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Beyond Words

Something very much like love:  Sylvère Lamotte and Magali Saby dance “la faille” [By Tracy Danison]

1. Sylvère Lamotte  Danser la Faille © Caroline Jaubert - copieSylvère Lamotte, Magali Saby, “Danser la Faille”. Photo © Caroline Jaubert

I am still bowled over by the experience of Danser la faille, Sylvère Lamotte and Magali Saby’s conference dansée(“dance commentary”).

When Saby, whose mobility is severely impaired by myositis, a motor-neuron condition, and choreographer Sylvère Lamotte dance together it is … well … divine interaction.

Lamotte’s strong, attentive movement and gesture let him become a sort of lotus flower or socket into which Saby fits herself in order, first, to confide, then, to mix and share the tides and currents of energy within and between them.

So real and so obvious and so full of mutual attentiveness is their interaction that, for me and for other spectators, too, the duo’s dance seems as close to love manifest as can make no difference.

But, in the end, Lamotte and Saby’s Danser la Faille is more art, ability and complementarity than love.

Danser, I think, can only be an illustration of the “constant [physical, real] interaction” between us that Lamotte describes, for instance, in his L’Écho d’un infini (“Echo of an infinite”) or his Corps Constellaires as the essence of choreography and the “verticality” he cited as the essence of dance during the conférence.

3. SylvèreLamotte Caroline Jaubert-Sylvère Lamotte, Magali Saby, “Danser la Faille”. Photo © Caroline Jaubert

“Verticality”, in two words, is the walking movement that characterizes, especially, human aliveness. The concept of a conference dansée (“danced commentary”) itself mirrors Lamotte’s belief that in ordinary life, too, as represented in choreography, human bodies are in constant [physical] interaction.

Danser la Faille is as moving as we believe only love can be because Lamotte’s choreography of carrying and holding one another shows how energy gets shared by “constant interaction”. Verticality is played out by Saby’s whole-body solo dance from her wheelchair. Saby’s disability – la faille (“the weak point” or “the inflection point”) – highlights the energy shared among us. Her very great ability lets her shape, amplify and project, heighten our consciousness of our own constant interaction and verticality – Danser.

Sylvère Lamotte, who became interested in mobility issues because of the delight in dance taken by a wheelchair-bound favorite aunt has been working formally with people with mobility impairments since 2012. Magali Saby’s myositis makes movement such as standing and walking problematic. She has been a professional actress and dancer since at least 2015.

Saby met Lamotte as a cast member for productions of Lamotte’s 2019 Tout ce fracas dance performance for Micadanses’ Bien Fait! 2022 program and its Faits d’Hiver 2023. Tous ce fracas (“All this fuss”) created with composer-musician  Stracho Temelkovski, also features Carla Diego and Caroline Jaubert, both of whom have mobility issues.I saw Echo d’un infini, which featured performers Brigitte Asselineau, Marie-Julie Debeaulieu, Paco Decina, Jean Charles Jousni , Sylvère Lamotte and Jean Yves Phuong, at Atelier de Paris / CDCN as part of the Faits d’Hiver 2019 program, Tout ce fracas at Micadanses in 2022 and Danser la faille at the Maif Social Club on 11 February 2023 as part of the Faits d’Hiver program.

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