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Mourning at the heart of dance

Mourning at the heart of dance

“There is sadness, annihilation, but also light and energy, even jubilation. » This is how Angelin Preljocaj, director of the National Choreographic Center of Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), describes his new piece, Requiems, for nineteen dancers. For the first time, the choreographer, who lost his father and mother, and friends in 2023, tackles the theme of death. “Honoring the memory of deceased people whom we loved generates joyhe continues. If there is a form of anger at the beginning, of rage, their memory sparks very beautiful things. By designing this show, I had the feeling of meeting them again. A real joy ! »

This “mosaic of feelings”, in accordance with a heterogeneous musical choice, highlights the motif of mourning, very present on contemporary scenes. At the theater, Lorraine de Sagazan in Sacred (2023) or Pascal Rambert with My absent (2023) delivered their vision of this great existential shift. On the choreographic sets, there was Steven Cohen, who swallowed a spoonful of the ashes of the love of his life, Elu (1968-2016), in Put your heart under your feet…and walk (2017), or Alain Platel, Requiem for L. (2018), co-signed with composer Fabrizio Cassol, was based on the final images of a woman who had chosen to die. Young artists, featured at the International Choreographic Meetings of Seine-Saint-Denis, under the direction of Frédérique Latu, take their turn on the subject.

Read the review (2019) | Article reserved for our subscribers Steven Cohen dialogues with death

Like Angelin Preljocaj, Magda Kachouche, who created her company Langue vivant in 2022, unfolds the memory of the death of her father in 2018 in the background of the quartet composed of three dancers and a musician The Rose of Jericho. In this “festive and unique mourning ceremony”it questions the function of funerals and the preservation of the link between the living and the deceased. “How does mourning affect us?asks the choreographer. What does it physically produce on us? I wanted to create a transformative space to accept death, welcome grief and guide these emotions towards acceptance and repair. »

Cathartic experience

In line with his solo Stiff (2021), the performer distinguishes the role of what we today call the “funeral agents”, “facilitators” of these terrible moments. “This profession is essential and I pay tribute to it in the showshe specifies. When we were preparing the ceremony for my father, French Algerian but not Muslim, nothing that the funeral home team offered us suited us, but it was a carefully crafted package. We imagined something that resembles him with African music, Purcell, and poems by Pessoa that he loved. »

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Mattie B. Jiménez

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