Cédric Andrieux is a solo for the eponymous dancer Cédric Andrieux. This piece is a self-contemplation of his career : first of all his training as a contemporary dancer in the city of Brest (France), and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, then as a perfomer in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York, and recently at the Lyon Opera Ballet.
Cédric Andrieux is line with a serie of performances initiated in 2004 with a solo for the dancer of the corps de ballet of the Paris Opéra, Véronique Doisneau. In 2005 came Isabel Torres, ballerina of the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro, and Pichet Klunchun and myself, a duet created in Bangkok with Khôn (classical royal dance of Thailand) choreographer and dancer Pichet Klunchun. Lutz Förster, finally, is a solo for the performer of Pina Bausch, Bob Wilson, and the José Limòn Dance Company.
These three productions are built on the experience and savoir-faire of performers who have all made their mark as dancers. Each specialises in a particular type of dance - classical ballet, Thai classical dance and modern American dance – and so each artist has a practice that is clearly distinct from that of art historians, critics and choreographers.
In each of the productions that make up this series, the artist’s experience of the threads that constitute the history of western or Asiatic choreography is related in the first person. The title of each production, therefore, is the name of the performer. With the exception of the duo Pichet Klunchun and myself, the various presentations in this series are all solo performances and mark the place where the life of an individual intersects the history of dance.
Each artist produces a discourse which describes, as simply as possible, the working environment in the various places where he intervenes. This is an individual point of view, that of a minority group, the idea being for the artists to recognize their status as creators to determine their place in the course of history. This approach makes it possible to establish a counterweight to the accepted discourses from historians, critics or choreographers. These productions aim to provide statements that will demonstrate a subjectivity at work that is distinct from and complementary to the stereotyped descriptions of artistic practices that constitute the history of choreography.
What I find essential in this work is to try to analyze the extent to which a particular artistic project or a particular style alienates or emancipates an artist either as a historical subject, a member of society or as a worker. Each artist is himself the vector of this alienation or emancipation. In return, I insist that this should be felt by each spectator, the performer being, as his name indicates, the interpreter, the channel between the choreographer and the public.
We knew about Jerome Bel the provocateur, the Pop culture transformer and great go-between. From the conceptual dryness of Nom donné par l'auteur (1994), to the pop imagination of The Show Must Go On (2001), he remains elusive. Whether being seduced or bothered by his ambiguity, it always raises questions.
Today, the choreographer comes to the forefront with a moving sincerity. His love for dance is captured behind Cedric Andrieux's words and movements. Drawing from a very specific experience, dancing for Merce Cunningham or the Lyon Opera Ballet, the piece actually narrates a story shared by a generation of dancers, to which Jerome Bel belongs.
First and foremost, Jerome Bel is a smuggler. Of words, of movements, of intimate stories, of singular stories bordering sometimes on universal. Under his direction, Cedric Andrieux's voice and the exposure of his body to our eyes, still or in motion, dancing bits of his life, modest and vulnerable in this staging of himself, fills the theater with an intense presence.
Inescapably, this autobiography danced by Cedric Andrieux operates like a summary of dance of the past twenty years from a history stand point, dealing with aesthetics and economy, through his subjective lens. It is also a memorial. The liveliest that we have ever had a chance to visit.
Paris Art, Céline Piettre, December 14th 2010
What was it about Cédric Andrieux that attracted you?
I did The show must go on at the Lyon Opera Ballet and there I met Cédric Andrieux. I don’t choose artistes. It is a matter of chance encounters. He happened to have worked with Merce Cunningham, a choreographer who made a great impression on me. I therefore suggested that I should create a production for him, similar to the one I did for Véronique Doisneau. Each of the productions in this series deal with a genre, or a particular aspect of the history of dance: classical ballet with Doisneau, Thai traditional dance with Pichet Klunchun and myself. Cédric Andrieux has been involved in a number of different genres.
With this production, do you wish to question the way in which a body adapts to different types of training, different styles?
Cédric Andrieux is a contemporary dancer. He has gone through different styles but they have mainly been contemporary or modern! What interests me is measuring the degree of alienation or emancipation produced by these different styles. The dancer is the first “guinea pig” in this dance experience, and the spectator is the second. So, does watching this dance give me a feeling of emancipation or not?
Should “Cédric Andrieux” be considered as the continuation of the work that began with “Véronique Doisneau” – a sort of variation on a theme – or do you feel that each of these projects is different from its predecessors, in the way you approach them from the dramatic and theoretical points of view?
No, this is part of a series, where different artistes follow the approach that was the basis for Véronique Doisneau. Each artiste has his own particular style – which is different from that of the other artistes in the series and which produces a different presentation. But it is out of the question to think that their presentation can take account of history. Their presentation is in the first person singular, which is why the titles of the presentations bear their names.
Do the moves or the stories that are revealed by the artiste give rise to constraints that create a distinct character for each of these productions?
This is what I am aiming to do: trying to express through their experiences what gave rise to these different artistic practices, both for the artiste and for the spectator.
How do you see the place of the spectator in your work?
I just try to focus on the work that he sees. I try to ensure that he never forgets that he is a spectator. That he is interpreting what is happening on the stage. That he is watching a show without ever losing sight of all the conditions that influence his appreciation.
How do you go about putting someone in the spotlight? Do you start by asking questions? Could one say that the dancer uses the Jérôme Bel approach to give an interpretation of Cédric Andrieux? Could there be a sequel to one of these shows, belonging to the series of portraits, seen from a different angle? “Cédric Andrieux 2”?
Yes, I ask the dancers questions. I start with a long discussion and I see what problems he or she has in expressing certain key points. This is always when something interesting happens. I work with the dancer on expressing what cannot be said in words. Then, when the text has been written, I put it on stage, as simply as possible. The result would very likely be different if the artiste did this type of solo with somebody else, because the questions I ask obviously imply certain answers. A Cedric Andrieux 2 why not? You can’t fit a whole life into 80 minutes.
Interview with Jérôme Bel by Gilles Amalvi