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Dance among the Water Lilies: François Chaignaud

Monday, 25 November, 2019, 7pm and 8.30pm


François Chaignaud, choreography, dance, singing
Adriano Spampanato, piano

In the ellipse of the Water Lilies gallery, which conjures up a shimmering infinity rather than the curve of the setting, François Chaignaud presents a programme of short pieces, reconnecting with the tradition of the salon recital - an event that played a major role in the advent of the choreographic modernity of the 20th century. Based on a contemporary repertoire of the contemplative undulation of the Water Lilies, he imagines a recital around the work of Isadora Duncan, whom he studied with Elisabeth Schwartz since 2015.

"This miniature recital is a revelation of the reality and strangeness of these bodies and voices which, in the first third of the 20th century – Frightened and fascinated by a world plagued by new metamorphoses –, dreamed of recapturing an intensity of their own. This paradoxical dream, torn between the nostalgia of a vanished world, the illusion of returning to a state of fantasised nature, and a passion for travel, is a chance for a body, weakened by melancholy and modern life, to affirm its sensual and sexual power. Immersing oneself in these elusive dances is, I find, a study of a repertoire and a history (and of the way in which the choreographic and expressive forms adopted by Isadora Duncan exude an era, a place, a mental, poetic and ideological landscape), as well as a salutary interrogation of our contemporary form of creation and dance. Isadora Duncan dazzles our blind spots." François Chaignaud 

Isadora Duncan's choreographies have been reconstructed and transmitted by Elisabeth Schwartz.


François Chaignaud © Fondation Louis Vuitton


François Chaignaud
Trained at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Danse de Paris from which he graduated in 2003, François Chaignaud collaborates with an array of choreographers, including Boris Charmatz, Emmanuelle Huynh, Alain Buffard and Gilles Jobin in particular. From He's One that Goes to Sea for Nothing but to Make him sick (2004) to Думи мої (2013), he has created performances in which dance and singing intersect, in a wide variety of environments and at the meeting points of many inspirations. From this tension the possibility of a body takes shape, inhabiting the space between the sensual rigour of movement, the evocative power of singing, and the convergence of heterogeneous historical references - from erotic literature to sacred arts. His areas of exploration extend from the precursors of the modern choreography of the early 20th century (Isadora Duncan) to the current avant-garde, and from the techniques and symbols of classic ballet to urban and non-theatre dance. Also a historian, François Chaignaud published L’Affaire Berger-Levrault: le féminisme à l’épreuve (1898-1905) with PUR.
This curiosity for history has driven him to initiate various collaborations, notably with legendary drag queen Rumi Missabu of the Cockettes, cabaret performer Jérôme Marin, artist Marie Caroline Hominal (Duchesses, 2009), fashion designers Romain Brau and Charlie Le Mindu, photographer Donatien Veismann, the video maker César Vayssié (The Sweetest Choice, 2015), musician Nosfell (Icônes, 2016), and visual artist Théo Mercier (Radio Vinci Park, 2016), In 2017, he collaborated on a number of projects including with artist Brice Dellsperger for Body Double 35, and the reopening of the cabaret Madame Arthur. Since 2005, a steady dialogue between François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea has given rise to miscellaneous works, presented around the world. Together they have created Pâquerette (2005-2008), Sylphides (2009), Castor et Pollux (2010), Danses Libres (2010), (M)IMOSA (2011), Altered Natives’ Say Yes To Another Excess – TWERK (2012), Dub Love (2013), How slow the Wind, for the dancers of the Opéra de Lyon (2014), Devoted, for the dancers of the Ballet de Lorraine (2015), Dancehall Polyphony, for the dancers of the Tanztheater Wuppertal de Pina Bausch company (2015), and DFS (2016).
As part of the La Bâtie-Festival de Genève 2017, François Chaignaud and artist Nino Laisné created Romances inciertos, another Orlando, a performance based on gender ambiguity in the Iberian choreographic and vocal repertoire. He is currently doing research on the Antique Christian song repertoire as well as Hildegard Von Bingen pieces in collaboration with Marie-Pierre Brébant. He also created a piece for the Carte Blanche Ballet (Norway), Soufflette, in May 2018 in collaboration with fashion designer Romain Brau.

Adriano Spampanato
Eager to explore every trend, his repertoire covers music from the 16th century to the present day (contemporary music, musicals, pop, negro spiritual), in addition to regular concerts on piano, organ, harpsichord, as both a soloist and chamber musician. He places great importance on his work as a singing coach as well as chamber music, particularly German Lied and French Mélodie. His artistic openness led him to record the organ music for Sacha Wolff's film Mercenaire, screened at the Cannes Directors' Fortnight in 2016. Adriano is also the pianist-organist at Christ Church, Park Avenue, New-York. He and his partner Axelle Fanyo were selected to take part in the ‘Das Lied competition’ and will participate in the SongStudio masterclass led by Renée Fleming at Carnegie Hall.

Elisabeth Schwartz
Contemporary dancer Elisabeth Schwartz began studying the dance repertoire of Isadora Duncan quiet by accident with Julia Levien in New York and with the Isadora Duncan Commemorative Dance Company (1979-84), and has presented at numerous festivals.
Choreographic composition based on the aesthetic principles of the dance of Isadora Duncan is one of her main avenues of exploration, like in the film Jaillissements (1990 Director R. Sangla) and Les plis du temps (CND 2005). E. Schwartz endeavours to forge close ties between choreographic creation, history, dance and an analysis of the styles and techniques of R. Laban. With this in mind, she scours Europe for archives on La Danse Libre for the Cinémathèque de la Danse (2001) and defended the thesis Ne rien inventer en art, Paradoxes autour la danse d’Isadora Duncan (2014). This research irrigates her efforts to pass on this repertoire. Aware of the ephemeral nature of dance, she transmits the Duncanian repertoire to professional dancers like François Chaignaud, the Ballet de Lorraine, the Xi'an Conservatory of Music (China) and Boris Charmatz, as well as amateur children and adults and the Micadanses studio.

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927)
American dancer and choreographer
Isadora arrived on the European scene barefooted wearing a simple tunic and dancing in osmosis with the music. Always at the centre of liberation movements, her dance served as an artistic reflection: spontaneity, momentum and the use of basic movements related to nature. Filled with curves and volumes, her free dance expressed a dynamic interplay between abandonment and resistance to gravity. Isadora Duncan was the great pioneer of the fundamental principles of modern classic dance in the West.