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States of the body
« State of the body » seems to be a portmanteau that exists in a myriad of disciplines, from physical branches to sport and even photography: depending on the fields, it is simply definitional of stability, availability, presence, movement quality and the way of appraising the body and using it... In dance, these various conceptions are influential. But, states of the body also affect the spectators. This notion is quite fuzzy and reflects a dual aspect: when dancing, performers transmit feelings that stimulate their movement; feelings which, in turn, spectators are invited to assimilate by demonstrating empathy towards what they see on the stage. We are going to talk about these two points of view in more detail.
Rhizikon – Chloé Moglia
In many scientific fields, a state denotes a stable disposition of elements. As regards the dancing body, talking about a state presupposes, as such, that at the heart of a momentum of never-ending change, something must be stable. This « something » would denote that which triggers the desire to initiate a vigorous dialogue with the environment – just like the trapeze artist Chloé Moglia seeks to do in her solo Rhizikon by drawing together the memories of her work on this piece of apparatus.
Waiting – Carlotta Ikeda
The result of the hours spent in the studio, a sort of "core of experience" for dancers, could be compare to the idea of state.
Butoh, exemplary dance from this point of view emphasizes the precedence that imagination and feelings have on producing the gesture. The dance try to remember noteworthy experiences, whether they are rooted in dance or in life in general.
The etoile dancer Wilfride Piollet, evoking the different ways of expression, from classical dance to modern dance, suggests in this excerpt that this notion of state, of the dancer's interiority, is not peculiar to modern dances and contemporary.
Mergulho – Ana Rita Barata
Moreover, dancers are aware of how space influences gesture: dancing outdoors, modify the dance space with lights are all variables that can affect how movement is produced.
Basically, the state of a dancer’s body would reflect this blend of intentions, postures and emotions – the core of experience – which punctuates the performer’s personal experience and would unfurl through time and space, but also through the relationship with others and through other conditions specific to each performance.
Pororoca – Lia Rodrigues
In the above excerpt, where Odile Duboc explains her focus on the sensory experience of the dancers in contact with materials to nourish his dance of sensations, the spectator that we are, remains confronted with the difficulty to say what he actually perceives.
With this excerpt, the impression of permanent movement perceived by the spectator is quite close to the intention of Lia Rodriguez, the choreographer, who seeks to restore the movement of shoals of fish. As if the degree of porosity between the body of the dancer and the perception of the spectator was the result of the confrontation of their two corporeities.
Odile Duboc, une conversation chorégraphique
Dancing and watching dance are two different activities yet which stem, on a number of points, from the same desire for movement.
State of the body, for us therefore refers to all the tensions and intentions that develop inwardly and resonate outwardly (state of the dancing body).
These considerations illustrate that the term “state of the body” partially covers other notions, which are just as imprecise, and which exist in the sphere of performing arts, like “scenic presence” and performance. These portmanteau words, which are used for ease of reference, if we were to look just a little more closely, reveal a richness that enable us to clarify and specify the practices related to movement.
In more depth
Bernard Michel, De la création chorégraphique, Pantin, Centre national de la danse, coll. « Recherches », 2001.
Boissière Anne et Kintzler Catherine (eds.), Approche philosophique du geste dansé. De l’improvisation à la performance, Villeneuve d’Ascq, Presses universitaires du Septentrion, coll. « Esthétique et sciences des arts », 2006.
Damasio Antonio R., L’Erreur de Descartes. La raison des émotions, Paris, Odile Jacob, coll. « Sciences », 1995.
Formis Barbara (ed.), Penser en corps. Soma-esthétique, art et philosophie, Paris, L’Harmattan, coll. « L’art en bref », 2009.
Laban Rudolph, La Maîtrise du mouvement, trad. J. Challet-Haas et M. Bastien, Arles, Actes Sud, 1994.
Louppe Laurence, Poétique de la danse contemporaine, Bruxelles, Contredanse, 2000.
Monnier Mathilde et Nancy Jean-Luc, Dehors la danse, Lyon, Rroz, 2001.
Perrin Julie, Projet de la matière – Odile Duboc , Dijon, Les Presses du réel / Centre national de la danse, 2007.
Rabant Claude, (ed.), « Etats de corps », Revue internationale de psychanalyse n° 5, 1994.
Schulmann Nathalie, « Le danseur est une personne », < http://www.sens-public.org/spip.php?article170 > [consulté le 07.03.11].
This text – and the document that accompanies it and completes it – was created between January and April 2016 for the seminar relevant to the Master Dance/Performative Practices (University of Lille 3) proposed by Philippe Guisgand, dance teacher, and by Justine Alberti, Sarah Baraka, Mahaut Clermont, Caroline Decloitre, Coline Gras, Tana Guimaraes, Marion Louis, Madeleine Ngomba, Fanny Pentel, Pauline Prato and Ludovic Quille, dance, theatre and visual arts students.
Maison de la danse
The « State of the body » Parcours was launched thanks to the support of General Secretariat of Ministries and Coordination of Cultural Policies for Innovation (SCPCI)