Antistatic questions to Benjamin Bertrand // RAFALES
The body is full of virtual worlds.
What were you particularly interested in when creating the choreography for “Rafales”?
In French, Rafales means gust, energetic movement of the wind, circular and projected. I wanted to reveal a different texture of the air. These rafales are energetic: there is a different thickness of the air that can link and separate us. The Japanese aesthetic concept of MA is quite relevant in this case when we speak about the space that can link the bodies, the void as a spatial material. Through that particular perception of the air on our skin, I wanted to search what would be a mythical landscape of love between synergy and loss.
Rafales is a love landscape loaded with the tension that arises between union and separation. I was interested in creating a choreographic form full of mythological images between abstraction and romanticism, lines and pathos. We were interested in giving birth to images only though an undulating flux.
As a choreographer, I am more and more occupied by the power of dreams in our gestures. I believe that our gestures are full of memory and maybe the choreographic form is a memorial receptacle, able to resuscitate mythical landscapes, the myth of Phaedra, the couple Tristan and Isolde or the feeling of love… The body is full of virtual worlds. How to link the texture of our gestures and the texture of our dreams?
What kind of experience do you want to create for the audience with this piece?
Dance experience is often related to empathetic and sensual experience. Rafales is constructed on a symmetric pattern: a mirroring relation between two bodies. I move because I look at you as if I was inside your body. This is the basis of empathy.
How can I look at the other as my reflection?
Inside the performance, we are trying to stretch this symmetry out without breaking our vibratory link.
As a choreographer, I am trying to make a texture emerge, a spatial and movement texture. I want to explore an extended sensation, how the sensation can take all the space on stage and inside my body and build a synesthetic experience full of space, sound, time… Thanks to the gaze, I believe that the body of the performer and the body of the viewer can truly share the same intensity.
With Rafales, I wanted to extend and suspend the spatial and time dimension in order to permit one thing: to let the bodies vibrate through a certain type of touch. For example, in the piece there is a moment when we are crossing the space head-to-head (front to front) like a bicephalic creature, in constant negotiations.
The sound material created and played live by Florent Colautti builds a kind of common air, a “blood fluid” which can link our bodies. With Rafales, I wanted to slow down the time and to build intensity with a simple movement: a growing undulation.
More than showing a duet choreography, I am interested in loading the air for performers and viewers, breathing during one hour the same common fluid as vegetal beings.
How would you define your artistic position in contemporary dance? What makes you work in this art form?
I am at the beginning of a trajectory and I prefer to talk about artistic trajectory, not artistic position. I consider this trajectory a constant beginning as if we were always throwing the same javelin to different landscapes.
I think that the creative process is more about the voids, the space opened by these voids, the fears and the joys opened by this space. This void is related to the void of our generation. We are creating on the void left by our elders, on an ashy floor after a fire in a forest.
I always see gaps between bodies, lost bodies within extended landscapes : seas, deserts, forests. I see bodies and deserts.
I don’t know what is dance but dance is not fashion, dance is not advertising, dance is not an image. Dance can’t be controlled or used by the capitalist system.
Dance is an energetic art form and energy is related to intensity, to a sensation of existing. Dance is a certain type of touch.
Maybe it is desperate as a condition but we are only bodies. When I am on stage, I am exposed, I try to exist, I am touched by the gaze.
We are only bodies but I believe that the body is full of memory, «sound and fury». Memory is a virtual and imaginary world and I like to work on this paradoxical freedom. We are bodies, concrete creatures trapped in our skin but we can be connected to the virtual, to the mythical world, to the antique or medieval time, to the fairy tale, to the abstraction, to the surreal dimension… We don’t have to narrate stories, we can create body stories. I would like to create an ashy landscape for the new creation of our team called “La fin des forêts / the end of the drills“.
Body is not a screen and not an image, it is a life presence and my only desire as a choreographer is to permit auratic presences to emerge. And I am sure that the aura can emerge when a human being is touching another body or a certain type of his/her own memory, unknown and wide…