Twelve Seasons

11. 12. 13. 17. 18. 19. 20 / 05 > 20:30
16 / 05 > 19:30
Théâtre Les Tanneurs

“Imagination is the faculty to deform the images provided by our perception, not to form them”. This is what the philosopher Bachelard thought and this is what Michèle Noiret dreams of. Following on from In Between, the choreographer continues her exploration into the poetic resources offered by technology. Twelve Seasons is taking her back to the music of her mentor Karlheinz Stockhausen, 25 years after their first meeting. HisTierkreis (signs of the zodiac) for piano, clarinet, flute and trumpet forms its core. The musicians will be on stage. As receptacles of dreams about water, earth, air and fire and the passing of the seasons, the screens and mirrors, speakers and amplifiers will also be inhabited and ‘activated’ by the dancers. Their movement will ‘release’ images, sounds, reflections and echoes – metamorphoses on a musical score.

Concept: Michèle Noiret, Paolo Atzori, Todor Todoroff

Chorégraphie / Choreografie / Choreography: Michèle Noiret

Assistant à la chorégraphie / Choreografie-assistent / Assistant Choreography:

Fred Vaillant

Créé et interprété par / Gecreëerd en gedanst door / Created and interpreted by:

Caroline Cornelis, Joëlle Demulder, Stéphane Hisler, Mélanie Munt, Claire O’Neil, Jordi L. Vidal

Musique / Muziek / Music: Karlheinz Stockhausen, Tierkreis

Interprétation / Uitvoering / Interpreted by: Trio European Wind, Barre Bouman (Clarinette / Klarinet / Clarinet), Gillian Lampater (Flûte & piccolo/ Fluit & piccolo / Flute & piccolo), Achim Gorsch (Trompette et piano / Trompet en piano / Trumpet en piano)

Composition électroacoustique originale et interactions / Originele electroakoestische compositie en interacties / Original electronic-acoustic composition and interactions: Todor Todoroff

Scénographie et images / Scenografie en beelden / Scenography and images:

Paolo Atzori

Eclairages / Belichting / Lighting: Xavier Lauwers

Costumes / Kostuums / Costumes: Azniv Asfar

Programmation interactions vidéo / Programmatie interacties video / Programmation interactions video: Guy Van Belle

Coordination construction du décor / Coordinatie decorbouw / Coordination set

construction: Wim Vermeylen

Directeur technique / Technisch directeur / Technical manager: Thomas Kazakos

Coordinateur technique / Technisch coördinator / Technical coordinator:

Philippe Warrand

Photographie / Fotografie / Photography: Sergine Laloux

Promotion et production / Promotie en productie / Promotion and production:

Alexandra de Laminne

Administration et production / Administratie en productie / Administration and

production: Cathy Zanté

Production / Productie / Production:

La Cie Michèle Noiret / Tandem asbl (Bruxelles / Brussel)

Coproduction / Coproductie / Coproduction: Théâtre Les Tanneurs (Bruxelles / Brussel), KunstenFESTIVALdesArts, La Monnaie / De Munt (Bruxelles / Brussel), Bruxelles / Brussel 2000, Charleroi / Danses - Centre choréographique de la Communauté française de Belgique, les Iles de Danses (Ile de France), le Festival Danse à Aix

Partenariat / Partenariaat / Partnership:

La Ferme du Buisson / Scène Nationale (Marne-la-Vallée)

Avec la collaboration de / In samenwerking met / In collaboration with:

The Academy of Media Arts (Köln, KHM)

Présentation / Presentatie / Presentation:

Théâtre Les Tanneurs, La Monnaie / De Munt, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

Avec le soutien de / Met de steun van / Supported by:

Ministère de la Communauté française de Belgique – Service de la Danse, C.G.R.I.

La Cie Michèle Noiret est en résidence au / Cie Michèle Noiret is in residentie in /

The Cie Michèle Noiret is in residence in Théâtre Les Tanneurs

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People always want imagination to be the power that ‘forms’ images. Rather it is the faculty to ‘deform’ the images provided by perception, above all it is the faculty to liberate us from the first images we have, to ‘change’ images.

Gaston Bachelard, L’air et les songes, Essai sur l’imagination du mouvement,
Librairie José Corti, Paris, 1943

Choreographer Michèle Noiret has created Twelve Seasons, an insane experiment and the end of a long journey. It is not about finishing the journey she began in 1976. It was then that the young 16-year old dancer met composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928) when he came to Mudra, Maurice Béjart’s school, searching for a performer capable of interpreting the movement of his music onto a body, a sudden musical score of flesh and bone. No, if Michèle Noiret is once more attempting to journey into the music of the maestro with whom she collaborated for thirteen years, it is because this music still seems propitious for opening wide the windows of reverie. Tierkreis, Stockhausen’s chosen work (meaning literally circle of animals), was inspired by characters from the twelve signs of the zodiac, themselves linked to the position of planets and stars and to the four elements of water, earth, air and fire – fantastic hormones of the imagination, in Bachelard’s words.

