At the June Events festival, dance no longer holds its breath

“This Is Not (An Act of Love and Resistance)”, by Aina Alegre, at the Cultuurcentrum in Bruges, Belgium, in December 2022.

Panting hard, exhaling deeply, spitting out your lungs, but also whispering, murmuring… This moving sound range lifts the show in waves This Is Not (An Act of Love & Resistance), by Aina Alegre, who opened with fanfare, Tuesday, May 30, the June Events festival, piloted by the Atelier de Paris. With its nine “air workers” in action, including three trombonists and a tubist, the choreographer, who has rooted her research for ten years on the deep breath as “extension and resonance of the body in space”carried the audience away in a joyfully insurrectional and subtly feminist tornado. “I had a hard time finding trombone and tuba players”she says.

For her first large-format piece, Aina Alegre, co-director, with Yannick Hugron, from the Center chorégraphique national de Grenoble, an actress by the way, pushes the plunger to further expand her palette. The dancers talk, and the musicians dance, and this little world of “lungarians – a term borrowed from science journalist James Nestor, author of the book breathing (“breath”, Penguin Group, 2021, untranslated) on breathing and its impact on human health – makes common ventilation. “Originally, there is the desire to understand where the gesture comes from and how it circulates, she points out. I work a lot on the jump and its repetition which is based on the breath and the voice. They give rhythm to our movements, of which they become the music while giving consistency to the air. »

Unusual alliances

This unusual operatic form that is This Is Not (An Act of Love & Resistance) gives the overall tone of the 17e edition of June Events. Of the twenty or so shows on the bill, a dozen knit unusual alliances between gesture and voice. “The younger generation wants to take advantage of all the possibilities of the bodyinsists Anne Sauvage, director of the festival. And it is, in my opinion, the expression of an affirmation and a claim, in particular among women who are very numerous in this field. » She thus accompanies this desire in parallel with master classes with what she calls “voice midwives”, such as Meredith Monk, Vincent Dupont, Dalila Khatir or Jean-Baptiste Veyret-Logerias. “They help choreographers find theirs and explore it in all its forms, from speech to singing, and even bird calls in Joana Schweizer. »

Ever heard that somewhere? Nothing really new under the sun of contemporary dance. Pina Bausch, Maguy Marin, Jean-Claude Gallotta, Georges Appaix – to name but a few – have long since taken the dancer out of his bowl to open the microphone to him. But this liberating momentum and this need for a full body connected to its intimate complexity are today colored with different aesthetic and societal nuances. Between the damper of the Covid pandemic, the ecological emergency, the trend “full show” very present on the sets, the multiple and sophisticated tools of the performers and their keen taste for performance, new stories and writings spring up.

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