- CCN-Ballet de Lorraine
- Centre Chorégraphique National
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13 dancers / 25 minutes
Piece of the program Pas assez suédois !
Project as part of the Ballets Suédois (1920-1925) centenary celebrations
“L’homme et son désir [Man and his desire] was conceived by Paul Claudel in Rio de Janeiro, in Petropolis, in 1917. The Brazilian “ambiance” experienced by Claudel and shared with Darius Milhaud, who was his secretary at the time, and who composed the music, is an important part of this ballet conceived as a plastic drama, “ … the residents’ turbulence, the grandiloquence of the landscapes, an extravagance in the design of the bay.” The principle of L’homme et son désir is based on Brazil, and dreamed of in Brazil. It has elements of the theme of Nijinsky’s well-known L’après-midi d’un faune [Afternoon of a faun], that of unsatisfied desire. Claudel admitted he had been impressed by this half‑horse, half‑man figure performed by Nijinsky, for whom the principal role in his own ballet had been planned, but who in the end did not dance it. It was therefore again Jean Börlin who performed the central role in this little drama situated in the Brazilian forest. The forest itself is not depicted onstage, but it is represented by various temptations/ forces – a universe filled with souvenirs, desires, dangers – directed toward the sleeping man, a scene of savagery. The forest is also acoustic, created by the chaos ot the musical instruments. Here a man on his own at nightfall becomes the prey of a woman who is in fact dead. A sculptural dream for Claudel, or perhaps an autobiographical pantomime.
This dream forest by Claudel reminds me of the imagination of a virgin Amazon which goes in hand with the disappearing of the aboriginal, native populations which are barely mentioned in history. Creating a sort of “neutral landscape” for an autobiographical story of a man and his desire for two women, Claudel’s rain forest brings us back to the idea of a constructed nature, both passive and impotent. Looking at the image of two women subject to the desire of a single man, he presents himself as master of a colonizatory situation. L’homme et son désir is for me a “ballet of negation”: it denies its territory by making it into a stage set; it denies the reality of those from the rain forest by relegating them to be wild, voiceless creatures. By doing this he makes any commonality impossible, creating instead a narcissistic fable. To counter this idea of a meaningless earth without inhabitants, I propose Érosion, a story of a clump of soil taking its revenge, erupting, making the ground shake and taking down the supposedly virile, dominant male eros.
To propose Érosion one hundred years after L’homme et son désir is my attempt to evoke the eco‑cide which has been going on for centuries in Brazil, recently reinforced by a deliberately hard‑right government position. The forest ballet is contrasted with the eroding soil which is devastating the policies of an Eros with no collective power. With Érosion, I explore this oversight as well as the policy of extraction including both natural and human resources. What I would like to erode is not the earth, instead the obliterations of our possible worlds, the negations of life forms, common territories and struggling bodies.
Among the aesthetic elements of the piece by the Swedish Ballet, I suggest focusing on the juxtaposition of disparate realities which present an ambiguous world; simultaneous actions creating a polyphony blending dance, theatre, music, plastic arts, and the style of a form of praise for madness, the night and the ghost-like presence of human existence. Daily life, dreams, desire, despair – are some of the elements which also contribute to this piece which critics called an “anti-ballet” but which are planned by its creator to be a complete work of art. For me this will also have a dream component, the enigmatic power of this piece at the moment of its creation; as a Brazilian jungle horribly abused, burned and forgotten by its hard right rulers; as a story paying homage to the work of the unconscious, of the night, of dreams; as an orchestration of repressed, feverish, contradictory and dream-like forces. A new argument fit for this 2022 creation: an eroding world, eroding eros, but our global drama is fully erect.”
Volmir Cordeiro (born 1987) holds a doctorate in dance from Paris 8 University. He initially studied theatre before working with Brazilian choreographers Alejandro Ahmed, Cristina Moura and Lia Rodrigues. In 2011, he joined the “Essais” programme at the National Centre for Contemporary
Dance (CDNC) in Angers, under the direction of Emmanuelle Huynh, where he obtained a masters in performance and choreography.In Europe he has performed in productions by Xavier Le Roy, Laurent Pichaud & Rémy Héritier,Emmanuelle Huynh, Jocelyn Cottencin, Vera Mantero, Zeena Parkings & Nadia Lauro and Latifa Laâbissi.
As a choreographer, his first cycle was composed of three solo works: Sky (2012, created at the Angers CDNC), Inês (2014, created at the Actoral Festival in Marseilles) and Street (2015, created at the Louvre museum in collaboration with the Paris International Contemporary Art Fair – FAIC). In
February of 2017, he choreographed a piece for four dancers: “The eye, the mouth and the rest”, in Brest, Brittany. At that time, he also created a video installation of the same title on the poetics of the face in the history of dance for the Passerelle contemporary art centre, as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations for the Centre Pompidou. In 2019, Volmir Cordeiro created Sidewalk, a work for six dancers, presented at the Actoral Festival in Marseilles and the Paris Autumn Festival.
He teaches regularly in choreography programmes, such as the Exerce Master (ICI-CCN Montpellier, France) and the Drama Master (Kask Conservatorium, Gand, Belgium), P.A.R.T.S. (Brussels), the Ménagerie de Verre (Paris) and also during the Camping Festival at the Pantin National dance centre.
He is the author of “Ex-Corpo”, a book on marginality in contemporary dance and the notion of the artist-researcher, a continuation of his doctoral research at Paris 8 University, which he completed in November of 2018.
In 2021, Volmir will revisit the Ballets Suédois, a dadaist dance troupe based at the Théâtre de Champs-Elysées from 1920-25, with his new performance Erosion, created for the Nancy Ballet de Lorraine national choreography centre. His next solo work Metropolis will be created in November
2021 as part of the Paris Autumn Festival.
Volmir Cordeiro is an associated artist at the Cergy-Pontoise national theatre, Points Communs, and at the Briqueterie, Val-de-Marne’s national dance and choreography centre in Vitry. His company Donna Volcan takes the notion of the volcano, which combines earth, air, fire and vital force, as the basis for creation. It is supported by the Regional directorate for cultural affairs (structuringassistance).
In 2021, Cordeiro won the SACD Society of Author’s prize for young choreographers.