Encyclopœdia – DOCUMENT 1

Dancers: Mark Eden-Towle, Sarah Doucet | Photographer: Michael SlobodianEncyclopoedia - DOCUMENT 1

DOCUMENT 1, first and foremost, is a meticulously crafted work about the body, which uses the entire choreographic and artistic corpus as material for reflection and direct integration. Like all works initiating a series, DOCUMENT 1 lays the foundations for the larger project Encyclopœdia and sets forth its aims – particularly with regard to the body as the engine of movement, and the notion of the theatrical encyclopedia.

Forging a link between the stage and the outside world, the work is composed of hundreds of gestures, attitudes, objects and perspectives on the world and its everyday activities. These gestural combinations and collections of movements underscore the infinite generational possibilities of various parts of the human body: variations for arms, hands and feet unfold one after the other in a geometrically divided space, along with astonishing choreographic sequences for head and hips by Meg Stuart and Benoît Lachambre respectively.

Stressing the relationship between the encyclopedia and theatre, Lynda Gaudreau positions the moving bodies against a large band of white paper, occasionally inserting plates from the celebrated encyclopedia of Diderot and d’Alembert. In this encounter between the human being and proliferating spatial configurations, the artist works on the body – twisted, folded, stretched, bent, standing, recumbent – and on everything surrounding it: music, sound environments and video, including a clip from Jonathan Burrows’ Hands. With ironic winks here and there, DOCUMENT 1 also reveals, through video projections, the natural and almost banal aspects of familiar body movements: races, a ball game in a park, knitting motions.

Deliberately fragmentary and discontinuous, DOCUMENT 1 casts a slightly detached look at movement and the world that surrounds and modulates it. At the same time, it forges unexpected links between choreography and everyday life.

Andrée Martin


To P. Mills

Premiere: September 27, 1999, Festival international de nouvelle danse (Montreal, Canada)

Choreography and artistic direction
Lynda Gaudreau

Sarah Doucet
Mark Eden-Towle
Sophie Janssens
Sophie Lavigne

Guest choreographer and dancer
Benoît Lachambre

Scenography and sound direction
Lynda Gaudreau

Sound engineering
Dino Giancola

Lucie Bazzo

Original score
Rober Racine
Piano (1999)

Lynda Gaudreau
Carmen Alie
Denis Lavoie

Integrated videography
Jonathan Burrows
Hands (1995)

A dance film by Jonathan Burrows, Adam Roberts and Matteo Fargion
Music: Matteo Fargion
Video used with kind permission from the Arts Council of England.

Integrated choreographies
Meg Stuart and Damaged Goods
Excerpt from No Longer Readymade (1993)
Dancer: Benoît Lachambre
Music: Hahn Rowe

Benoît Lachambre
Solo à la hanche (1999)
(original composition)

Integrated choreographic props
Daniel Larrieu
Feutre (1999)
(the ball and the feathers)

Integrated interviews
Barbara De Coninck
Les oiseaux et le mouvement

Jérôme Bel
Propos sur la création

Rehearsal directors
AnneBruce Falconer
France Roy

Original videography
Marlene Millar
Philip Szporer
Lynda Gaudreau

Actors: Dwayne Bromfield, Loan Duong, David A. Peters, Mark Eden-Towle, Roger Beaulne, Alexina Cowan and AnneBruce Falconer
Director of photography: Michael Wees
Sound Director: Duraid Munajim
Editing: Michel Giroux
Sound editing: Martin Hurtubise
This project was made possible thanks to the financial participation of PRIM.

A co-production of the Festival international de nouvelle danse (Montreal, Canada), the National Arts Centre (Ottawa, Canada), and the Compagnie De Brune.

Lynda Gaudreau was artist in residence at the La La La Human Steps studios during the 1998-1999 season.

Project partners: Théâtre de la Ville (Longueuil, Quebec), Centre chorégraphique national de Tours (France)

Length: 70 minutes (without intermission)

Press Excerpts

A magical evening of dance: DOCUMENT 1, by Canadian Lynda Gaudreau, conjures up a poetical alphabet of the body [...].

DOCUMENT 1 fascinates from beginning to end.

Eva Bucher, Neue Luzerner Zeitung (Switzerland), November 11, 2001

Odenthal [Head, Department of Performing Arts, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin] commented that, in the 16th century, an attempt was made to re-systematize knowledge. In the "gaps of knowledge" – where the world had not yet been explored – artists and utopians created their imaginary worlds.

Which is what Lynda Gaudreau does in her choreographies.

Ulrike Geist, Oranienburger Generalanzieger (Germany), August 15, 2000

With her Compagnie De Brune, the Canadian artist, well-known for her rigorous creations, seeks to get to the root of things. [...] Yet in its formal radicalism DOCUMENT 1 is one of the highlights of this year's Internationales Tanzfest Berlin.

Kerstin Rottman, Die Welt (Germany), August 15, 2000

[...] a theatrically passionate, fleet-footed and danced exchange about the contemporary repertoire.

Andrea Amort, Wiener Kurier (Austria), August 9, 2000

It was, like the rest of the evening, purely intellectual. And purely a delight.

Jenny Jackson, The Ottawa Citizen (Canada), February 25, 2000

The first surprise in DOCUMENT 1 stems from this very act: the sheer boldness of creating an original artistic form to explore the polemical question of aesthetic relationships.

With DOCUMENT 1, the Brazilian public will have the chance to see the starting point of this fascinating trajectory, to discover the difference that makes a difference in the world of contemporary dance.

Helena Katz, O Estado de São Paulo (Brazil), January 18, 2000

This extremely concentrated method of working is reflected in theatrical spareness. Nonetheless the work sparkles with Gaudreau's fascination for the archival, the descent into ever new modes of ordering.

The result is an organically developed piece that avoids becoming a mathematical or purely technical exercise, but which rather owes its gentle yet striking visual force to a careful and delicate melding of complex, intermeshed choreographic-theatrical strata.

Sabine Huschka, Tanzdrama (Germany), 2000

A poetic minimalism arises, so to speak rhythm-ising the various fragments and binding them together compositionally. This turns the conventional concept of authorship on its head.

[...] Like Jérôme Bel, but by different routes, a playful space comes into being that confronts the subject as the central category of modern art with an imaginary collective.

Diderot's cultural-political intention in publishing his Encyclopédie in the 18th century, namely the democratisation of knowledge, is also what has inspired Lynda Gaudreau to attempt a redefinition of choreographic work.

Johannes Odenthal, Ballet International–Tanz Aktuell (Germany), November 1999

Lynda Gaudreau has the marvelous habit of transforming her choreographic research, which at first might appear rather clinical and formal, into something incredibly pure and extremely moving.

DOCUMENT 1 focuses on the arms, hands, feet and hips, and the result is absolutely fascinating. Like plates in a living encyclopedia...

Stéphanie Brody, La Presse (Canada), September 28, 1999

As ever, Gaudreau juxtaposes forms and perspectives, finding new ways to help us appreciate the body – any body.

Linde Howe-Beck, The Gazette (Canada), September 28, 1999

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