Dances of time

2004 : Les danses du temps : recherche sur la notion de temps en danse contemporaine, Centre national de la danse

Exploring the Notion of Time in Contemporary Dance

Time is a key issue in artistic, scientific, and philosophical research. The existence of a form of time specific to choreographic creation cannot be separated from the presence of the mortal body, itself subject/object/and material of dance. Here the body is conceived as an ephemeral being producing another one: the dance movement. In what way does dance deal with the aporia of time expressed by different philosophical thoughts? What kind of temporality does it create according to the various aesthetical challenges and the processes of composition, of movement structuring and of improvisation? This research explores the numerous time strategies adopted in contemporary dance and aims to draw out the specificities of dance, in its approach to time, compared with others forms of art. The works of selected choreographers representative of several currents of contemporary dance are analyzed: Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, Pina Bausch, Hideyuki Yano, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Jérôme Bel, Xavier Le Roy, Myriam Gourfink. Far from reducing time to its old single entity of the Renaissance, contemporary choreography establishes an intensive time, conducive to the perpetual becoming of things. Neither eternity nor everlasting present, the time of dance is at once a creative force and a created entity; it is a face-to-face experience, an assertion of reality up to its withdrawal.