WITH THEIR LATEST WORK, DFS, CECILIA BENGOLEA AND FRANÇOIS CHAIGNAUD CERTAINLY HAVEN’T FALLEN SHORT OF EXPECTATIONS: SONG AND DANCE THAT COME TOGETHER AND COMPLETE EACH OTHER IN AN UNEXPECTED HUMAN PATCHWORK. HYPNOTIC RYTHMS (IN THIS CASE INHERITED FROM DANCEHALL MUSIC), GRACEFUL ELEGANCE AND HEAVENLY VOICES (TRADITIONAL AND MEDIEVAL GEORGIAN POLYPHONIC CHANTS) AND AN ABUNDANCE OF ENERGY. THESE ARE THE INGREDIENTS OF AN INNOVATIVE AND SPARKLING RECIPE TO MAKE YOUR MOUTH WATER!
Since 2005 the Franco-Brazilian duo have collaborated in the dance company Vlovajob Pru, drawing on the most varied cultures and techniques of the body: ballet, urban dance and dance that is typical of the period between the two wars. Nothing stops them, and the material they have gathered up becomes a harmonious dialogue on stage in an unlikely, but very successful, stylistic revelry.
In the summer of 2015, Cecilia and François were the first choreographers to be invited by the famous Tanztheater Wuppertal to create a choreography for the company following the tragic death of Pina Bausch. The performance, entitled The Lighters-Dancehall Polyphony, represents a landmark in the complex work on the meeting of the polyphonic repertory of English Renaissance madrigals and the Dancehall of the streets of Kingston. Madrigals and Dancehall? Clearly, the idea may surprise but the result is high quality, audacious and surprising. For their new creation, DFS, the two choreographers decided to continue the research begun at Wuppertal, this time performed by their own company. The project included the participation of three ballerinas and several Dancehall dancers for a collective exploration that unites song and dance, past and present, “cultured” art and urban art.
Fascinated by the rythmic intensity of Dancehall, Cecilia Bengolea decided to go to Jamaica to study the music and choreography born in the nineteen sixties. During her Jamaican full immersion Cecilia met two stars of Dancehall: Damian BG Dancers and Giddy Elite Team, with whom she learnt to express herself through a complex and extremely evocative body language. Dancehall is, in effect, a life-style more than a simple musical trend, thanks to which the young people of the Kingston ghettoes are able to denounce the oppressive ideologies that dominate the country; the exploitation and the delusions. A dance that is combative and strong, which Cecilia sought to rework in a dialogue that falls between narration and abstraction, formal elegance and expressive freedom. Her eternal companion, the ethereal and mysterious François Chaignaud, on the other hand, decided to concentrate his research on traditional Georgian polyphonic chants for 3 or 4 voices and dancers.
This very varied repertoire, somewhere between tradition and innovation, produces melodies that are almost magical, ancestral and difficult to express. François Chaignaud tackles the challenge of singing and dancing these polyphonic songs without allowing himself to be overwhelmed by the difficulties: synchronisation, precision or vocal harmony. His aim is to create a total expression that passes through the body, in its entirety, and is able to be visually, musically, vocally and energetically powerful.
Cecilia and François explore and research individually and then come together as a duo, united by a common will to analyse new expressive modalities not immediately associated with contemporary dance. What they are trying to achieve, through their unexpected creations, which are somewhere between elegance and ruggedness, is a new way of interpreting dance seen as a combination of heterogeneous activities rather than a smooth and linear terrain. Their latest work, DFS, is proof of this; a surprising and regenerative hotbed of activities, each (very) different from the other, that are liberated from their original references. DFS is a sort of concentrate of elegance and humour, simplicity and complexity that embraces the spectator in a destabilised and mysterious world where everything – but everything – seems possible. Let’s enjoy the performance and let our hair down!