Multiform choreographic piece for four assistants, one cameraman and a dancer.
DEMAIN has been awarded the Theatre-Dance critics prize of the French Community of Belgium for the best dance performance of the 2008/2009 season.
"The desire rises in me to express my malaise mixed with astonishment, caused by the spectacles of our chaotic and violent world. I increasingly ask myself how this world that surrounds me — and that’s often so strange to me — influences my creations, in terms of both style and substance.
Some events, experienced or perceived, hit me with an unsuspected force. It becomes hard to ignore them. For example, on all the continents, the bees are ceasing to fly, exhausted, and die without us understanding the strange communications that link them. They no longer produce honey, no longer fertilise the plants and disappear. This noble insect is found in all our customs and images, our memories and myths. Its disappearance produces within me an emotion that I am not yet able to name.
Is the death of the bees a metaphor for our world and the destiny of our society?" Michèle Noiret
DEMAIN, multiform choreographic piece for four assistants, one cameraman and a dancer, interpreted by Michèle Noiret, has been created and presented at Théâtre National from 24 to 28 March 2009. Michèle Noiret lets herself be taken over by a character struck by the unacceptable of the world. Her questions, her revolt, her interior life and her hyper-sensuality are at the heart of this choreography, which weaves links between different theatrical writings. Alain Lagarde’s scenography and the lighting by Xavier Lauwers place the spectator in the ambiguity of a laboratory where the experiment is unknown. Images taken on the fly and short films created by the artist Aliocha Van der Avoort plunge the dance stage into a ‘dance-cinema’ that Michèle Noiret explores throughout her creations. A meaning suddenly appears, disappears, returns metamorphosed. The original score developed by composers Todor Todoroff and Stevie Wishart transforms and intertwines the sound textures of the second movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.
The quest of the choreographer, since the very beginning and in all variations and metamorphoses, has never ceased to question the human and, in their multiple dimensions, beings. But what beings? Because if Michèle Noiret’s intention is indubitably anchored in the current reality of which she is both a tender and ironic, sometimes even incisive, observer, she cultivates an intensive art of transmutation, reformulation and interpretation. If she is able to take her inspiration from the spectacle of the world, it is by metamorphosing it in her imagination, transforming it in contact with an interior world that leaves nothing unchanged. What’s left is astonishingly dense.
The beings, in Michèle Noiret’s world, are constantly searching. They seem to be familiar with the labyrinth, as the title of her 2005 creation for the dancers of the Opéra national de Paris announces. And that is just the impression one gets on seeing the set, herself and her dancers: one sees that they are surveying the mazes of invented spaces, not without trouble, strangeness, obscurity or anguish. Because beauty is not only light. It can also adorn itself with dark colours and nocturnal aspects, veil itself in anxiety, express revolt or refusal. For her, beauty takes hold of beings in the grip of their desires and their quests, as it is murmured in the finale of the piece Les Arpenteurs, according to a verse of the poet Joseph Noiret: “Inexorably we march with eyes shut towards the being that we are”.
Resonances that question our future
In a dazzling multi-form performance, in which all the forms are combined – rather than juxtaposed – to create a coherent meaning, Michèle Noiret asks about our world. Using the metaphor of the bees, which are disappearing a little more every day without rousing many people, although it risks changing our planet, she asks: “And so tomorrow, what will we do?” The piece, very elaborate in the writing and the details, remains open, she does not give an answer, but rather allows everyone to have their own views on what tomorrow will be. The aim is to talk about the world, life, death without being weighty and by creating beauty, because, for Michèle Noiret, “beauty is a form of resistance to certain things that are happening today.»
The underlying theme of this new solo by Belgian choreographer Michèle Noiret, titled DEMAIN, is as surprising as it is stirring. The disappearance of the bees has aroused the ecological fervour of this subtle and polished artist. This symptom of a world going bad, going down the tubes, has provided food for more extensive thought on the contemporary environment, to which Michèle Noiret responds with a sight and sound installation the way she likes it: sophisticated, ‘proliferating’ and vertiginous. Her charisma as a dancer and performer is quite simply lucid and loaded. In a word: faultless.»
