June Events 2023 dance performance festival features variety, environment and sense experience [By Tracy Danison]

1.1 Nina Santes crédit Roberto Martinez“Peeling Back”, solo performance by Nina Santes. Photo © Roberto Martinez

DURING A BREAK BETWEEN COVID LOCKDOWNS, I went to a performance at one of the big theaters. About 30 minutes into it, people started walking out, saying they had come for “dance” and got “performance”. I became witness to an ongoing controversy. Something like What is dance? What is performance? Are they either-or, either-and or uniquely visual or narrative or choreographic? To be one or the other, must they include all the senses and all possible gestures or just some? Refreshing, given the circumstances. 

This is all fun to think about but I think that, after all this time, most dance performance spectators have got beyond the controversy and, following choreographer Yasmine Hugonnet,  accepted the notion of “movement art”. For the record, science is catching up to the notion that movement is complex whole body function. However it might be, most spectators today – if they aren’t vainly trying the guess what something “is about” – judge by results on themselves rather than some defined criteria: didja’ya enjoy it? To go further than that, most get a glass of something and, perhaps, a (light) snack, and puzzle out what it was they enjoyed or not.


4. trio Daniel Larrieu crédit Benjamin Favrat 2 - copie“Play 612”, trio performance by Daniel Larrieu. Photo © Benjamin Favrat

Atelier de Paris’ 2023 June Events program is giving spectators the widest variety of movement art forms – dance performance – I’ve so far seen in one program to enjoy, puzzle (and drink) over. I’ve been thinking a lot about movement forms and genres recently, so the news proves that synchronicity definitely exists. But it is no surprise. I mean a high-quality program that fully engages spectator interest is no surprise. Atelier de Paris ordinarily offers some of most creative and innovative dance performance anywhere. Just off the cuff, and only in the last six months, and just to mention two that might leave some darkly muttering “Balanchine” and two others that might have provoked squawks of  “performance”, I’ve been moved by accomplished movement pieces choreographed by Rebecca Journo, Aïna Alègre,  Dorothée Munyaneza/Radouan Mriziga and Ivana Müller.

June Events 2023 goes a lot deeper than forms of choreography. Atelier de Paris Artistic director Anne Sauvage, who, together with her team, put together the event, says that the program’s featured creators this year will be asking both “what can be and what must be dance performance” – filling in definitions and stretching possibilities.


2. Tatiana (c) Vincent Curutchet - copie“Tatiana”, solo performance by Julien Andujar.  Photo © Vincent Curutchet

She writes that this 17th edition of the annual event will offer live “innovative, plural, open dance forms” that entangle body, poetry and dance to generate “magic, trance, energy”. Performances, she continues, will call on seeing, of course, but also on physical feeling, taste and smell, with particular attention to the experience of live music, especially of the voice. With a single exception, all the pieces on show are 2022 or 2023 creations. Many pieces include the immediate environment in the choreography: the neighboring Parc Floral de Paris or the Bois de Vincennes and urban space. Also featured are public and child-oriented performances, work integrating sign language (LSF), live music and pre-performance workshops and interviews.

I see the program as having psychological and an esthetic perimeters represented, roughly, by two movement choreographies. Habib Ben Tanfous’ Ici je lègue ce qui ne m’appartient pas – around personal and social identity – and Aina Alègre’s THIS IS NOT (an act of love & resistance) – that knits dance fragments and phrases, scenes and symbols into a vocabulary of “movement energy”, referencing both Air and Breath – opens Atelier’s gift for participants – “participants” because we are talking live performance experience as well as dance performance, as much for THIS IS NOT as for June Events 2023 as a whole.


3. MOS_GENERALE_PINELOPI_GERASIMOU_LOW-641647028957303 - copie 2“MOS”, duo performance by Ioanna Paraskevopoulou. Photo © Onassis Stegi/Ωνάσσης Στέγη

In addition to good old enjoyment, Je lègue and THIS IS NOT, in one way or another, touch on all the questions the June Events program opens out for spectators: Surely, What am I? Where am I? What’s dance? What’s performance? What’s movement? What’s theater and how is it different from performance? Are the movement arts “body” arts or un-narrative arts or narrative unpicked or complemented? And what’s it all for?  

I don’t know.

But I do know that, in light of advanced search algorithms aggressively marketed as “intelligence” and simulated sight and sound aggressively marketed as “reality” and increasingly solid evidence that all this virtual stuff is not good for a human being, the most important question that a spectator might start asking during June Events 2023 is What is the importance of being here now with (each other, the world around us)?