“I’m finding it harder and harder to create a performance that has to be restricted to the dimensions of the black box of theatre and that can only be transformed by lighting. There is a whole range of technology that can activate the breathtaking potential in images or sounds that lie dormant in reality. I like sudden change, disequilibrium, division, the mystery of reflections, creating turmoil in what is seen and heard.” The choreographer has been cultivating turmoil like this in her dancing for many years now, long before technology seduced her. She explored it just beneath the skin, along her muscles and joints, and positioned the body on stage like a strange apparition, subjected to the undulations of never-ending tremors. “The years I had with Stockhausen are deeply etched in my physical memory. Folding my fingers up to the wrist, starting with the elbow or the shoulder – it has entered my blood, my veins. I like to feel music and space at the very tips of my extremities. In his creations, on stage with his musicians, I felt their instruments right beside me, the sound they produced, their breathing. They induced exactly what my hands and legs were doing, as if I was harnessing the music’s score and its outpourings through every pore of my skin.”

What exactly was the work for which Stockhausen had come to find a student at Mudra? “Trained under Messiaen and Milhaud, Stockhausen had travelled widely and was very influenced by Japanese, Balinese and Indian cultures. It led him to dream of a total performance where the body could move, codified by music. So he invented a system for visualising his musical polyphonies onto flesh and bone – the body was divided vertically into three octaves, starting from the ground (the feet) and going up the highest point (arms held above the head). If it was fortissimo, the dancer’s limbs extended outwards; if it was pianissimo they came inwards. Space on stage was divided into 12 sections, the 12 semitones in an octave. Fortissimo was stage front, pianissimo stage rear. I worked for hours on making my right hand execute all the pitches, tempi and intensities of a stave of music dedicated to an instrument. Then I had to get the left hand to do it, linked to another instrumental stave. Next I had to invent movements for my feet, responding to the third stave of music, adding its own rhythm to it. The aim was to arrive at a simultaneous combination of these diverse instruments, without it looking ridiculous! It was like being in a straitjacket. My body often rebelled. I felt like I was nothing more than a piece of jointed wood. It was a rewarding but difficult apprenticeship. After several years I just had to escape.”

And that is precisely what the dancer turned choreographer did when she began composing in silence. “Listening to the interior music of the body, searching for my own language in space, no longer being a slave to any rhythm or music… A virgin field of enormous explorations opened up to me…” She continued to gain inspiration, often courting the very limits of what was palpable – surreal poems by her father, Joseph Noiret, co-founder of the Cobra group; the mysterious discovery of ancient human remains at Tollund, perfectly preserved in peat, ossified in the horrors of a terrible death; a haunted engraving by the Belgian Maurice Pasternak… Then she went back to music, created this time in continuous dialogue with what was taking shape in the dance studio. In 1997 the choreographer returned to solo work and linked up again with music already written. Twenty years have passed, her vocabulary has expanded and her sense of composition has become more refined. She wants to dance in her free, fluid and respectful way to the harmonic music of the radical giant with whom she practised her first passionate and painful scales. Solo Stockhausen is derived from a version of Tierkreis for piano and clarinet, a differentiated round of astrological signs that the composer was to develop in the composition of later works such as Musik im Bauch and Sirius.

There are several vocal and instrumental scores of Tierkreis. Michèle Noiret is thus joining the composer once again in a project. She chose Tierkreis for three wind instruments and a piano and is working on it with 6 dancers and a young acoustic trio (clarinet, trumpet and flute), European Wind, who worked with Stockhausen during the summer of 1998. The musicians will be on stage with the dancers. But here she wants it to be the dancers who bring about the metamorphoses in the performance. For Twelve Seasons, she has been working in parallel with them on the imaginative world of the twelve characters of the zodiac, their changing moods, their substance, colours and lights, then on the melodic and rhythmic lines of the score. In Between, her previous piece, gave her the opportunity to experiment with interactive technology. It is not just something new that she is currently experimenting with, but a poetic way of changing space and refracting new surfaces and new depths onto it. She wants to continue this exploration further.

Stockhausen’s music will not be altered, but Todor Todoroff, the electro-acoustic engineer and composer, will expand it with haunting reminiscences. Paolo Atzori, an architect turned digital stage designer, will provide abstract fluid images, metaphors for the four elements, the seasons and the passage of time. The set will be a circular area with curved screens around the edge and an area of round mirrors on the floor. Without dancers, these existing elements would espouse dance and would be executed very precisely and separately from one another. But this choreographer wants dancers to be both ‘musicians’ and ‘film-makers’ too, producing images and sounds. Equipped with ‘contact’ microphones, hidden sensors and tiny computer-linked cameras, their moves, breathing and scraping sounds will be musical scores. Their journey across an ultrasonic beam will set in motion musical reminiscences or the sudden appearance of visual universes; their camera will transmit to the audience the details of their movements, the reflections of their ensemble pieces, even the image of the ‘watching’ audience, robbed of their obscurity as they gleam on stage.

With imagination we abandon the ordinary course of things, continues Bachelard. Seeing and imagining are just as antithetical as presence and absence. Imagining is about leaving, about rushing towards a new life…

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