The Belgian dancer and choreographer Michèle Noiret blends paradoxical qualities: clarity and opacity, line and depth. Daughter of poet Joseph Noiret, who was a founder member of the experimental Cobra movement, Michèle Noiret has worked with composer Karlheinz Stockhausen for twenty years. Whence a musicality of radiant gesture, an absolute sense of choreographic suspense… And this subtle intimate tumult that makes each of her appearances magnetic. Her piece, a solo titled DEMAIN (2009), is inspired by an unusual phenomenon: the death of the bees, which suddenly stop making honey and disappear en masse. An ecological drama from which Michèle Noiret has extracted her own essence.»
DEMAIN by Michèle Noiret
The Brussels choreographer Michèle Noiret is at the height of her powers, in her positioning born of the great modernity of the 20th century. This former colleague of Stockhausen’s turns herself into a majestic performer, when she holds the biggest stages spellbound, for an hour-long solo. To be appreciated all the more because she is felt to be on the fringes of what’s ‘trendy’.»
The extraordinary DEMAIN
To be precise, it is a ‘multiform choreographic piece for four assistants, a cameraman and a dancer’. But when speaking of this project, it would be better to say that it is a formidable, danced piece, a stunning moment that will mesmerise the audience. DEMAIN from the dancer and choreographer Michèle Noiret, is a fascinating and intriguing performance in which the artiste puts herself in danger: very small, all alone, she starts dancing in the silence of the huge stage of the Théâtre National in front of hundreds of eyes... Her way of approaching questions about ‘the malaise mixed with astonishment caused by the spectacles of our chaotic and violent world’. ‘I increasingly ask myself how this world that surrounds me – and that is often so strange to me – influences my creations, in terms of style as well as substance’, explained Michèle Noiret in this connection. It is of staggering beauty and all the critics agree: DEMAIN was awarded the 2009 Critics Prize for Best Dance Show.»
With its pure lines, its sophisticated use of technology, its unadorned, harsh stage elements, its choice of white and black, its lighting and its meticulous filmed sequences, which alternate recordings and images taken from life, and its polished choreography, where body movements and music intertwine intimately, DEMAIN, by and with Michèle Noiret, is a high-tech spectacle of great visual wisdom. If the form is that of a solo, multiple forces are deployed and the stage infrastructure, by means of panels/screens, cloths, video, overhead projections and recordings from life, give an extra dimension to the boards, multiplying the individual, the gestures and the evocative power of the solo. Born of Michèle Noiret’s questions about the future of the world, this performance explores the great themes that afflict humanity and the planet, from pollution to overpopulation, including epidemics and excesses of laboratory experiments. (...) DEMAIN is a very beautiful piece of choreography, a little aestheticising, in which one reads the subjective anxieties of a mature woman, her power of seduction, her dialogue with this inexorable abyss that is death and her confrontation of sophisticated artist with the echoes of the world.»
Prisoner of a reality
«Surprise and mystery are constants throughout the piece (...). Metaphor of a world filled with anguish and desolation, DEMAIN is a silent cry stamped with anxiety, a sincere poem without pretention.»
«From the first gesture, starting almost one hour of solitary defiance on the immense stage of the Théâtre national de la Communauté française in Brussels, Michèle Noiret prevails on the space and the time she devotes herself to. There was not a segment of movement that did not resonate with her intended candour, not a link that was not made up of a wave of repercussion, severing her bust, exciting her limbs. One rarely experiences such a sense of corporal densification, in the grip of the poetic expansion of a being in the world. Alternately more actor or spectral, Michèle Noiret sculpts the imagination of an immensity of space, which she surveys like an inexhaustible labyrinth of emotions.»
A body open to the future
«Michèle Noiret dances alone against the unbearable irony of a world forgetting its essence. (...) On a huge stage as cold as our technologies, a woman’s body is revealed. It speaks of the mastery and intelligence of movement serving the imagination. (...) The artist does not spend time in idle contemplation: her technicians are with her; her malaise is not personal: it is part of our world. (...) The performer follows her instincts, unloads her energy onto the world, and helps herself to all kinds of technical devices that will do nothing for anyone who dislikes a blend of genres… Theatre, dance or cinema? It doesn’t matter, given that man remains at the heart of creation and his future, and that’s what affects us.»
