Les Sylphides – bodily air creatures

May 29, 2009

Back to Queer Festival and an interesting performance by duo of dancers / choreographers Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud… an airing experience entitled ‘Les Sylphides‘.

Because this performance explores micro-passages of human existence in conditions that limit vital functions as breathing, the force that drives it is very similar to Raimund Hoghe’s dramaturgy, but it results with completely different end and, of course, completely different poetics.

Sylphides_1_Alain_Monot.jpgPhoto: Alain Monot (c)

Bengolea and Chagnaud started their bodily investigation with essential element of our existence, and that’s air. The narrative of ‘Les Sylphides‘ is created as a fluid silent embroidery of amorphous objects…

The whole idea of Sylphs, either in ‘never ending’ alchemist Paracelsus‘s world, either as reference to one of the oldest ballet seems to give an ethereal mood to the performance.

Three bodies laying in squared PVC costumes designed by Sothean Nhieim; and breathing only through tight pipes placed exactly where performers’ mouth should be. Their breathing is slow, elementary and you can see, practically, medically very refined movements of their lungs, ribs and abdominal muscles. Because dancers had tiny by cotton and polyester made ordinary clothes, the outside view for the audience was even more medical, because their bodies and muscles looked, through PVC, like veins and slightly oversized capillaries, but very subtle in its existence…

Sylphides_2_Alain_Monot.jpgPhoto: Alain Monot (c)

The link that connects Sylphs with kind of present world, is an arbiter, a woman – by costume and attitude a representative of Gothic subculture, but also a fairy related character; who comes with air – precisely, air-pump and fills in dancers costumes fully with air.

This was actually the first moment that we can freely characterize as a ‘queer’ moment. But also dramaturgically, it completely sets into situation and choreographers’ poetic. The interplay between, now, standing cubes – is comic and interesting to see, cuz dancers can’t see through their plastic costumes, and they have to trust their perception and body-mind related apparatus.

The Gothic Lady, comes several times in their scenes with barrow, transporting performers and reorganizing the space. But her most crucial appearance is when she comes again with the air-pump, but this time to take away air from their costumes… an irreversible moment… closing sylphs circle…

Sylphides_3_Donatien_Veismann.jpgPhoto: Donatien Veismann (c)

After such powerful visually oriented physical theatre, the piece ends with dancers coming out from the plastic shield dancing on a pop music song. I have to admit that I stayed completely confused with such ‘punch’ on my mind. The song was not my kind, but then, I realized that in order to enjoy freely, I simply have to accept Bengolea and Chagnaud’s queer-ish decision to stay on their very own lines of aesthetics…  and since, I’m blogging about it, you can conclude that I really liked it…

Cecilia Bengolea was born in Argentina and received training in philosophy and art history. Since 2001, she has been living and working in Europe as a dancer, a choreographer, and a writer. She had the pleasure of working with Joao Fiadeiro, Claudia Triozzi, Édouard Levé, Mark Tompkins, Tiago Guedes, Yves-Noël Genod, Alain Buffard, Joris Lacoste, Jeanne Revel and Alice Chauchat. She regularly engages in various activities, including ballet, boxing, contortionism, strip tease, and singing.

Bengolea_Chaignaud.jpgPhoto taken from altamusica and digitally enhanced by lomodeedee

Born in 1983, François Chaignaud graduated from the Conservatoire National de Région de Rennes with a major in classical and modern dance. He also holds a degree from the prestigious institution of music and dance, the Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse de Paris. Under the auspices of the “Junior Ballet”, he had the pleasure of collaborating with Odile Duboc, Hervé Robbe, and Mark Tompkins. Boris Charmatz’s Projet Bocal afforded him the opportunity to perform for numerous artists, including Tiago Guedes, Emmanuelle Hyunh, Gilles Jobin, Aydin Teker, “Mille Plateaux Associés”, Alice Chauchat and Alain Buffard. (bio’s taken from: Antipodes official site)

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  • amelie
    April 15, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

    new show of the amazing Claudia Triozzi in paris, rigth now!

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