WORKSHOP, LA COMÉDIE – REIMS
Bo / Kevin Jean, 2022
On a proposal from Le Manège, scène nationale-Reims in the framework of the Association d’artiste de Nina Santes & La Fronde 2021-2024.
Workshop with the students of the LA CLASSE training at the Comédie, center dramatique national from January 3 to 21, 2022.
The three films presented here are traces of our meetings. They are made in collaboration with Cali Tomas.
We can do things differently | Text #1 – Training
In January 2022, I gave a three-week workshop to the students of the Comédie de Reims, a two-year training program for young actresses offered by this National Dramatic Center.
I had prepared an outline of the experiences I wanted to offer them: warm-ups, somatic practices, workshop work, movement writing, texts, empowerment, the position of the performer as the author of her movement, of her score, the fundamentals of dances that have been passed on to me and that I pass on in my turn (citing their origins and inscribing a filiation-historicity), games with the body, contacts, of improvisations, of building the group and trust in experimentation, of walks outside and improvisation in the building, of intrusion in the offices to bring what we do and which is invisible, of questions specific to my work of creation and research, of preparation to film their dances and relationships to the camera.
A lot of preparation, even if I know that every day I will be surprised by what comes up, that I will ask them what they want to do, that I will welcome their desires as much as possible in the rich and provided framework that I propose. And every day I will be surprised by what appears.
On the train to join them on the first day, I am faced with my feeling of illegitimacy. Anyone could bring them what I have planned, it is nothing extraordinary. Nothing but the known: my sabotage.
I don’t let myself go in this spiral and face myself, my history of training and working in this cultural sector. I ask myself a question: what can I bring them that is fundamental in the middle of training and the beginning of a possible career?
It’s not about what we are going to do, but how we are going to do it, how we are going to work together, with what dynamics of power and domination, with what relationship to authority and authoritarianism, with what relationship to violence and to the culture of rape and consent, with what relationship to the acceptance of individuals in their differences and moments of life, with what relationship to cooperation and competition?
This is one of the bases of my work, of my research, of my fights: to try to do things differently and not to reproduce the violence that I underwent, or identified, in training, in company, in the relations with the institutional partners, places of reception, cultural services of the cities, regions and the state, in the life more widely.
We can do things differently.
I think I have begun the welcoming speech with the background of what has been said. I don’t think it’s usual and I perceived the surprise of the management.
I was careful not to let my crushes on one or the other guide me. I am not here to love you. I repeat, I am not here to love you so you don’t have to do anything to make yourself love me. You don’t have to seduce me, I don’t want you. I am here for you to work, to explore, to taste, to discover, all of you, giving you as much attention as I can; giving it a great attention in any case. I want to help you build confidence in yourself, in your qualities, in your skills, in your legitimacy. I am not here to select you. Selection is not learning. Selection is servility to systems that produce hierarchy, distress, sadness, winners who don’t even realize their privileged positions before the race begins, damaged losers, a neurotic society that doesn’t want everyone to blossom in their rightful place with the same rights, that maintains the myth of meritocracy and that there is no room for everyone.
I am not here to love you. But I do love you!
Of course I can be touched by a physicality, a way of moving, of thinking, of being, but I am not here to let myself be governed by these emotions and to give more or less to one or the other according to my tastes. My tastes, here, there, with young people in training, we don’t care.
We can do things differently.
We have done them differently: in cooperation, in gentleness, in the requirement of the work, with a lot of love, care and pleasure.
I lived through two years of dance training, very rich and formative and also deeply abusive and traumatic, filled with violence, domination, humiliation, self-esteem degradation, competition, losers and winners in the great lottery of who has the right to dance or just to exist. I am not going to list my memories of this violence here. There were also wonderful moments, discoveries, laughter, tours, lasting friendships, love so strong. I take my share of responsibility for the dynamics that I experienced and maintained, for all that I was a student and it was the management that chose its pedagogical framework, its teaching methods, the trainers, the guest choreographers, its competitive processes, the relationship to an overwhelming domination and finally the degree of violence. It is always the institution that sets the level of violence.
Like all the episodes of mistreatment that I experienced, I still carry the traces and scars, the trauma. And then I experienced it in the company, with certain choreographers and production teams, administrations, broadcasting or colleagues. Then with the partners in the places of productions and diffusions, then with the partners in the services of the ministry of the culture, the cities.
A culture based on competition and violence and which questions little its modalities of functioning. It even reinforces them and values those who respect this game.
So yes, we can do things differently.
It is already the case in many places, let’s keep pushing.
Ps: I do not exist outside of these dynamics and produce violence, discrimination and dominance relationships.
May 28, 2022
Here you can discover some examples of the interventions carried out by La Fronde.
The artists of La Fronde are experts in transmitting and creating devices for sharing their living arts and their works (dances, singings, choreographies, performance techniques).
They are trained, qualified and defend pedagogies that move away from relationships of domination and violence and encourage cooperation, the enhancement of self and differences, artistic practices as arts of transformation.
Our artistic practices take different forms and are designed to be shared: sometimes during performances, sometimes during practice times and workshops in which the participants are actors and physically engage in the discovery of our worlds.
We refuse the border between stage practice and practice with the public, as well as the devaluation of the latter. The research we carry out takes different forms: sometimes we need to be alone or with privileged collaborators, sometimes we need and want to open our experiments to a wider public.
We co-create meeting and practice devices tailored to the reflections that drive us and the partnerships that we develop.
Contact us if you wish that we imagine and design together interventions on measures in your theaters, in school, hospital (IME, EPHAD, hospital) or prison.
La Fronde’s workshops are open to all: novices, curious people, enlightened amateurs, professionals; and cultivate welcoming and non-discriminatory spaces. They can take the form of :
– time of transmissions and discoveries of the contemporary dance and its fundamentals.
– long time to dive deeper into the technical fundamentals of our arts but also the specific universe of each of our works.
A few examples:
– COVEN by Nina Santes is a one-week experimental worshop in non-mixed selected.
– “Who are you ?” by Bo / Kevin Jean : project “When dance meets digital arts” supported by L’échangeur-CDCN Hauts-de-France in partnership with the Hauts-de-France Region as part of the “Education, Practice and Cultural Awareness Paths”.
– Project “When dance meets philosophy” in Laon, fr.