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Choreographer | Jean-Claude Gallotta

”Gallotta still has his trademark language: quick jumps, spur-of-the-moment changes of direction, mid-air suspensions, then a pirouette! As in life, the dancers pinch themselves, slap their behinds, get all mixed up and head in the wrong direction.” (Le Monde, France)

Danse Danse is excited to welcome French choreographer Jean-Claude Gallotta. After such hits as Mammame, Docteur Labus and Les Mystères de Subal, followed by several years’ absence, “Jean-Claude Gallotta reclaims his place as a key choreographer” (Figaroscope, Paris). Heralding his triumphant return is his show Trois Générations, “the pure pleasure of dancing in three episodes.” (Danser, France)

Gallotta’s inspired idea was to have three generations perform the same choreography one after another. In all, twenty-four dancers, eight children between ten and fourteen, the eight dancers in Gallotta’s company and eight older dancers perform the same steps in turn, each age group lending its own colour to identical movements. As a prelude to each segment, the choreographer treats us to a projected clip from Vittorio de Sica’s masterpiece, Miracle in Milan.

“We’d entered a parable, a contemporary fable in dance. There are times when theatre can touch the human soul.” (Télérama, France)

The three generations are embodied by the children of the Groupe Grenade, directed by Josette Baïz, the professionals of the Groupe Émile Dubois, Gallotta’s troupe and finally the professional dancers and former teachers in their fifties and sixties from the Groupe Mézall under Darrel Davis. For the show’s book, the choreographer turned to playwright, screenwriter and novelist Claude-Henri Buffard, with whom he’s worked since 1998. The musical score is the work of Groupe Strigall, Gallotta’s regular, Grenoble-based collaborators.

In his artist’s statement for Trois Générations, the choreographer says he had the “idea to make dance grow out of the fertile hothouse of theatre.” He raises the questions, “What are the common points and the true differences when re-seeing a live show? When and where does the transformation take place within the repetition and successive incarnations? How old is a dancer?” Playwright Claude-Henri Buffard sees the work partly as an attempt to “uncover, using bodies that are outside the norm, the essence of the movements, which endures even when the bodies performing them are different. We wanted to see how the essence changed in the switch from a supple body to a tired body, from a worn-out body to a fresh body, from a naturally inclined body to a more reluctant one. We were interested in what fatigue adds to or takes away from it, and how much of it technique hides or reveals.”

As an initiative of Danse Danse and La danse sur les routes du Québec, the work Trois Générations will also be presented to audience inQuébec City.

Jean-Claude Gallotta
A native of Grenoble, Jean-Claude Gallotta first made his name as founder of the Groupe Émile Dubois, a troupe made up of dancers, actors, musicians and visual artists that presented site-specific performances. In 1980, a year after it was founded, the Groupe Émile Dubois moved to the Maison de la culture de Grenoble and rechristened itself Centre Chorégraphique National de Grenoble (CCNG) – Groupe Émile Dubois. Since then, Jean-Claude Gallotta has created over twenty shows, including Mammame (the 1987 version), Docteur Labus (1988) and Les Mystères de Subal (1990), all three of which were presented at the Festival international de nouvelle danse de Montréal. His more recent choreographies include 99 duos, which premiered in 2002 at the Théâtre National de Chaillot. Many of Gallotta’s works now feature in the repertories of the Opéra de Paris, the Oper am Rhein, the San Martín theatre of Buenos Aires, and Les Ballets du Nord et de Lorraine.

Between 1986 and 1990, Jean-Claude Gallotta was the director of the Maison de la culture de Grenoble, which he rechristened Le Cargo, becoming the first choreographer appointed to head a national theatre. Gallotta has also established strong ties to Japan. From 1997 to 2000, he ran the dance division of the new Shizuoka Performing Arts Park, where he trained and directed a company of eight dancers.

April 2005


Photos | Guy Delahaye