An installation by scenographer and artist Nadia Lauro occupies the stage like a vast, blank page. Baron Samedi – the debauched voodoo spirit of the dead – lends this piece its title and serves as the unsettling master of ceremony, summoning American, French, Ivorian, South African and Rwandan dancers to deploy their talent and their sometimes tragic life experiences on stage. With this exceptional cast giving the piece its cutting edge, renowned choreographer Alain Buffard calls up an unusual vision of the world of composer Kurt Weill.
At this year’s edition of New Settings, multidisciplinary artist Gérald Kurdian builds on years of solo performance works by exploring scenography for the first time. Drawing on the vocabularies of performance, illusion and electronic music, he explores the magic powers of the stage. Blending a “lo-fi celebration of the extraordinary”, a twist on the rituals and tricks of the conjurer, a mock stand-up routine and a genuine musical show, The Magic of Spectacular Theater explores the multiple dimensions of contemporary performance.
Curtain celebrates the disappearance of the stage curtain and unveils a series of “non-Newtonian” surprises. Its creators, dancer and choreographer Jonah Bokaer and sculptor and scenographer Daniel Arsham, are long-term collaborators; for their fifth piece together, Arsham has responded to Bokaer’s desire for a shifting scenography with a moving sculpture made of sand, plaster and a mysterious, unknown substance. Neither solid nor liquid, this sculpture envelops the dance and becomes its essential partner.
Julie Nioche and Virginie Mira’s piece Voleuse centres on the endangered and constrained bodies of four dancers as they run, skirt and duck the blades of an infernal machine that threatens to fell them at any moment. This fourth collaboration between dancer, choreographer and osteopath Nioche and architect-scenographer Mira explores notions of space at the crossroads of the arts: scenic space, vital space, and the metaphorical space of the embodied and social individual.