Friday, 15th July 2011

DDF On the Road – Montpellier

JUNE 25- JULY 5, 2011

This year’s Montpellier Danse Festival had a strand of work from Tel Aviv (a selection from the annual International Exposure at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in December) and another strand of circus-based work.  In between there were large spectacles in the Corum such as the astounding Royal Ballet of Flanders performing William Forsythe’s Artifact, and smaller works at the new Cunningham Studio at L’Agora as well as at outlying theatres.

In a new programme development, Raimund Hoghe was invited to be the Associate Artist and was in residence throughout the two weeks of the Festival.  On six afternoons, he presented an “open door” in which he spoke with other artists (Franko B), showed DVD’s of artists who had been inspirational to him (Maya Plisetskaya, Kazuo Ohno, Pina Bausch) and artists with whom he works (Ornella Balestra, Lorenzo de Brabandere, Emmanuel Eggermont and Luca Giacomo Schulte).  A final performance, entitled Montpellier, 4 July 2011, was a sort of homage to the courtyard of L’Agora.  In the fading daylight, without any theatrical lighting, vignettes chosen from Hoghe’s repertoire unfolded in the shadows of the 14th century former convent.  It was truly breathtaking.

Bartabas, who in the 80’s performed an amazing work with a horse called Zingaro, created a new work with Butoh choreographer Ko Murobushi incorporating four horses that was extraordinary in its visual imagery and force.  The lighting, by Françoise Michel, who designed the lights for Sui Generis in this year’s Dublin Dance Festival, was central to the work.

A bit of unplanned excitement jarred the opening of Batsheva Dance Company’s performance of Project 5 by Ohad Naharin.  Two men dropped from the roof of the outdoor theatre at L’Agora onto one of the lighting catwalks and dropped pro-Palestinian leaflets onto the stage and into the audience.  The French audience engaged in some back-and-forth conversation with the protestors until DDF’s 2009 intern, Jean-François Chapon, saved the day (or night) by escorting them out (followed by security police).  The company showed remarkable aplomb in their performance of this episodic work which incorporates segments from five different pieces.

Other artists/companies I saw included Deborah Hay and Laurent Pichaud in a playful duet; Montpellerain Didier Théron; Israeli artists Emmanuel Gat (now based in France), Barak Marshall (Los Angeles-born and partially based there), Yuval Pick (now based in France), Oded Graf & Yossi Berg (partially based in Copenhagen) and Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor (based in Israel); juggler (with a lot of ice!) Phia Ménard and contortionist Angela Laurier.

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One afternoon, I attended a seminar entitled Une Politique Patrimoniale pour la Danse at which the six panelists (from the Dance programme of the Ministry of Culture and from the National Dance Centre) spoke about policy and programmes of support for the art form.  The most interesting thing for me was the numbers.

In 2010, a total of €109M was given to dance in the following categories:

Direct Aid

€68M including
€ 7M to artists including 250 choreographers and 40 incorporated companies
€15M to the 19 National Choreographic Centres
€42M to the Paris Opera Ballet
€ 4M to the regional Opera Ballet companies

€20M to the Maison de la Danse in Lyon, 70 National Theatres, 40 Platforms,
8 Choreographic Development Centres and an unspecified number Festivals for the presentation of work

€8M to the National Dance Centre in Paris

€13M to National Theatre of Chaillot, which has been designated as the centre for dance in Paris.

It is difficult to compare budgets as the population of France is 62.5 million, whereas Ireland is a country of 4.5 million and the funding bodies work very differently.  It is interesting to note, however, that the Arts Council had a total budget of just €68M in 2010. But while we might dream about working with generous funding like this, we shouldn’t forget about what we’ve achieved with much less!

Author: ellie | 1 Comment »