughts”. Each one describes a different “way of being” in the world, a particular way of moving among others.
The meaning of the words collides or colludes with the movements. The presence of the dancers splits, separates and sometimes reforms. In the interplay between interior voice and body, the identity appears rich and complex, open to otherness and time.
Updating: December 2010
Dominique Boivin followed a classical training before turning to contemporary dance. Carolyn Carlson and the dancers of the GRCOP (Choreographic Research Group of the Paris Opera) introduced him to the teaching of Alwin Nikolais. His first piece, “Quelle fut ta soif?”, won the Humour Prize at the Bagnolet Contest in 1978. In the summer of 1979 he created the solo “L'homme cheval” for the Avignon Festival, which consists of minute, mathematically-orchestrated gestures. In 1979 he obtained a bursary to study in New York for a year, where he trained with Merce Cunningham, Douglas Dunn, Lucinda Childs and Meg Harper.
When he was invited to join the company of the CNDC (National Centre for Contemporary Dance), Angers, directed at the time by Alwin Nikolais, he met many of the dancers with whom he went on to form the Beau Geste company in 1981.
Dominique Boivin danced with a number of companies (Grand Magasin / P. Murtin, F. Hiffler, DCA/P. Decouflé, Astrakan/ D. Larrieu) in between choreographing his own works: "Belles de Nuit“ in 1991, “Carmen” in 1992, “La Belle Etoile” in 1993, “Cabaret Pataphysique” (Pataphysical Cabaret) in 1993. His solo “La danse, une histoire à ma façon...“ (Dance – a history told my way) from 1994, revived in 2000, is a brilliant presentation of the culture of subtle gesture which underpins his choreography. He has choreographed for the operas “Orphée aux Enfers” in Geneva (1997) and "Les Amours de Bastien et Bastienne” in Rouen and Paris (2002), as well as a reworking of the ballet “The Nutcracker” for the Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon (2001). At the same time, he continued composing for the Beau Geste company: "Petites histoires au-dessus du ciel” in 1996, “Conte sur Moi” in 2000 and “Miniatures de l'Émoi” in 2003.
He collaborated with La Petite Fabrique to choreograph the duet “The Lion and The Rat” as part of the “Les Fables à La Fontaine” project in 2002 and with the Non de Nom/Pascale Houbin company, with whom he composed “Bonté Divine” in 2003 and "Ni d'Ève, ni d'Adam” in 2007.
He ventured into street theatre with the composition of “Transports Exceptionnels” in 2005, a duet for a dancer and a mechanical digger, then, in the same year, he explored the relationship between dance and theatre in "À quoi tu penses?”, using monologues by the writer Marie Nimier.
Digital resource by the Médiathèque du Centre national de la danse
Last update : November 2010
Marie Nimier has written a dozen novels published by Gallimard and widely translated around the world. These include “Sirène” in 1985 (awarded prizes by the Académie Française and the Société des Gens de Lettres), followed by "La girafe", "Anatomie d'un chœur", "L'hypnotisme à la portée de tous", "La caresse", "Celui qui court derrière l'oiseau", "Domino" - winner of the Printemps novel prize, "La nouvelle pornographie", "La reine du silence" – winner of the Medici prize 2004) and "Les inséparables", which won both the Georges Brassens Prize and Lycéens d'Evreux prize. Her latest novel, Photo-Photo, is published by Gallimard.
She also writes children's picture books, plays, pieces for radio and song lyrics for Jean Guidoni, Juliette Gréco, Art Mengo, Clarika, Lokua Kanza, Eddy Mitchell, Maurane, Delphine Volange…
Marie Nimier has also published an anthology of texts written for dance (Gallimard, 2005). The majority form the basis for the show “À quoi tu penses?”, choreographed by Dominique Boivin, produced at the CND (National Dance Centre) in December 2005, then on tour and at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in February 2007.
She continued this work with the choreographer Claudia Gradinger in a danced reading based on “Les Inséparables".
A new version of this reading was presented with the actress Fanny Cottençon in the role of the author.
She has also worked with the director Karelle Prugnaud, writing texts and sharing in the devising of a series of performances entitled “Pour en finir avec Blanche Neige". This final piece was staged in an underground car-park. The following piece was staged in Rouen, in the basement of a large shop. The first episode in the series was staged in the Le Havre's Fish Market.
"L'hypnotisme à la portée de tous" has been adapted for the cinema under the title of "Dormez je le veux".
Last update : January 2011
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.).
Entretien avec Dominique Boivin
Other collaborations : Entretien conduit par Claire Rousier
Angelin Preljocaj - Centre chorégraphique national d'Aix en Provence
Preljocaj, Angelin (France)
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