«Man is passionately, infinitely attached to that which lasts only a second or only occurs a single time, as though the fervour of his dilection alone could reflect and perpetuate divine flimsiness; still more renewable, the charm of music is precious to him like infancy, innocence or loved ones doomed to death are precious to us; the charm is labile and fragile and the foreboding of its demise swathes in a poetic melancholy the state of grace it gives rise to.» Vladimir Jankélévitch, La Musique et l’ineffable, p.149
A moment is all it takes to change the course of a life, to give it a new turn. Between two long intervals there is always a key moment, a dazzling instant when there is a break with the past and the future begins to take shape. This moment is not part of the continuum. It is as though it is outside of time. It is an event that leaves its mark on the whole of one’s life. It is an opportune, sometimes inopportune, moment when destiny appears to meddle with our lives. Time is at the centre of this choreography by Michèle Noiret: time that goes by, the sense one sometimes has of time passing quickly or slowly, or ‘empty’ time, ‘suspended’ time, time that appears ‘heavy’.
Michèle Noiret and the four dancers with whom she has created Minutes opportunes have fixed this time of meetings and relations. The paths of four beings cross, between complicity and suspicion, tenderness and rejection. They seem to play a role in a strange intrigue in which every one of their actions appears to involve their destiny, like Hitchcock’s characters, giving the piece its haunting atmosphere. Sometimes, however, these beings appear to free themselves from the machinations in which they seem to be playthings. They attempt another way to live time. Their relationships become freer, more essential. The dance comes to life with the unsettling mystery and fleeting charm of these few instants when our existence is at stake.
The music, too, speaks of the importance of opportune instants and minutes. While everything goes by, everything passes by, the music of Jean-Sébastien Bach manages to magnify a moment and prolong an emotion. It appears, disappears, escapes, fluid and precise like a counterpoint. That is why, perhaps, it bewitches the humans with a passion for that which escapes ordinary time.
In Minutes opportunes Michèle Noiret continues to explore the way in which diverse stage compositions are combined. The structure of the dance seems to suggest an anthology of short stories. Some of them unfold in the same place, others present the same scenario in different circumstances. They are crossed by identical beings, whose destinies sometimes diverge. The art of choreography thus multiplies the possible readings, which are as numerous as life is complex.
The choreographer and dancer Michèle Noiret presents a ‘multiform’ solo piece that leaves you stunned.(...) This ‘worrying epidemic’ haunts the recorded texts, the sounds and videos of the opening pictures. (...) A theme of vigorous inflexions, impeccably transcribed by Michèle Noiret: at this stage her self-confident movements express both the tragedy and the joy and freedom intrinsic to the human condition. It could become very dry, without the resources of the live video capture: multiplying the angles and the troubling effects, the screens transform a minimal, abstract decor into a metaphysical nightmare in black and white. A dreadful tempest makes way for a refreshing shower, anxiety exorcised, nature regained... Then it’s over and the rain turns into a deluge of applause. No surprise: the route that is taken is intimately and universally poignant.”
No matter how much, for more than an hour, we live through the last moments of the future corpse, even see the fight scene from which he does not recover, the fear grips us irresistibly in the guts. No matter how much, either, we gather the evidence and feel we are conducting the investigation, we never discover the motive, still less the true murderer (The dark rival? The blonde? The red-head? All three?). Which does not prevent us from feeling we are following a story step by step, glimpsing the mystery of what led up to the murder and not missing a piece of it. The fake corpse (more than impeccably played by the dancer Igor Shyshko, who was also remarkable with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker) becomes a pallid character more alive than dead. And the choreographer Michèle Noiret, a great author of choreographic thrillers.”
"From one piece to the next Michèle Noiret refines a sober style, stripped dry sometimes but always with a highly poetical charge. These are the characteristics you find in Minutes opportunes, her latest creation. In a minimalist set, a lifeless body lets itself be manhandled by what could be its murderer or the detective come to find clues, before standing up as if, in abolished time, the decisive minutes have been erased to allow other possible ones. This Hitchcockian situation, claimed as such for that matter, serves for Michèle Noiret as the medium for serious thought on the moment, on what can suddenly change a future, on the before and after of an opportune or inopportune moment. A quartet of outstanding dancers lives these Minutes opportunes, each with their individual technique. (…)."
