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So Schnell

With all its advantages and drawbacks, “commissioning” is enjoying new favor in contemporary art. By creating “So Schnell” (1990) for the inauguration of the Montpellier Corum, Dominique Bagouet has followed in this tradition, once held in such high esteem by Roland Barthes. The Groundrule: to come to grips with a vast, spectacular space. Bagouet plays the game while ignoring the rules, turning this experience into a work of energy and resistance. With the collaboration of twelve dancers.

As opposed to the company's usual artistic bent, the details here are meant to serve the totality (but a totality which still accomodates the perfection of detail). They work toward spaciousness, not as dimension but rather as emotion. A combative form of dance, setting in motion new forward thrusts, new deployments. A multi-faceted form of dance, in blasts, in outpourings, in flames. With variations in scale and temperature. Between the confidence of a dancer inventing his gestures and the forward march toward the audience of a well-ordered battalion. Between the momentum of a gallop and the apparent calm of an opening duo, a muted detonator in which the artist-meteor implodes. Sensual, moving matter. In the words of the choreographer : “Desire is our motor force”.

And because he wants to give the dance a strong, distinguishing mark, he imagines the swelling of contour found in Pop Art, in Lichtenstein or Rosenquist. This careful engraver of “elusive” dances traces a lively work in stark outline. All the while insisting on the near-mechanical duplication of motifs. Consistent with the “meteorology” of this dance-landscape, Christine Le Moigne has constructed a mobile overhanging frieze of alternating clouds, suns, rays and storms, like a heavenly weather forecast chart. Using the five primary colours, Dominique Fabrègue has created simplistic costumes, purposely lacking detail.

The choreographer then introduces revealing, meaningful sounds out of his memory. Bach first of all, accentuated, rhythmic as a heartbeat. And the Cantata BWV 26, climatic, that too, with its swelling of volume, of intensity, its subtle effects. In the simplicity of a version pre-dating current restorations. “So fast”..., ”so schnell”... how the German language sighs since the long-gone days of Baroque “vanities”! Is it a simple complaint against the passing of time? Today's artist can translate it in urgent terms, with an impatience to challenge despondency.

Using a smaller number of dancers, the work proceeds on two levels, collective and intimate, group and individual, with occasional flashes of oblique allegory. And Bagouet continues to explore his autobiography of the soul, woven like nerve-tissue in a network of gesture. There is also a metallic undertow of knitting machines, recorded at his family factory. Inarticulate murmuring like a language without words, buried in memory. Childhood noises beating out of the rhythm of his lost steps. Telling of that which the choreographic act brings alive in each of us: the interior cartography that a forgotten “mark” never stops engraving. Retracing the indelible journey carried in our bodies.

Source: Laurence Louppe -  Octobre 1992

Bagouet, Dominique

Angoulême, July 9 1951 - Montpellier, December 9 1992

From 1965, Dominique Bagouet received a classical instruction from Rosella Hightower in Cannes, and was firstly engaged in the Ballet du Grand Théâtre of Geneva at Alfonso Cata's in 1969. He danced the following year with the Félix Blaska's company and joined Béjart's 20th Century Ballet in Brussels. The experience lasted two years and continued with the Chandra group (where Maguy Marin also worked).

Back to Paris in 1974, Dominique Bagouet took tuitions with Carolyn Carlson and Peter Goss. He also danced in the Joseph Russillo's, Anne Béranger's and Peter Goss' companies. Then he left for the United States where he discovered with Jennifer Muller, Lar Lubovitch and others, the techniques of the American schools.

Back to France in 1976, he presented his first choreography “Chansons de nuit” at the Concours de Bagnolet and won the first prize with a mention for research. He then founded his first company. He created play after play, at a fast pace he deplored, in order to make his company survive. Until 1979, he created 14 plays, sometimes hastily and unsatisfactorily.

With “Sous la blafarde”, the young choreographer began to stand out and Montpellier became his haven: the town welcomed the company and gave it the resources to exist as Bagouet was asked to set up and run the Centre Chorégraphique Régional de Montpellier. Besides, he was to create in this town the Festival International Montpellier Danse that he would run until 1982.

Dominique Bagouet created then some of the most outstanding plays in French contemporary choreography, from “Insaisies” (1982) to “Necesito, pièce pour grenade” (1991), the last commission written to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Spanish town.

With plays such as “Déserts d'amour” (1984), “Le Crawl de Lucien” (1985) and “Assaï” (1986), Dominique Bagouet clearly established his own personality and style. All these plays registered his very particular style, sometimes referred to as ‘neobaroque', but above all very subtle and inventive. Bagouet's choreographic approach developed the dance movement with numerous short gestures (movements with hands and feet, special incline of the chest…) with terrific precision and no mannerisms.

Moreover, and this is another characteristic of Bagouet, the choreographer always managed to work with talented artists, such as Christian Boltanski, Pascal Dusapin for “Le Saut de l'ange” (1987), Tristan Murail for “Déserts d'amour” or the actress Nelly Borgeaud for the superb “Meublé sommairement” (1989) choreographically adapted from a novel by Emmanuel Bove.

He also directed two films with Charles Picq: “Tant mieux, tant mieux!” (1983) and “Dix anges, portraits”(1988), from “Le Saut de l'ange".

