50 ans de danse (50 years of dance) / Flip Book / Roman Photo

date de creation: 

The performance exists in various versions: 50 ans de danse, performed by former dancers of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Flip Book, performed by professional dancers, and Roman Photo with non-dancers, students and amateurs. 


«?In Merce Cunningham, un demi-siècle de danse*, all Cunningham is included: pictures from every piece, and Merce is portrayed from the age of five... when I read this book, it came to my mind that the collection of the pictures was not only about nearly all the projects that he did until now, but formed a choreography in itself close to Cunningham’s processes to create dance: dance happens in between the postures, between two positions, and I guess we could invent a piece from this score of pictures, performed from beginning to end. On the one hand it would be a purely "fake Cunningham" piece, but on the other hand, I think if we succeed that it could become a real one, a real Cunningham piece, a Meta-Cunningham event with a glimpse of his entire life and work... 

I consider this experience as an integral part of our research, of our specific interest for the issue of archive, history and scores, which could meet here its tumultuous dimension: the entire history of a life’s work become book, transformed in its turn into a performance elaborated by a handful of dancers.?» 

Boris Charmatz 

(*) David Vaughan, Ed. Plume (French version), 1997 (run out). Ed. Aperture (original version). 



Choreographer Boris Charmatz’s new project originates with a book: Merce Cunningham, Fifty Years — a photographic collection recounting the course of this monument of history of dance. Going over in fast reading some hundred and fifty of his pieces, the show re-visits the movements of the forerunner, with John Cage, of chance operations and combinationals within the choreographic field. 

For Boris Charmatz – initiator of the school project «Bocal» and director of the Dancing Museum – the patrimony is in the first place a living material, propitious to diversions and savage reappropriations. He has taken hold of those photographs as a «readymade» choreography, arranging them like a giant flip book which questions the mechanisms of gesture reproduction. 

Dance in kit, animated photocopy, unrestrained performance, «?50 years of dance?» is an unclassifiable and all-purpose object: initiated with art students, taken over by dancers then by amateurs, it now meets… former interpreters of Cunningham. «I love the idea that in the midst of those thousand gestures, some of them are their own — and that they are going to re-interpret themselves», explains Boris Charmatz. For this reuniting, the dancers give back life to the frozen poses, fill up the holes – and give us a variation on the backwards motif of the conventional homage. A true-false Cunningham, playful and boisterous. 

Gilles Amalvi (Programme of the Festival d’Automne, season 2009/2010) 


50 ans de danse
Conception: Boris Charmatz
Cast: Thomas Caley, Ashley Chen, Foofwa d'Imobilité, Banu Ogan, Valda Setterfield, Gus Solomons, Cheryl Therrien
Lights: Yves Godin
Sound: Olivier Renouf
Production: Musée de la danse
Coproduction: Théâtre de la Ville-Paris ; Festival d'Automne à Paris ; Tanzquartier Wien
With the support of ADC Genève et de la Ménagerie de Verre
Thanks to LiFE (St Nazaire), HZT (Berlin), Centre de développement chorégraphique (Toulouse).

Flip Book
Conception: Boris Charmatz
Cast: François Chaignaud, Boris Charmatz, Raphaëlle Delaunay, Christophe Ives, Marlène Monteiro-Freitas, Olivia Grandville, Laurent Pichaud, Pascal Quéneau.
Lights: Yves Godin
Production: Musée de la danse
Thanks to LiFE (St-Nazaire), HZT (Berlin), Centre de développement chorégraphique (Toulouse), Cécile Tonizzo.

Roman Photo
Conception: Boris Charmatz
With the assistance of: Maud Le Pladec
Cast: amateurs selected for each version of the project. In Rennes, in the frame of "préfiguration du Musée de la danse" (April 2009), cast: Pierre Bédouet, Véronique Boucheron, Nina Boulehouat, Carole Contant, Célia Criscuolo, Antoine Denis, Coline Diridollou, Isabelle Eréac, Elisa Espen, Nelly Fouillé, Agnès Frémont, Frédéric Gessiaume, Jean-Paul Guidoni, Maud Jubault, Emmanuel Launay, Nadja Lauriot, Emmanuelle Lepleux, Pierre Pasquero, Pedro Pereira, Dominique Ridard, Kaya Sasaki, Florence Vilsalmon.
Lights: Yves Godin
Production: Musée de la danse
Thanks to LiFE (St Nazaire), HZT(Berlin), Centre de Développement Chorégraphique (Toulouse).