June Events 2023 Performances 30 May – 17 June

Featured creators are asking both “what can be and what must be dance performance” – filling in definitions and stretching possibilities.

Prepare your June Events 2023 experience

13 May: Let’s dance! Open dance, music and singing workshops led by featured June Events creators. Free entry. No previous dance or performance experience necessary.

30 May, 19h30: Ici je lègue ce qui ne m’appartient pas, Solo, 50 min. Création 2023 by Habib Ben Tanfous, cie FINEK . Atelier de Paris

30 May, 21h: THIS IS NOT (an act of love & resistance), 9 performers, 1h05. Creation 2022 by Aina Alegre, Centre chorégraphique national de Grenoble & STUDIO FICTIF with

live music. Théâtre de l’Aquarium

1 June, 20h: Tatiana, Solo, 1h45. Creation 2022 by Julien Andujar, VLAM Productions. Théâtre de l’Aquarium

2 June, 18h: Carnavole improvised performance with Joana Schweizer and Miguel Filipe, with live music. Place de l’Église, Vincennes.

2 June, 20h: Ici et là, five professional performers accompanying prisoner participants 40 minutes. Création 2023 by Claire Jenny, cie Point Virgule. Atelier de Paris

3 June, 19h: Carnavole improvised performance with Joana Schweizer, Miguel Filipe, Lara Oyedepo and Justine Lebas, with live music. Mairie du 12ème, Paris

6 June, 19h: Point Z in situ documentary performance, 1h30 by  Ikram Benchrif & Paul Girard, Compagnie Parc. Bois de Vincennes (Rendezvous at Atelier de Paris)

6 June, 19h30: Empire of a Faun Imaginary, four performers, 1h05. Creation 2022 by Simone Mousset. Atelier de Paris

6 June, 21h: BOW’T TRAIL Rétrospek, trio, 1h15. Creation 2020 by Rhodnie Désir, RD Créations with live music. Théâtre de l’Aquarium

8 June, 19h: Point Z in situ documentary performance, 1h30 by  Ikram Benchrif & Paul Girard, Compagnie Parc. Bois de Vincennes (Rendezvous at Atelier de Paris)

8 June, 19h30: Haut-Fond, solo, 1h. Creation 2023 by Céline Cartillier cie Météores. Atelier de Paris

8 June, 21h: Peeling Back solo, 1h30. Creation 2023 Nina Santes, cie La Fronde. Théâtre de l’Aquarium

10 June, 19h: Point Z in situ documentary performance, 1h30 by  Ikram Benchrif & Paul Girard, Compagnie Parc. Bois de Vincennes (Rendezvous at Atelier de Paris)

10 June, 19h30: Open/Closed duo, 50 minutes. Creation 2022 by Pierre Piton, cie La PP, with live music. Atelier de Paris

10 June, 21h: Les Noces & Pièce d’ensemble 11 performers, 1h30 with intermission. Creations by La Manufacture, Salva Sanchis & Alma Söderberg. Théâtre de l’Aquarium

13, 14 June, 19h30: The Game of Life for six performers, 50 minutes. Creation 2022 by Liz Santoro, Pierre Godard, cie Le principe de l’incertitude and Jean-Yves Macé, cie l’Instant Donné with live music. Le Carreau du Temple

15 June, 18h: Fila Fila Manani duo, 30 minutes. Creation 2023 by Tidiani N’Diaye, cie copier coller. Atelier de Paris

15 June, 19h30: Des Oiseaux five performers, 1h15. Création 2023 by Joana Schweizer, Aniki Vóvó with live music.

15 June, 21h: Autour d’Hurlula, incantations dans la forêt, in situ performance for trio, 1h30 Creation Flora Détraz cie PLI with live music. DJ set by Miguel Filipe follows. Parc Floral (Rendezvous at Atelier de Paris)

17 June 19h30: MOS duo, 45 minutes. Creation 2022 by Ioanna Paraskevopoulou, Onassis Stegi. A “dancing nursery” is available during the program. Atelier de Paris

17 June 21h: Play 612 trio, 1h. Création 2018 by Daniel Larrieu Astrakan, Collection Daniel Larrieu. Atelier de Paris

17 June 22h: Down duo, 25 minutes. Creation 2023 by Mélissa Guex, cie Sumo. DJ set by Klaire Alice follows. Atelier de Paris


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