If a Bagouet style existed, it would also lie in this curiosity which influenced a whole generation.

His company's dancers founded in 1993 Les Carnets Bagouet, an association dedicated to preserving and passing on the choreographer's artistic heritage. They offer the repertoire to other companies and schools.

Source: Extract of “99 biographies pour comprendre la jeune danse française” in les saisons de la danse, summer 97, special issue.

More information:

Picq, Charles

Author, filmmaker and video artist Charles Picq (1952-2012) entered working life in the 70s through theatre and photography. A- fter resuming his studies (Maîtrise de Linguistique - Lyon ii, Maîtrise des sciences et Techniques de la Communication - grenoble iii), he then focused on video, first in the field of fine arts at the espace Lyonnais d'art Contemporain (ELAC) and with the group « Frigo », and then in dance.
   On creation of the Maison de la Danse in Lyon in 1980, he was asked to undertake a video documentation project that he has continued ever since. During the ‘80s, a decade marked in France by the explosion of contemporary dance and the development of video, he met numerous artists such as andy Degroat, Dominique Bagouet, Carolyn Carlson, régine Chopinot, susanne Linke, Joëlle Bouvier and regis Obadia, Michel Kelemenis. He worked in the creative field with installations and on-stage video, as well as in television with recorded shows, entertainment and documentaries.

His work with Dominique Bagouet (80-90) was a unique encounter. He documents his creativity, assisting with Le Crawl de Lucien and co-directing with his films Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux and 10 anges. in the 90s he became director of video development for the Maison de la Danse and worked, with the support of guy Darmet and his team, in the growing space of theatre video through several initiatives:
       - He founded a video library of dance films with free public access. This was a first for France. Continuing the video documentation of theatre performances, he organised their management and storage.
       - He promoted the creation of a video-bar and projection room, both dedicated to welcoming school pupils.
       - He started «présentations de saisons» in pictures.
       - He oversaw the DVD publication of Le tour du monde en 80 danses, a pocket video library produced by the Maison de la Danse for the educational sector.

       - He launched the series “scènes d'écran” for television and online. He undertook the video library's digital conversion and created Numeridanse.

His main documentaries are: enchaînement, Planète Bagouet, Montpellier le saut de l'ange, Carolyn Carlson, a woman of many faces, grand ecart, Mama africa, C'est pas facile, Lyon, le pas de deux d'une ville, Le Défilé, Un rêve de cirque.

He has also produced theatre films: Song, Vu d'ici (Carolyn Carlson), Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux, 10 anges, Necesito and So schnell, (Dominique Bagouet), Im bade wannen, Flut and Wandelung (Susanne Linke), Le Cabaret Latin (Karine Saporta), La danse du temps (Régine Chopinot), Nuit Blanche (Abou Lagraa), Le Témoin (Claude Brumachon), Corps est graphique (Käfig), Seule et WMD (Françoise et Dominique Dupuy), La Veillée des abysses (James Thiérrée), Agwa (Mourad Merzouki), Fuenteovejuna (Antonio Gades), Blue Lady revistied (Carolyn Carlson).

Source: Maison de la Danse de Lyon

Compagnie Bagouet

Compagnie Bagouet

Dominique Bagouet created The Company Dominique Bagouet in 1977, with some dancers (also his friends). He obtained the first prize of the choreographic Competition of Bagnolet thanks to his first choreography “Chansons de nuit”. As the company did not have a real workplace in Paris, the first seasons were difficult, nevertheless the company gets some commands of short pieces. The Company settled down in Montpellier in 1979, after the invitation of Georges Frêche, mayor of the city at the time. In 1980, the company became the regional Dance Centre.

In1984, Dominique Bagouet created “Déserts d'amour”, the piece which made the company internationally known. The work of creation constantly developed and numerous works were presented every year at the Festival International Montpellier Danse.

Dominique Bagouet often left his team of the Centre chorégraphique (which had become a national centre in 1984) to the hands of guest choreographers such as Susan Buirge, Trisha Brown, but also to his own dancers, who made their debuts as choreographers: Michel Kelemenis, Bernard Glandier, Olivia Grandville, Hélène Cathala and Fabrice Ramalingom.

In 1990, after ten years of presence in Montpellier, during which the company met with success, Dominique Bagouet asked for a better working tool and considered the development of the Convent of Ursulines to develop several axes: creation, repertoire, pedagogy and residences of invited artists. Unfortunately, the disease took him and his project was only completed after his death in 1992.

Sources :

Last update : December 2013


























So Schnell

Choreography : Dominique Bagouet

Choreography assistance : Anne Abeille

Interpretation : : Rita Cioffi, Priscilla Danton, Matthieu Doze, Olivia Grandville, Nicolas Héritier, Dominique Jégou, Myriam Lebreton, Catherine Legrand, Sylvain Prunenec, Annabelle Pulcini, Fabrice Ramalingom, Juan Manuel Vicente

Set design : Christine Le Moigne

Additionnal music : Jean-Sébastien Bach et Laurent Gachet

Video conception : Réalisation : Charles Picq

Lights : Manuel Bernard

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Production : Agat Films et cie, Les Carnets Bagouet, La Coursive, Centre Georges Pompidou - Participation : CNC, Adami, Conseil régional Languedoc Roussillon, Maison de la Danse, La Sept/Arte

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