Boris Charmatz by Gilles Amalvi

Before becoming a dancer, Boris Charmatz was a table tennis player. Having entered the Dancing School of the Paris Opera, he has kept the game of speed and the art of feint. He begins dancing with Régine Chopinot (Ana and Saint-Georges), then joins Odile Duboc for 7jours/7villesProjet de la matière and Trois Boléros (1996). A slow motion version of his duo-bolero with Emmanuelle Huynh was presented for the prefiguration of the Dancing Museum, 13 years later.

So B.C. is a dancer. Dimitri Chamblas too. In 1992, they founded the association edna. A bras-le-corps (1993) is the title of their first play; it is also their way of catching dance. In Les Disparates (1994), a sculpture by Toni Grand appears next to them, without dancing. It weighs 600 kilos. Following his projects, things, often, dance in spite of themselves: notes, words, machines. With Aatt enen tionon (1996), he signs a vertical play, with too many letters. herses (une lente introduction) (1997), assembles five rather naked dancers; a cello player punctuates the play, on a musical score by Helmut Lachenmann. In 1999, he puts three words - Con forts fleuve - and jeans on his interpreters' heads, for the dance to move forward faceless. In héâtre-élévision, it is without stage and without T. The body is inside a television when it is inside a theatre. It is in the hands of a machine for régi (2006): the machine manages the actions of Julia Cima and Boris Charmatz, and Raimund Hoghe manages the machine. In 2008, La danseuse malade is actress Jeanne Balibar, or Tatsumi Hijikata, founder of Butoh - or both of them. Their "chest is congested by the wreckage of the times". B.C. is a truck, or inside a truck, or both.

Besides, B.C. is a dancer. He invents frames and puts ideas inside them. Angèle Le Grand too. Under their impulse, the association edna becomes a device for research and a tool box: edna organizes the programme Hors-série (La chaise and Visitations by Julia Cima, Jachères by Vincent Dupont), touring installations, like Programme court avec essorage, strange residences (Ouvrée - artistes en alpages); edna produces ideas, events, films (Les Disparates by César Vayssié, Horace Bénédict by Dimitri Chamblas and Aldo Lee, Une lente introduction by Boris Charmatz). From 2002 to 2004, Boris Charmatz widens the frame of a residence at the Centre National de la Danse in Pantin, and stimulates the project Bocal - a nomadic and ephemeral school, to pass on without a master. edna, Bocal, then the Dancing Museum: each one of these frames is the chance to open up the ways of producing, of passing on, and of reflecting about dancing.

Indeed, B.C. is a dancer. With Isabelle Launay, he writes Entretenir/à propos d'une danse contemporaine (Centre national de la danse/ Les Presses du Réel/ 2003). "Je suis une école" ("I Am a School"), published by Les Prairies Ordinaires, is a laboratory-book signed in the name of many. Inside, one finds Bocal, Roland Barthes, musical scores, quotations, and schools in development. In 2013 with Jérôme Bel, B.C. signs Emails 2009-2010, a book in which the two choreographers share ideas and references that underpin their respective artistic work.

B.C. is also a dancer. He improvises regularly with Saul Williams and his voice, Archie Shepp and his saxophone, Médéric Collignon and his trumpet, or also Steve Paxton. When he doesn't improvise, he is also an interpreter for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Tino Sehgal.

Since 2009, B.C. is a dancer. With objects, bodies, places, archives. Appointed director of the Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne, he transforms it into a Musée de la danse. This Dancing Museum is a place and an idea: a space that can travel around (as in 2013 at MoMA, New York, with Musée de la danse: Three Collective Gestures or in summer 2014 at the festival Foreign Affairs in Berlin), and an idea to protect from time (préfiguration), debates (expo zéro), exhibitions (héliogravures), writings and voices (rebutoh), performances, screenings, discussions (Grimace du réel), and sometimes even, works (Service commandé, expo brouillon). 

But above all, B.C. is a dancer. 50 ans de danse, performance he creates in 2009, crosses the works of Merce Cunningham at full speed. Activated by dancers, amateurs or students, it can change names (Roman PhotoFlip Book) without changing shape. In 2010, at the TNB, Rennes, B.C. presented Levée des conflits, a choreography that changes shape without moving, and that moves without changing shape.

B.C. was also the, where he presented, notably, his latest creation enfant (child), a piece for 26 children, 9 adults, and 3 machines.


In 2011, while he was Associate artist of the Festival d'Avignon, B.C. premiered enfant (child) at the Cour d'honneur du Palais des papes. Enfant is a performance for 26 children, 9 adults, 1 musician and 3 machines.

His most recent piece manger (eating) premiered at the Ruhrtriennale (Germany) on September 23th 2014.