Minutes opportunes: a polaro-Bach
“One abiding feature with Michèle Noiret: she never uses the same technique or even the same world twice. She has a perfect command of video but can very well leave it out, as she does here. ‘Riveted’ to the world of Lynch, here she gets familiar with Hitchcock’s. The set’s suitcase is the eternal taste for travel in the imagination, Michèle Noiret’s trademark.”
Michèle Noiret convinces with “Minutes opportunes”. Four dancers – and one parrot – in a suspense where tenderness and humour jostle each other.
"Without being in the least of the narrative world, the course of Minutes opportunes – its synopsis, its storyboard, it could be said, and the piece as a whole is revealed to be graphic under the precise, inventive, remarkable lights of Xavier Lauwers – takes its dramatic processes from Sir Alfred: suspense, humour and the MacGuffin, this material object, possibly banal and loaded with mystery, which serves as a pretext for the development of an intrigue.. (…) Well and truly diverse in terms of personalities, morphologies too, the quartet obviously enjoy themselves and fuel an intense dance, neither purely abstract nor simply figurative, but full of life, vitality, a fleeting strangeness, anxiety sometimes (whodunnit, we asked in the world of the detective), a great sense of development, a splash of irony too, of manipulation above all. Because the body here is not only the one that dances, the conveyor of an artistic act, but object and subject of an often comical preoccupation. Complicity, suspicions, exchanges, suspensions, the relations that Michèle Noiret’s choreographic characters maintain come in a variety of forms here between duration and instant, between gesture and suspense."
Shudders, humour and suspense
Once again exploring her favourite themes (human encounters, the relation to time), Michèle Noiret delivers a playful piece, crammed with references to Hitchcock-style film noir and bringing the best out of four fantastic performers. (…) Very quickly, everything turns mysterious in this piece where dead bodies rise to dance and women disappear, snatched away by an arm out of nowhere. You can read what you want into these strange relationships, now conflicting, now full of tenderness or the search for a little human warmth. The choreography does not impose at all, but manages to create a climate of permanent tension suffused with this humour dear to Hitchcock. Some sound clips from his films, telephones that ring in the emptiness, the music of Bernard Hermann confronted with Bach’s complements the mechanism of this astonishing piece, where the acrobatics of the dancers seem to be absolutely self-evident and the most realistic scenes constantly take an absurd, strange, enigmatic turn.
A brilliant choreography that traps the spectator from start to finish and delivers between two suspenseful scenes magnificent flights danced in perfect complementarity with more realistic or narrative scenes relying on the incredible physical virtuosity of the performers."
Cast & credits
Conception and choreography Michèle Noiret
Created in collaboration with Dominique Godderis, Filipe Lourenço, Igor Shyshko, Lise Vachon
Performed by Filipe Lourenço, Marielle Morales, Igor Shyshko, Lise Vachon
Choreographical assistant Marion Ballester, Dominique Duszynski (alternating)
Original music composition Todor Todoroff, Jarek Frankowski
Music Jean-Sébastien Bach, Bernard Herrmann
Set design and costumes Anne Guilleray
Lighting design Xavier Lauwers
Lighting design assistant Marc Lhommel
Technical direction Christian Halkin
Lighting technician Marc Lhommel
Sound engineer Jarek Frankowski
Photography Sergine Laloux
Artistic collaboration Pascal Chabot
Production and tour manager Amandine Rimbert
Communication and press Alexandra de Laminne
Administration and coordination Cathy Zanté
Duration 75 minutes
A production of La Cie Michèle Noiret/Tandem asbl.
In coproduction with Théâtre National de la Communauté française de Belgique • Centre de Développement Chorégraphique du Val-de-Marne • Théâtre Paul Eluard, Choisy-le-Roi.
With the support of Ministère de la Communauté française de Belgique-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 l’Académie royale de Belgique.