Compagnie Marie Chouinard

Friday, February 6, 2015 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater

$25 general public; $22 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater

$25 general public; $22 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

“The evening rose to the highest form of art, propelled by a choreographer operating at her creative peak.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pre-performance talk by DanceLink Fellow Chloe Jones '15 on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 7:30pm in CFA Hall.

Chloe Jones ’15 talks to dancer Lucy M. May of Compagnie Marie Chouinard on the Center for the Arts blog here.

Dine/Dance/Discover on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 5:30pm in Fayerweather Dance and Theater Studios—add $15 to your regular ticket price. Click here to purchase Dine/Dance/Discover online.

Click here to read Marie Chouinard Dancers Push Boundaries In Two Wesleyan Performances, an interview with Marie Chouinard by Sharma Piersall Howard, Special Reporter to The Hartford Courant.

Montréal’s Compagnie Marie Chouinard returns to Wesleyan with the New England premiere of Gymnopédies (2013), created around the theme of the duet set to music by French composer and pianist Érik Satie; and the Connecticut premiere of Henri Michaux: Mouvements (2005–2011), featuring texts and visually arresting projected India-ink drawings from the book Mouvements by Belgian-born poet, writer, and painter Henri Michaux, and electroacoustic music by Canadian composer Louis Dufort.

Since 1978, Marie Chouinard has had a virtuoso approach to performance and the invention of a different universe for each new piece she creates. In 1980, Ms. Chouinard discovered the book Mouvements (1951) by Henri Michaux (1899-1984). In 64 pages of India-ink drawings, a 15-page poem and an afterword, Mouvements presents multiform figures that Ms. Chouinard took pleasure in reading literally, left to right and page by page, as a choreographic score. She then proceeded to decrypt Mr. Michaux’s drawings and set dance to these "movements of multiple inkjets, a celebration of blots, arms moving up and down the scales.” The book’s transition to dance has been done “word for word”—even the poem in the middle of the book, as well as its afterword, are included in the choreography. The drawings are projected in the background, allowing the audience to do a simultaneous personal reading of Mr. Michaux’s score. Echoing the visual presentation of a white page with black drawings, performers dressed in black dance on a white floor.

In 1990, she formed the Compagnie Marie Chouinard, described by The New York Times as “a hurricane of unbridled imaginativeness.” In the works she has created since then, the choreographer has explored the poetics of the body in immediate, intelligible and ever-surprising ways. “My source has always been the body itself, and especially the silence and the breath which make up the ‘invisible’ stuff of life,” she says. “At the root of each new work there is always what I call the ‘mystery,’ an unknown wavelength that calls out to me in an almost obsessive manner. My work consists of capturing this primordial wavelength, of ‘tuning’ it in a sense, and of arranging it in space and time with a structure and form proper to it.” In work stripped to its bare essence, a theatrical, quasi-operatic effect is achieved, the elements of “living art” brought to the fore through various techniques of composition and staging. “Cleverly weaving her sinuous choreography with theatrical vignettes and mime, Chouinard fashioned her own absurdist fantasy,” said The Dance Enthusiast about Gymnopédies. During the creation of the piece, the eleven company dancers worked daily with a piano teacher. Each dancer takes their place at a piano to play the three intriguing piano works of the same name composed by Érik Satie (1866–1925) in 1888.

In September 2008, Compagnie Marie Chouinard performed the United States premiere of Orpheus and Eurydice in the CFA Theater.

Performance contains nudity and adult content.

A Breaking Ground Dance Series event presented by the Dance Department and the Center for the Arts.

This event is also part of the Performing Arts Series. Made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts; as well as the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and additional support from the six New England state arts agencies.

Additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Québec Government Office in Boston.

Thumbnail image: choreography - Gymnopédies, choreographer - Marie Chouinard, photo by Sylvie-Ann Paré
, dancer Paige Culley.

Image above and on homepage: choreography - Gymnopédies, choreographer - Marie Chouinard, photo by Sylvie-Ann Paré, dancers Carol Prieur and Mariusz Ostrowski.