Boris Charmatz / Musée de la danse

  • Performance
  • Spanish premiere
  • Country: France
  • Approximate duration: 1 hour (no intermission)
  • Premiere: 2014
The dance will be enjoyed standing on stage; no assigned seats
Choreography: Boris Charmatz
Cast: Or Avishay, Matthieu Barbin, Alina Bilokon, Nuno Bizarro, Ashley Chen, Olga Dukhovnaya, Christophe Ives, Maud Le Pladec, Mark Lorimer, Mani Mungai, Marlène Saldana, Asha Thomas y Frank Willens
Boris Charmatz imbues our base instincts with humanity once again. The show emanates flashes of beauty. Our fragility has been saved”.

Internationally renowned for his inventive, philosophical and socially sharp creations, French choreographer Boris Charmatz tirelessly seeks and develops new forms of dance. In manger, the show the artist will premiere in Spain in December as part of the XXXIV Festival de Otoño a Primavera, Charmatz takes on the challenge of exploring the role that the mouth and the act of eating plays in the world of dance and interpretation. In the play, food serves as an engine that uncovers new forms of movement. According to Charmatz, “in manger, all the choreography revolves around a game between the hand, the food and the voice. I have always been fond of the relationship between the fingers and the mouth, it challenges me to set bodies into motion”.

Seemingly simple in concept, but rich in the variety of its manifestations, manger is a piece that spans everything from the most mundane daily acts to the most explicit sexual connotations. Hands, mouth and voice, and the relationship between them, have always unnerved Charmatz. And, using these elements as a departure point, he has created a choreography based on one of the most fundamental human acts: eating. The result is a sensual experience, a show that can be described as an art installation in motion. Eating is a common activity that has rarely been approached from a choreographic point of view. For Charmatz, “it is an act that is completely unspectacular; it is almost an invisible process. However, at the same time, it can powerfully symbolic and meaningful. At its core, manger is about making things disappear. It is a piece that asks how we digest reality”.

Dance choreographer, performer and provocateur, Charmatz is one of the most innovative voices on the contemporary scene, creating work that explores the relationship between dance, art and philosophy. Subverting the expectations of his audience, the artist often breaks with theatre’s formal rules and procedures in order to expand the potential of the choreographic space. In his creations, a simple idea frequently takes centre stage, serving as a framework for all subsequent movements, which in turn are taken to the limit of their possibilities.

In manger (a piece performed at legendary venues like the Musée de la danse in France and London’s Tate Modern before landing in Madrid), Charmatz is interested in the act of eating as a metaphor. For an hour, 14 dancers feed on pieces of paper: some nibble, some fold them carefully, others chew. At the boundary between a mobile installation and an indeterminate sound object, the on-stage audience is witness to a slow digestion of the world.

Can we dance while we eat? Can we sing with a mouth stuffed with a loaf of bread? On this occasion, Charmatz fixes his eye on something intimate, something we all believe we know the rules about. And he manages to both enthral and surprise and disturb us at the same time. In manger, the artist uses a completely bare set –on stage we only see a few neon tubes and microphones hanging from the ceiling– to produce an astonishing piece. The dancers eat and yell, with noises that give the audience chills, sounds that then morph into a melodious chant that ends in a lament. Soon they throw themselves to the floor as the violent shock of the sounds they make unsettling us once again. “We eat to keep from crying. We eat to digest information. We eat not to scream”, says Charmatz.


Choreography: Boris Charmatz
Cast: Or Avishay, Matthieu Barbin, Alina Bilokon, Nuno Bizarro, Ashley Chen, Olga Dukhovnaya, Christophe Ives, Maud Le Pladec, Mark Lorimer, Mani Mungai, Marlène Saldana, Asha Thomas y Frank Willens
Lighting: Yves Godin
Sound: Olivier Renouf
Vocal training: Dalila Khatir
Choreography assistant: Thierry Micouin
Stage manager: Mathieu Morel
Lighting technician: Fabrice Le Fur
Costume design: Marion Regnier
Producers: Sandra Neuveut, Martina Hochmuth and Amélie-Anne Chapelain
Sound material: Ticket Man, The Kills; Hey Light, Animal Collective; King Kong, Daniel Johnston; Leisure Force, Aesop Rock; Je t’obéis, Sexy Sushi; La Folia, Arcangelo Corelli; Symphony n°7, Ludwig van Beethoven; Qui habitat, Josquin des Prez; Three Voices, Morton Feldman; Lux Alternae, György Ligeti.
Text: Le bonhomme de merde in L’Enregistré, Christophe Tarkos, P.OL., 2014
Produced by: Musée de la danse / Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne, directed by Boris Charmatz. The association is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Communication (Regional Bureau of Cultural Affairs / Brittany), the City of Rennes, the Regional Council of Brittany and the Ille-et-Vilaine General Council.
The Institut Français regularly supports Musée de la danse’s international tours.
Coproduced by: Ruhrtriennale-International Festival of the Arts, Théâtre National de Bretagne-Rennes, Théâtre de la Ville and Festival d’Automne Paris, steirischer herbst Graz, Holland Festival Amsterdam, Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt am Main.
Created at the: Ruhrtriennale — International Festival of the Arts 2014
Thanks to: Imane Alguimaret, Marguerite Chassé, Noé Couderc, Lune Guidoni, Hypolite Tanguy, the students at P.A.R.T.S. (Brussels) and from the Master-Studiengang Performance Studies (University of Hamburg) and Alexandra Vincens.
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