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Author Topic:   Mathilde Monnier
Stuart Sweeney
posted August 26, 2000 12:38     Click Here to See the Profile for Stuart Sweeney   Click Here to Email Stuart Sweeney     Edit/Delete Message

Donald Hutera samples some continental fayre in Edinburgh


THE French don't just choreograph. They investigate, like
bloodhounds on the trail of the body's hidden meanings.
The only crime occurs when there is a failure to expose
their sometimes arcane findings to the audience's gaze.

Trained in the thorny fields of post-modernism, Mathilde
Monnier has acquired a reputation as a kinetic investigator
par excellence. Her latest work, the 80-minute Les lieux
de là, is having its UK premiere in Edinburgh.

Now read on.

[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited August 26, 2000).]

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Stuart Sweeney
posted August 26, 2000 13:25     Click Here to See the Profile for Stuart Sweeney   Click Here to Email Stuart Sweeney     Edit/Delete Message
Here's a link to some earlier articles we had about Mathilde Monnier with links to her own website.

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Stuart Sweeney
posted August 27, 2000 06:24     Click Here to See the Profile for Stuart Sweeney   Click Here to Email Stuart Sweeney     Edit/Delete Message
A rather odd review by Jann Parry in the Observer of the Mathilde Monnier piece - a
detailed , neutral description of the action and then a throwaway sentence, ‘Just the
ticket for a French festival, but harder to assimilate in rational Edinburgh. Les lieux
de là is as much installation art as dance.’ I think what this shows is that we don’t see
much Continental Dance Theatre in the UK and it can be a culture shock when we do.

By coincidence, there is also a short review of a solo by David Hughes, who caused
some hearts to flutter elsewhere on the site this week. Here’s the source of the
palpitations. The article doesn't mention whether the budget has run to a cossie this time:

And here is Jann Parry’s full article

[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited August 27, 2000).]

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Stuart Sweeney
posted August 28, 2000 15:30     Click Here to See the Profile for Stuart Sweeney   Click Here to Email Stuart Sweeney     Edit/Delete Message
It's Ismene Brown's turn to get to grips with continental dance theatre:

YEAR after year, we get used to it. Uplifted in the Edinburgh Festival's first week by some delectable treat of ballet, we are given a stern lesson in guilt and sinister foreboding with the European modern dance-theatre offerings in the second week.

However, she is fascinated by Monnier, but repelled by Sasha Waltz.

Ismene Brown's review

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posted September 23, 2001 15:35     Click Here to See the Profile for Marie   Click Here to Email Marie     Edit/Delete Message

Mathilde Monnier
Les lieux de là
Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts

Choreography : Mathilde Monnier

Performed by : Seydou Boro, Dimitri Chamblas, Bertrand Davy, Herman Diephuis, Corinne Garcia, Rémy Héritier, Éric Houzelot, I-Fang Lin, Joel Luecht, Rita Quaglia, Salia Sanou

Music : Heiner Goebbels
Musician : Alexandre Meyer

This was the most physically energetic show I have seen yet at le grand labo. There didn't seem to be any theme to this piece based on improvised and abstract movement and music. In the first section, the ten dancers, clad in dark blue and black shirts and slacks, threw themselves and each other around the stage as musician Alexandre Meyer, seated upstage, plucked away at the guitar to Goebbel's avant-garde score. One dancer jumped into a free dive onto the floor, eliciting a couple of shrieks from the audience. Stage right was piled high with cardboard boxes that were later used as landing pads for some of the dancers performing the same kind of free fall jumps. Stage left was four sheets of plywood, which created a long wall with two-foot wide spaces between them which the performers sometimes slipped between and slid down from, hanging sideways like big insects. It was clear that this group was used to working with each together and were able to do things that require a great deal of trust, like being thrown and caught. Working in groups, duets, trios and solos, which overlapped at various times kept the work interesting.

The second part had the dancers slowly rolling in a giant mass, slipping off their dark shirts and replacing them with more colourful ones. Some had already changed into vibrantly coloured pants. While they rolled over each other, stagehands removed the boxes to reveal huge swaths of grey coloured material piled up on the side of the stage. This section was a little long and lacked the intensity of the first half. The stagehands moving the boxes held my attention a lot longer than the performers. There were some nice moments later in the group section where the dancers formed a line in the middle of the stage and created a living tableau that seemed to have a life of its own. It was as if individual cells were coming together to create a new organism with each shift.

When the dancers began to work with the grey material, pulling it from one side of the stage to the other, there were some synchronization problems. Up to this point in the piece different things were always happening on stage, so when movements that were supposed to be performed in unison were a little sloppy it was surprising to see, as this group had appeared to be so in synch with each other. I would have liked to see a little more tension in the third part of the work because it started to die a little in terms of focus. The dancers were still energized but it seemed like something bigger could have been built out of the dragging, stretching and folding bolts of cloth. You could argue that this piece, as a more of an installation than a narrative work, doesn't require a driving force, that it can simply just 'be,' but whatever the momentum was at the beginning was gone by the end.

Ultimately, I found the strength and beauty of Les lieux de là to be the intense and very personal kinaesthetic explorations of the individual performers, belying the intention of the piece as simply an abstract creation.

Les lieux de là
video extract 56k
video extract DSL

[This message has been edited by Marie (edited June 01, 2002).]

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