When people or animals move along a loose surface of sand or soil, they leave traces. These prints made by feet or paws ‘describe’ what’s underfoot and remind us of the original meaning of the word choreography: ‘to write with movement’.
Contre-jour is set on a stretch of sand. Five performers walk, run, hop, move like cats on hands and feet to create a diversity of ‘im-pressions’ – only to erase them to make way for new symbols, new choreography. But also to vanish, because leaving traces can be dangerous: you might be entering someone’s property illegally or trying to pass a border unseen.
In Contre-jour, the movements leave impressions, in the loose sand but also in the spectator’s memory. Five bodies pass by through the desolate landscape, as if it were a film. Five individuals helping one another as a group in collective movements, solos and duets. In dance and live singing. Solace and resistance reverberate through the interplay of togetherness and solitude.Contre-jour is the latest performance by not standing, the company led by Alexander Vantournhout, where every creation originates from fundamental movement study. After the solo Aneckxander, the duet Through the Grapevine and the location performance Screws, all selected for TheaterFestival, Alexander Vantournhout now – for the first time – chooses to fully embrace the role of choreographer and gives the stage to a cast of five performers with diverse backgrounds in dance, musical, circus and more.
World premiere: 2 November 2021 – CENTQUATRE Paris
Coproduction: Kunstencentrum Voo?uit Ghent (BE), Theater op de Markt – Dommelhof (BE), CENTQUATRE-Paris (FR), Cirque-Théâtre Elbeuf (FR), Charleroi danse centre chorégraphique de Wallonie-Bruxelles (BE), Lithuanian Dance Information Center (LT), Theater Freiburg (DE), Peeping Tom (BE) and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (LU), , Le Maillon, Strasbourg (FR)
- Genre: Dance
- World premiere: 3 November 2021 (Paris)
- Direction: Alexander Vantournhout
- Creation & performance: Philomène Authelet, Tina Breiova, Noémi Devaux, Ariadna Gironès Mata & Aymara Parola
"There is grace and gentleness. With beautiful feelings we can do beautiful things. One leaves this rare show, where delicacy is a strength, moved, with a heart that feels lighter and firmer."
"In the beginning, the dancers are still cautiously disovering the sand and each other. Later, they clamber over each other's bodies and together they transform into an impressive fan, which keeps spinning like a perpetuum mobile. (...) We see them crawling, running and jumping through a huge sand plain, leaving traces like animals in the desert. Their imprints allow us to reconstruct the course of dance, which is the most ephemeral of all art forms."
"Alexander Vantournhout composes a contemporary, daring, experimental ballet with great sobriety. A ballet as fluid as the wind on the sand or as soothing as a Zen garden. The very sober, delicate and uncluttered choreography leaves room for ephemeral 'signs' and the 'signs' become choreography."
"With Contre-jour we experience a delicate and contemplative opus, full of movement discoveries, which plays with purity and naturalness rather than the spectacular, in a soothing atmosphere of sisterhood."
"Strong in vulnerable moments. Contre-jour surprises. In this new performance, Alexander Vantournhout no longer performs, but choreographs five women. Their movement language, as in his earlier work, is based on almost acrobatic agility and strength, but here it's less about the movement itself than about what it can suggest. It is about the 'story' that's created. The singing, with which the performance begins and ends, reinforces that feeling."