La Biennale di Venezia

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Introduction by

Marie Chouinard

Artistic Director of the Dance Department
 
I live at the foot of the oldest mountains on the planet, the Laurentians, I live on an island at the end of a river that is immensely long, and so wide that whales go there to spawn. 

In the summer, its banks call out to me. I go to Baie St-Paul, La Malbaie or Tadoussac, and the following year, I go to the other side of the river, to Kamouraska, to St-Jean Port-Joli or Trois Pistoles. One year I watch the sun set, and the next year I watch it rise! 

Dance is always an art of the body that transforms itself. By entering space and time, this body transforms both space and time and the order of things. It also transforms its witnesses. 

I climb down the rock face that takes me to the river, and its dozens of strata strain and collide in great silent clashes that take millennia to be completed. I go down faster than the rock face moves, I slip all the way down its timespan. In my own time, the rock face is motionless and in its own time, I flash by like a stream of light. 

We saw each other!
Smiling intimacy. 

I grasp reality through direct experience, through its re-making, through playing at re-creating its singularity. And I think of Venice waiting for me. 

Dance brings about an experience, brings a being into the world. The spectator may believe that dance comes to him or her through the sense of sight, yet it is with closed eyes that the dancer restores herself to rapture. Our eyes on the dancer with closed eyes, our breathing tuned to to hers, we too dance, think, pass again and again through the same brand-new set of neurons like hers. 

Dancers are beings who reflect life by eating it; what a strange shared feast it is, this collision with all the states in and of the world, from the unspoken to the cry.
Phenomena suddenly appear. I am thinking of Courbet, the Origin of the World, of an allusion to Cy Twombly that I am preparing for a new ballet. And I climb back up the rock to Venice where I choose to create a college for choreographers. The Bienniale had a College for dancers, film writer/ directors, composers, playwrights, but not for choreographers! 

And yet there certainly is a danse d’auteur... 

As for the college for dancers, I propose an adventure of three months in order to have time to refine the perceptions, the breath, and the practice of dance as art, not only as technique. 

Dancers work their bodies. That is true. They also work their souls. And when they offer their entire selves on stage, they have already arrived at an unusual level of vibration. Dance is a living art and its works are threatened with extinction unless they are practised; therefore, to give them a lifespan beyond their first steps is a political act. 

I also wish to offer dance in the cityspace itself, to passers-by, tourists – to present dancers in an impromptu manner, in motion right there as you round a corner when you are out for a stroll. A white carpet of dance, on the ground, in a square, for twenty minutes without music, like a moment of spontaneous poetry, a gift from the body. 

Through the college for choreographers and the college for dancers, through the shows, films, gatherings, performances on the campi, conversations with the artists after performances, the awarding of the Golden Lion and the Silver Lion, I have the opportunity to present masters, works, artists and body practices I believe in, which open our minds and patterns of perception to other dimensions, which spark dialogue between ourselves and our habits, between our mental structures and our freedom, towards renewed beauty, radical vitality, appeasement through embodiment, toned inclusion, and expanded love. 

I have the opportunity to offer a vision and a joy in a way other than through my own works.
Do we have more than five senses? Yes of course!
Life is always amazing and Venice always sings.

 

Marie Chouinard

Biennale Danza
Biennale Danza