Sky shadow | Paris National Conservatory of Music and Dance

Within a few years, the name Noé Soulier had established himself on the international scene as one of the most talented choreographers of the new generation. Trained at the Paris Conservatory and later at the PARTS Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker school, this master’s degree holder in philosophy never stops exploring – through original and often horrendous language – the movements and intentions that animate them. As part of the Paris Autumn Festival, this season he is involved in a monumental project that brings together students from the Conservatoire, the Center National de Danse Contemporaine (Cndc) in Angers, which he directs, and musicians from the Ensemble intercontemporain. This creation – according to the play clock and cloud (Clock and cloud) by György Ligeti – was an opportunity to organize a dialogue between the choreographer and Cédric Andrieux, director of choreographic studies.

How was the birth of this creation project entitled clock and cloudwith the Festival d’Automne, brought by students from the Cndc d’Angers and the Conservatoire de Paris?

Shortly after taking up my post at the CNSMDP, the idea to build a monumental project with the Festival d’Automne was born. In 2019, the Festival dedicated its Portraits to Merce Cunningham, and during discussions with artistic director Marie Collin, it seemed that a school like ours could offer choreographers the opportunity to work with many very young artists. In 2021, we rejected this idea with Trisha Brown x 100 (featuring one hundred dancers from the Conservatory), and in 2023, we will reject it in a portrait to be dedicated to Lucinda Childs. Last year, we participated in the same way at Tempête, the Boris Charmatz event at the Grand Palais. For 2022, the name Noé Soulier quickly came into its own, as she’s the head of CCN as well as a higher school, so it makes sense. Participating in these creations allows students to meet other formations and other bodies. This year, it is a meeting with another profile of dance students, namely from Cndc of Angers. This is all the more important as this generation has been deprived of exchange by the recent pandemic years. They couldn’t meet in the same space, share the same moments.

Several aspects attracted me to this project. First of all, pedagogical interests organize meetings of two groups of students. Being confronted with other ways of working, both in rehearsal and on stage, is very rewarding. It’s great to see two French colleges working together, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing in the past. Beyond pedagogical issues, clock and cloud also brought me a real artistic challenge: the possibility of working with a large group of dancers allowed me to try to update my approach to large ensemble choreography. As soon as a number of dancers are involved in the choreography, a compositional pattern is formed, which tends to unite the group through general instruction. We will apply the same rules to all players, make them all move in the same direction, or ask them to make the same move. We can try to propagate a waveform, or work according to accumulation logic. In clock and cloud, the idea is precisely to avoid this centralized logic. Written movement phrases are passed to players during practice, but the composition is then woven together in real time through various decisions made by each group member. Great liberties remain in the way sentences will unfold and intersect in time and space. The fact that they are written allows for real legibility from a vocabulary point of view, but the flexibility of their organization gives rise to patterns of interaction that each dancer will have with those around him, or with those around him. far. This creates a much more complex structure than one could mentally imagine and plan for. This composition also allows the audience to choose where they focus their attention, for example they can choose to watch two or three dancers, or follow the group as a whole. If all the dancers used a single phrase, their improvisations would result in repeating motifs, like lots of micro cannons matching each other. On the other hand, if they used multiple motion phrases, the composition would be more chaotic, more difficult to read. You can play with many of these parameters, a bit like with a synthesizer, to create different states of choreography on set. During the development of the piece, Cédric and I discussed all of these parameters at length, and I am very excited, as a choreographer, with this project.

How does this decentralized composition resonate with the György Ligeti Chamber Concert?

This choreographic approach resonates with certain experiments by György Ligeti, who sometimes attempted to produce the texture of a sound ensemble from the interaction or mixing of several voices. One part of the Ligeti program is indeed this Chamber Concert, whose name already creates a paradox, for the concerto is an orchestral form, whereas chamber music presupposes smaller groups of instrumentalists and other types of composition. The piece is performed by thirteen musicians who are all soloists, so each part is autonomous and the sound texture, timbre, is produced by this polyphony. Sometimes these sounds overlap and create a sound that resembles electroacoustic.

Our monumental projects always involve student musicians from the Conservatory. This time, we broke the rules because Ensemble intercontemporain, some of whose musicians are professors from the Conservatory, wanted to work with student dancers, which is one of the origins of this project. The director, Olivier Leymarie, was passionate about Noé’s work, and he was a driving force in the tripartite relationship involving his Ensemble, Cndc of Angers and CNSMDP.

Working with Ensemble intercontemporain makes me happy. This experience encouraged me to dive deeper into György Ligeti’s music. So that in March 2023, I plan to start from Etudes for piano for creations that I will be presenting on NDT2. clock and cloud therefore feeding my own choreographic approach.

What vision do you both have of your roles as leaders, respectively, of the direction of the CNSMDP choreography studies, and the Cndc of Angers high school?

The conservatory is a place where educational contexts have existed for more than two hundred years. My job is to envision how storytelling is today with the power that exists, in both the classical and contemporary curricula. In this particular context, we have thought a lot about the tension between setting and emancipation, as well as the methods of evaluation. From this understanding, problems ariseEmpowerment, self-confident. My role, as I understand it, asks me to imagine what future choreographers will need in terms of tools and experience. To train them, the challenge was to arrange for them to meet several guest artists, and open them up to different creative contexts. The students taking part in Noé’s plays are in the first or second year of their master’s degree, a time when it becomes important to deal with problems of experimentation, creation, repertoire, performance in front of a large audience.

The proposal from the Cndc graduate school is intended for post-baccalaureate students. Our identity is centered on creation and experimentation. We train choreographic artists, with very broad performer visions that overlap with the realities of contemporary creative processes, where artists are often asked to collaborate. Beyond the technical courses, what is important to me is letting students go through the physical experience, the audience experience, the theoretical and conceptual questions, to develop new ways of thinking about the context of dance production and creation. Today, contemporary dance brings together diverse artist profiles. For these artists to find areas in which they excel, and areas they are moving towards.

Interview by Delphine Roche

Photo © Victoria Tanto Cndc Angers

Posted in Art

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