Encounters

Choreography as a means of resistance

Encounter with Bruno Bouché — By Solène Souriau

Sébastian Bertaud, Bruno Bouché, Simon Valastro and Nicolas Paul, all dancers with the Paris Opera, offer us their creations for the company’s dancers on the stage of the Palais Garnier. An opportunity to examine the choreographer’s profession and, more importantly, to reveal to the public four personalities, four of today’s dancers and four choreographers of tomorrow.


With Undoing World, what themes do you tackle?

For this piece, which in a way marks my farewell to the Paris Opera, the theme of a quest seemed an obvious one: the quest for elsewhere, a change of direction, another reality. I placed this quest at the heart of my work, with all that it implies in terms of physical and mental trials: wilderness, exile, the loss of familiar landmarks and even a certain chaos engendered by these changes of direction. One can interpret this in the light of recent events but also in a more metaphysical sense. To go through trials to attain a certain exultation, isn’t that the story of our lives? is Garnier.

Is your piece political?

I have been directly confronted with the refugee issue in my own life but I didn’t want to pass on a message or create a polemical work. I’m more concerned by poetic constructions. I wanted to open up pathways, widen horizons of interpretation. My sources of inspiration were as much Dante and the passage through hell in The Divine Comedy as recent events, which have touched me a lot. The capacity to care for others has been part of my thinking in my work with the dancers.

The music, which combines a composition by Nicolas Worms and a song by the Klezmatics, is accompanied by a text by Deleuze. Why?

The song Doyna and Deleuze’s text are there precisely to broaden the message. The Klezmatics, a group inspired by the traditional Yiddish music, Klezmer, reminds one of the migrations of a people long deprived of territory. The text, with brings together extracts from Gilles Deleuze’s lectures on Spinoza entitled “Immortality and Eternity”, extends the vision of that quest to our own condition: that of being mortal and aware of the finite nature of our existence.

Simon Valastro, Nicolas Paul, Bruno Bouché, Sébastien Bertaud, dans la salle du Palais Garnier
Simon Valastro, Nicolas Paul, Bruno Bouché, Sébastien Bertaud, dans la salle du Palais Garnier © Julien Benhamou / OnP

Has this year with the Academy helped you to advance in your work as a choreographer?

Meeting William Forsythe was a determining factor. The more my work progresses, the better I understand his way of seeing choreography as a means of resistance. To develop his ideas, the artist is in permanent confrontation with a reality that imposes its own resistance. With Undoing World, I wanted to go towards something unknown and take the dancers with me in order to attain the complexity and freedom of new forms. istence.

How does one go from being a dancer to being a choreographer?

I come from classical ballet and I have been forged by my experience as a dancer. My training helps me just as it can hinder me. Even if I sense continuity between the two activities, they remain completely distinct for me. It is very important that the Paris Opera encourage and support dancers who wish to be chorographers.

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