Unknown pleasures

5 mystery choreographers

Plaisirs inconnus © Arno Paul

World premiere at the Sadler’s Wells theatre  on October 7, 2016 under the auspices of Dance Umbrella in London (UK)
French premiere on November 5, 2016 at the Opéra national de Lorraine (Nancy)

Music: anonymous x 6
Lights: anonymous x 1
Costumes: anonymous x 6
Décor: anonymous x 2

Tuesday 26, May 2019 at 8:00 PM

At the Opéra national de Lorraine
Ticket price A

Production: CCN – Ballet de Lorraine
Coproduction: Dance Umbrella and Sadler’s Wells Theatre (London) - CODA Oslo International Dance Festival - Dansens Hus Norvège (Oslo)
In partnership with Scènes Vosges (Thaon-les-Vosges)


Unknown Pleasures
5 mystery choreographers

Plaisirs inconnus is an evening to be discovered virtually blindfolded: it is entirely anonymous, there are no credits for the choreographers’ names, reputations, awards.
The artists are given carte blanche, as are the spectators, facilitating the disconnecting of the creation from its creators’ signatures, freeing the dance from the typical trending and marketing campaigns. How does the name of the choreographer influence the audience’s relationship to his or her work?
Five choreographers from different generations – four women and one man – have agreed to play this game: will you be able to recognize their work without knowing who they are?

Will you be able to resist the temptation to sneak a peek behind the curtain?

«The project invites five established choreographers to create a 12 – 15 minute piece without the customary “signing” of it… The distinctive, yet unidentified creations are specially commissioned for the evening by the co-producing partners, who are under the strict agreement that these works are to be presented anonymously. The idea is to offer artists the opportunity to create a work with a large group of dancers from the Centre Choregraphique National – Ballet de Lorraine, free from reputation or historical baggage.

Do we recognize a choreographer’s work without their name? What is their movement signature? How does their signing a piece change the experience for an audience? When we have certain expectations of a choreographer’s work the performance experience is often absorbed and valued in reference to their past, or even the genre of dance they have been placed in. With this labelling, a choreographer’s liberty of creation can become fixed, and their evolution fashioned.

In Unknown Pleasures, the choreographic object is put in focus over the power of the recognizable artist. Authorship is abandoned to leave an empty canvas that allows an artist the possibility to return to a moment in a creative process before an identifiable aesthetic was established.

This project, in collaboration with Dance Umbrella, London, questions the economics of production and the value of a signature. Marketing pushes for the establishing of a recognizable mark. When the public can start to identify a choreographer, presenters and curators may begin to establish a public for their distinctive, codified form of dance. This naming though, of an artist’s aesthetic, has the potential of constraining creativity through just this act of demand and supply.

New commissions and research are fundamental missions of a Centre Choregraphique National, this together with a permanent company of 26 dancers, allows the CCN - Ballet de Lorraine to explore a broad spectrum within dance from the new to the historical. This project addresses many of the questions in the performing arts the CCN - Ballet de Lorraine and Dance Umbrella believe to be relevant, stimulating and fun. It is human nature - who can resist the pleasures of the unknown ?»

Thomas Caley, Emma Gladstone and Petter Jacobsson  



"Unknown Pleasures", a celebration of dance by those who live it. Philippe Noisette, Les Inrockuptibles. http://bit.ly/2eXlZqy

“A sensational idea that allows us to see dance differently” - Agnès Izrine, Danser Canal Historique. http://bit.ly/2gE8n0l

“It is perhaps one of the most beautiful programs from the company” Philippe Noisette in La Dispute on France Inter. http://bit.ly/2eHfPJe


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