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Back to themas

Genesis of work


Babel (words)

Jalet, Damien (Belgium)

Maison de la Danse de Lyon 2011 - Director : Picq, Charles

Choreographer(s) : Jalet, Damien (Belgium) Cherkaoui, Sidi Larbi (Belgium)

Video producer : Maison de la Danse

Integral video available at Maison de la danse de Lyon

Take a look at this work in the video library

Faux mouvement

Lambert, Fabrice (France)


Laisser frémir

Touzé, Loïc (France)


Une hypothèse de réinterprétation

Quaglia, Rita (France)


Faune Fomitch / variation

Kelemenis, Michel (France)


Rosas danst Rosas

De Keersmaeker, Anne Teresa (Belgium)


I’m going to toss my arms, if you catch them they’re yours

Brown, Trisha (France)


De la composition en temps réel - Joao Fiadeiro

Fiadeiro, João (France)

Genesis of work

2018 - Director : Plasson, Fabien

Choreographer(s) : Cherkaoui, Sidi Larbi (Belgium) Lambert, Fabrice (France) Quaglia, Rita (Italy) Gallotta, Jean-Claude (France) Kelemenis, Michel (France) De Keersmaeker, Anne Teresa (Belgium) Monnier, Mathilde (France) Brown, Trisha (United States) Fiadeiro, João (Portugal) Wolliaston, Elsa (France) Touzé, Loïc (France)

Author : Centre national de la danse

en fr


 The course of the creative process varies appreciably depending on the choreographer.  And, in contemporary dance, the choice of the process to be implemented forms an integral part of the creation. Depending on the artists, the various stages (design, structuring, rehearsals) overlap, are consecutive or combined. They do not necessarily have the same importance. The work with the dancers sometimes plays a large role in the structuring of a work or, on the contrary, more than anything allows what was decided in advance by the choreographer to materialise. Lastly, certain proposals, in particular in “composition in real time” or in improvisation, are based on the development of choreography in front of the audience.


 Babel (Words) – Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Sometimes it is myths that inspire a creation. According to its playwright, the show Babel (Words) takes as a starting point the precise moment in the account of the Tower of Babel where God punishes those who built a tower on His behalf, causing chaos by dividing them according to different languages, cultures and countries”. For this creation, the choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui brought together eighteen artists from thirteen countries, speaking fifteen languages and representing seven religions; they become the contemporary witnesses of the effects of this mythical moment where the men lose their common language and are distinguished according to their cultural and geographical origins.

Faux mouvement - Fabrice Lambert

The starting point of a choreography can relate mainly to the body. The main idea of the creation Faux movement deals with this question: what are the concerns and necessities of physical engagement? For the choreographer Fabrice Lambert, part of the answer lies in taking into account what are often called "false moves”. He decides to devote himself to an exploration of the accidental and of what eludes our physicality. It could be the physical treatment of slips of the tongue in language! The concept of “false” is a factor of discovery here.

Une hypothèse de reinterpretation - Rita Quaglia

Rita Quaglia was inspired to create Une hypothèse de reinterpretation after enjoying a performance that used several dancers. Rita Quaglia decides to locate her creation between the form of a documentary and that of a performance. The dancer certainly questions herself on her function as a spectator, but also on her profession as a performer: “The work not only scrutinises my memory, but also those of the performers who have participated in the original creation, performers whom I interviewed individually to better understand how they confronted the various proposals for a work and how with each performance, they worked closely together to make the choreographic material comprehensible on stage.”

Mammame - Jean-Claude Gallotta

Sometimes a work which they already have created in the past prompts a choreographer to come up with a new version of it. Jean-Claude Gallotta presented Mammame in 1985. He updated it in 1998 by presenting it as a re-creation, and then turning it into an adaptation for young audiences, entitled L’Enfance de Mammame.

Faune Fomitch / Variation - Michel Kelemenis

Many choreographers create work using a historical dance as a reference point. Michel Kelemenis created Faune Fomitch in 1988. It is a contemporary version of The Afternoon of a Faun, the famous ballet by Vaslav Nijinsky. In 1988, the concern of the solo form was the focus for Michel Kelemenis and his transmission of the role to another performer in 2011 became an ambiguous moment. Indeed, Michel Kelemenis assimilated Faune Fomitch at “the moment of rupture where Nijinsky, in becoming a choreographer, destroyed his own image of a dancer”. The transmission to Thomas Birzan, for whom he created Faune Fomitch / variation, modifies the initial issue and introduces real variation into work. The work is again inspired by a previous choreography, but with a different intention.  

Rosas danst Rosas - Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker

There are obviously multiple methods of structuring a choreographic work, and one of them, the principle of repetition, is frequently used in contemporary dance. Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker has made extensive use of this, to which even the title of her piece Rosas danst Rosas testifies. The Belgian choreographer works on the repetition of a phrase of movements and on its variations in time and space. The choreographer explains that “The music conforms to a very strict temporal structure and the choreography followed the same purely mathematical structures, but within this choreography, four quite alive people moved. Caught in this “infernal machine”, each glance, each smile, each sign of tiredness or, quite simply, the presence of these four dancers gave the show its tangible and enthralling character.” The repetition  thus becomes a means of giving a detail  of all of its place, but it is also a hypnotic machine which holds the spectator in suspense about what will change.  

Tempo 76 - Mathilde Monnier

Another process of choreographic composition is that of unison. It was strongly questioned, from the beginning of the 1980s, by many creators, undoubtedly through mistrust for mass phenomena.

In Tempo 76, the choreographer Mathilde Monnier wanted to reinterpret a forsaken aesthetic form in order to scrutinise it, to divert it from its initial context and to take it through an adventurous, meaningful process”.

I’m going to toss my arms - Trisha Brown

The process of creation of I'm going to toss my arms started with “a very long improvisation directed by Trisha Brown whose theme was the exploration of what a moving sculpture can be”.  The elements from the first improvisation were then worked on and the dancers were aided by an outline by Trisha Brown for composing other material. Once the piece was constructed, it became important to find “the idea, the words and the images” which had supported the work of creation, during the actual performance.

De la composition en temps reel - Joao Fiadeiro

The process of creation is generally divided between the moment of design, that of its realisation, and then that of the performance. But some choreographers like to give flexibility to the show's apparatus. The Portuguese choreographer Joao Fiadeiro expresses his opinions in this interview on the methods and the finalities of composition in real time. He explains his process where the choice lies in the way in which one takes into account, or not, the unforeseen, the accidental. Far from being laissez-faire, real-time composition reflects the simultaneity of past, present and future, in our choices as in our actions.

Laisser frémir - Elsa Wolliaston et Loïc Touzé  

Composition in a real-time includes an element of improvisation while also requiring the need to write over time. On the other hand, pure improvisation is raises other issues. The improvisations are usually carried out in communication with the musicians. In Laisser frémir, the dancers and choreographers Elsa Wolliaston and Loïc Touzé improvise with the double bass player Joelle Léandre and the accordionist Pascal Contet. Each of them plays, speaks and dances.  Improvisation is exciting when it is a challenge: the challenge of taking a risk alongside one's function, one's competences, one's talent, to make them eventually reappear or explode.  

In more depth

More information


Centre national de la danse


Extracts selection
Centre national de la danse


Centre national de la danse

Maison de la Danse

The "Genesis of works" Parcours was created thanks to the support of the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Culture and Communication - Department for the Coordination of Cultural Policies and Innovation (SCPCI) 

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