18 edycja 18 edycja 18 edycja konfrontacje teatralne

XAVIER LE ROY: THE DISSENTING CHOREOGRAPHY OF ONE FRENCHMAN LESS. CHOREOGRAPHING DISPOSITIFS. Bojana Cveijc

In dance criticism, Le Roy’s background in molecular biology has provided a convenient  rationale for understanding his research-oriented work. Since he had to produce his biography in a programme note for the first time in 1994, Le Roy has been designated as a ‘scientist cum dancer’. This moniker has meant that, Le Roy, like his friend and fellow French choreographer  Jérôme Bel, has often been criticised (sometimes quite violently) by some dance scholars for his supposedly ‘conceptualist’ approach to dance.[i] Here the word ‘conceptualist’ is synonymous with a critical form of choreography that draws, in Le Roy’s case, on the thinking of philosophers such as (amongst others) Gilles Deleuze,Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour and Jacques Rancière. However if Le Roy’s performances, and the writings that accompany them, are examined in greater detail, a conceptual or theoretical orientation does certainly emerge, but only as a technique for sharpening thought, which operates in and through the performance event itself.[ii] Ultimately, it is not theory that supplies Le Roy with ideas to choreograph on the stage; his ideas stem from a concern with issues that are specific to the representation of human and non-human bodies in movement, and to the types of spectatorship that these engage.

A more accurate way of approaching Le Roy’s choreography is to see it in terms of the famous politique des auteurs that emerged in French cinema in the 1950s and 1960s. Le Roy’s ‘politics of authorship’ lie in the way that he purposefully attempts to rupture the Modernist view of dance as the continuous flow of motion in and through body, and which necessarily takes place within a specific medium[iii]. Instead, his work proposes a radically heteronomous view of choreography as the organization of any movement whatever.[iv] The focus of his research does not target the medium of dance itself, but rather aims at a much wider dispositif that one might refer to, in broad terms, as ‘theatrical performance’. In line with Michel Foucault’s articulation of the concept, the word dispositif, as I use it, is more than a spatial or architectural arrangement of stage space; it is an apparatus  that ideologically shapes spectatorial attention in organizing its modes of perception.

Le Roy’s preoccupation with the theatrical dispositif resides in his twofold critique of representation. The first concerns the notion of spectatorship and deals with questions of perception, recognition and identity. The second tackles the issue of authorship, a problem that Le Roy explicitly critiqued when he exchanged authorial positions with Jérôme Bel in the performance, Xavier Le Roy(1999). Whereas Bel signed the performance as its author, Le Roy ‘realized’ it.  In a 2003 interview, Le Roy explained:

I was trying to affirm a certain kind of movement, a ‘language’ or signature as the first step usually needed to develop a career as a choreographer. If this is accepted the next step is to extend and transmit this ‘language’ to others in order to make group choreography, like some kind of clone of yourself that allows your signature to establish itself and gain recognition. Having accomplished that, you then have access to larger means of production (from solo to company director in a Stadttheater for example). (Le Roy, 2003)

For Le Roy, ‘signature’ epitomizes the distinctive aesthetic traits of an individual dance style that is translated from one work to another in order to represent the choreographer in the entirety of her/his œuvre. Aesthetic continuity of this sort is politically conservative, since it tends to ignore, if not wilfully repress, the questions that a more singular working practice might uncover.

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source: http://www.xavierleroy.com/page.php?id=4b530eff077090c4cdd558852f04f24fb0840bae&lg=en


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