Johannes Odenthal
Ballet International/Tanz Aktuell (Germany)
November 1999


DOCUMENT 1 is the first part of a series of documents made by the choreographer Lynda Gaudreau, who pursues a very unusual path in her compositions. While exploring a heterogeneous material of movements, drawings, films, etc, with her dancers at the Festival international de nouvelle danse in Montreal, she is also constantly on the lookout for guests and personalities relevant to her perspective of cultural production. They are invited to participate in the documents by either contributing an example of their work or producing something new.

Benoît Lachambre, therefore, dances his solo from Meg Stuart’s 1993 choreography No Longer Readymade and Jonathan Burrows gives his 1995 video Hands. Along with these artifacts, the dancers take over choreographic images from Daniel Larrieu (Feutre from 1999) or incorporate interviews about dance and creativity with Barbara De Coninck and Jérôme Bel. Lachambre presents a new choreography, Solo à la hanche, a commentary on the vocabulary of the other dancers.

All of this is presented in dialogue with Gaudreau’s minimalist spatial concept, insofar as the dancers enter into contact with visual elements such as blown-up drawings from Diderot’s Encyclopédie, rolled-out blue fields of colour or pictures from botanical works.

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. The choreographer who works with his or her particular form of creativity and leaves a recognisable personal stamp on the result is merely absorbed into the DOCUMENT 1 whole.

Gaudreau shares her presentation space with her fellow artists. 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.

Four classically and modern-trained dancers were joined by Roger Beaulne, a 75 year old non-dancer who reflected the technical virtuosity of the dancers with his limited movement scope and everydayness: he both reflects their abilities and relativises them in a discourse. In this manner, DOCUMENT 1 is also a commentary on dancers on a stage, an experimental space where humans and things can meet. The enlarged drawings on the ground at the beginning of the production show the work tools of the sculptor in Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie (around 1800). By adapting to the forms, nestling against them, measuring up against them, the dancers associate their relationship to space and form as an active process of definition in space and time: dance as a temporal formation of that on which the sculptor concentrates in space. Gaudreau’s work is better off described in these terms than in those of choreography.

The dancers in DOCUMENT 1 share a formal context with all other possibilities of spatial and temporal organisation. This is made clear when Lachambre and Beaulne wind up their tin toy animals and develop a choreography to the accompaniment of their noises and movements. A space of possibilities emerges between the banality and hysteria, which has no place for genius. 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.

Version imprimable  Haut de page