«From the very first moments of DEMAIN, Michèle Noiret takes her audience by surprise. You have to have a great deal of maturity to dare to confront such silence, the immensity of the capital’s largest stage and a fully illuminated audience. You also have to have the complete mastery of movement that characterises this dancer and choreographer. (...) While being a wonderful danced piece, DEMAIN also represents a new phase in the work Michèle Noiret has been undertaking for a number of years, making use of technology, lighting, musical creation and live or recorded filmed images. (...) Visually dazzling, DEMAIN is also a piece where the choreographer has a great deal to say about our future as human beings. Her talent is to manage to evoke such a harrowing subject through a work of staggering beauty, while imposing nothing on the spectator and leaving us all affected by it and wondering.»
Michèle Noiret’s explorations and laboratory
«The huge, bare stage of the National reveals the extent of the challenge Michèle Noiret has set herself. This surface, this entire volume, is the space her solo will have to inhabit. When she appears, so tiny in her warm-up clothes and with light bathing the theatre again, her simple, silent presence takes possession of the moment and the space. (...) Michèle Noiret also encounters Beethoven in a very beautiful and pure moment of dance. (...) The production powerfully and sincerely brings together the world of an artist who is as generous as she is rigorous.»
What a delight!
«Occupying the huge space of the National’s large stage alone seemed like a bold move. Michèle Noiret – a person of strength and fragility combined – occupies the space all alone without music, as if proving that the beauty of a moving body on its own is more than enough. She then pits herself against music: Beethoven’s 7th symphony played on the piano and reprised in a final blaze of glory in Furtwängler’s tragic version. She confronts the world, the crowd, through a film that introduces the present but also introduces thoughts about tomorrow and our gloomy outlook. There is nothing heavy about this intrusion of reality and the words she goes on to speak as she dances. The splendid self of the dancer then tackles an inner battle between her body on stage, wedged between two tables, and her reflection on three screens with different rhythms. In the end, this simultaneous three-way visual perspective and the abrupt acceleration of filmed sequences render Michèle Noiret’s body ghostly. The sensual beauty of her hair and eroticised body make this hour-and-a-quarter long show a fascinating self-portrait in content and form. The huge, packed theatre at the National gave her four rapturous encores.»
Cast & credits
Multiform choreographic piece for four assistants, one cameraman and a dancer
Scenic writing, choreography and interpretation Michèle Noiret
Choreographic assistant Lise Vachon
Second assistant Dominique Godderis
Original music composition Todor Todoroff, Jarek Frankowski, Stevie Wishart
Music Ludwig van Beethoven, 7th symphony, second movement.
Franz Liszt, piano transcription of the 7th symphony from Ludwig van Beethoven
Video images Aliocha Van der Avoort
Set design and costumes Alain Lagarde
Technical set design's advisor Christian Halkin
Texts/stage collaboration Mathias Jung
Lighting design Xavier Lauwers
Lighting design assistant Marc Lhommel
Technical director Christian Halkin
Lighting technician Marc Lhommel
Sound engineer Jarek Frankowski
Video technician / cameraman Yves Pezet
Video technician Vincent Pinckaers
Stage managers Christian Halkin, Christophe Blacha, Jean-François Opdebeeck
Set and costumes making Ateliers du Théâtre National, Brussels
Artistic collaboration Pascal Chabot
Photography Sergine Laloux
Production & Tour manager Amandine Rimbert
Communication & Press Alexandra de Laminne
Administration & Coordination Cathy Zanté
Thanks to Pascale Gigon, Carlo Chapelle, Georges-Elie Octors
Duration 75 minutes
Executive producers Compagnie Michèle Noiret/Tandem asbl
Co-producers Théâtre National de la Communauté française de Belgique • La Filature, Scène nationale-Mulhouse • Charleroi/Danses, Centre chorégraphique de la Communauté française de Belgique • La Comédie de l'Est, Centre Dramatique Régional d’Alsace-Colmar.
With the support of the Ministry of Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles, Service de la Danse.
The Compagnie Michèle Noiret is subsidized by Le Ministère de la Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles, Service de la Danse and receives the regular help of Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI).
Michèle Noiret is member of the Académie royale de Belgique.