A creation by Catherine Gaudet
Performers at creation: Dany Desjardins, Francis Ducharme, Caroline Gravel, Leïla Mailly, James Phillips
Music: Antoine Berthiaume
Assistant dramaturge and rehearsal director: Sophie Michaud
Lighting design: Alexandre Pilon-Guay
Costume design: Max-Otto Fauteux
Internship performer at creation: Marie-Philippe Santerre
Production: Lorganisme
Executive producer: DLD – Daniel Léveillé Danse
Co-production: Agora de la danse (Montreal), Centre chorégraphique national de Tours – CCNT (France)
Creative residencies: Agora de la danse (Montreal), Centre chorégraphique national de Tours (CCNT), Centre de Création O Vertigo – CCOV (Montreal), Compagnie Marie Chouinard (Montreal), Danse à la carte (Montreal), École de danse Louise Lapierre (Montreal), Maison de la culture Frontenac (Montreal)
With the support of: Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts de Montréal
Development: DLD – Daniel Léveillé Danse
Duration: 55 minutes (no intermission)
Premiere: September 26, 2018 | Agora de la danse (Montreal, Canada)

Several steps back in retrospect, a gaze free of affect, focused on exploring the life-giving impulse that drives humanity and depicting its obsessive cycles. A succession of endless recurrences, births, deaths, and rebirths, The Fading of the Marvelous is a dizzying attempt to portray that which transcends us, supported by five dancers.

Catherine Gaudet is shifting away somewhat from her previous work, dispensing with theatricality based on human relational aspects. But at the heart of her creative approach is an effort to dig beneath the social mask, and as always a strong dose of ambiguity shades the aesthetics of hesitation.

In this new opus Catherine Gaudet focuses on cycles as a universal structure. To give them tangible shape, she uses the circular form– spatial, internal, instinctual… – as a backdrop. More geometric and refined, these postures nonetheless convey a profoundly human experience very much attuned to the other.

Catherine Gaudet is interested by the body’s subtle transformations occasioned by the ambiguity that underlies our existence. She approaches her choreographic work as a study on the unconscious and elusive aspect of human being, hoping to reveal that which it seeks to conceal. She develops a physicality whereby the body becomes a place of resonance for complex and contradictory sensations percolating beneath the surface. Her choreographic language is interwoven with subtle changes in muscular tension revealing overlapping states, ideas and impulses. In her choreographic writing, the body is the receiver and transmitter of invisible forces, a witness to an existential history at once personal and universal. The raw aspect of bodily states coalesces with the precision of the lines and evolves in step with a finely woven choreographic score. The dancers performing her works are strongly engaged, rising to the challenge presented by a precise control of form, combined with its deconstruction through open performative states.

Short biography of Catherine Gaudet:

Catherine Gaudet began her dance career working for various choreographers before turning her attention to her own choreographic research in 2004. Her works include Grosse fatigue (2005), L’arnaque (2006), Sourire forcé (2009), L’invasion du vide (2009), Je suis un autre (2012), Au sein des plus raides vertus (2014), La très excellente et lamentable tragédie de Roméo et Juliette (2016), along with a number of short works. They have been presented in Québec, France, Denmark and Belgium.Catherine Gaudet completed both her bachelor’s degree and her masters in contemporary dance at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She is among the creative minds behind the new Centre de création O Vertigo, together with Mélanie Demers, Caroline Laurin- Beaucage and Ginette Laurin. She is an associate creator at Daniel Léveillé Danse (DLD) since February 2018, and receives its development and touring support. Catherine Gaudet is a founding member and co-director of Lorganisme and she is a member of Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique.

Feedback and reviews:

“In this powerful work, the intense passage between bodily states and the total dedication of the five performers brings us to the brink of catharsis.” Mélanie Carpentier, Le Devoir (Montréal, Canada)

This opening is immediately breathtaking in its simplicity and vulnerability, and for several minutes, the eye is drawn to the constant forward-and-backward movements of hard flesh. … Together, they move through various sensations, their bodies reacting according to their own individuality. The dancers seem to experience a whole range of emotions spanning ecstasy, pride, judgment, disgust, disdain, sadness, terror, confusion and a multitude of other, barely tangible states of mind that are evoked for the audience. … Catherine Gaudet’s latest creation showcases her choreographic style with a simple and effective portrayal of the relationship between body and mind as explored through movement.. Lucie Lesclauze , DfDanse (Montréal, Canada)

Because really, in The Fading of the Marvelous, the perfect moment happened “before” – before the dissociation of the Universe. […] When the dancers, with eyes closed, are still immersed in the pleasure of an intuitive moment.Victor Inisan, I/O Gazette (Paris, France)

 “Splendidly done!” Andre Sokolowski, Der Freitag (Berlin, Germany)

 “Nothing is pale here, everything is marvelous.Kerstin Hergt, Hannoverische Allgemeine (Hannover, Germany)

Press review by the Daniel Léveillé Danse:

Relying entirely on the evocative power of the body, Catherine Gaudet lays the foundation for a new aesthetic approach. Devoid of artifice and spoken language, L’affadissement du merveilleux is a departure from the choreographer’s past repertoire, characterized by its theatricality. In this powerful work, the intense passage between bodily states and the total dedication of the five performers brings us to the brink of catharsis.

Dany Desjardins, Francis Ducharme, Caroline Gravel, Leïla Mailly and James Phillips stand on an immaculate white stage, mere millimetres from one another. Eyes closed, only partially clothed, they stand in a line and move slowly across the stage. Blindly, their fingers and hands brush each other inadvertently and seem to serve as both a fulcrum and a spatial reference point.

On this slowly evolving forward-and-backward journey, patterns repeat and bodies continually transform to a binary electronic composition by Antoine Berthiaume. Accompanied by its omnipresent, gentle and hypnotising rhythm, collarbones protrude, shoulders rise, and other parts of the body slump and collapse. Something deep within the dancers’ flesh seems to constrain their movement. These transformations of muscle and bone induce facial expressions that travel from serenity to surprise, disorientation to dazzlement.

Suddenly, a collective infant’s cry rings out. The performers cavort and thrash, at once grotesque and tormented. The line is broken for a solo, then a nocturnal round dance, evoking a pagan ritual. Seductive poses contrast with the work’s ritualistic and bacchanal dimension as the initial movements begin to resemble a circular catwalk. Heads swing in unison until the dancers reach the point of ecstasy.

A strange, twisted, almost unsettling sensuality overtakes these bodies, now glistening with sweat. The demanding and visceral choreography elicits groans, vocalizations, moans and gasps. Despite a touch of humour intended to create lightness, a conspicuous violence inhabits the five performers, pushed to exhaustion by their trance. The violence of these sacrificial bodies makes it impossible to fully project ourselves onto the performers’ altered state of consciousness, even with their astonishing dedication. As a result, we are left on the brink of catharsis, suspended in the very last moments between wonder and banality.

Mélanie Carpentier

Contributor
September 27, 2018 Review

Press review by The Agora de la danse:

On the stage of the Agora de la danse, Catherine Gaudet presented her latest creation, L’affadissement du merveilleux. The work bears the mark of her particular style, a morphological exploration of the body’s reaction to our sensations.

Five dancers stand on an empty stage. No lighting effects: just five authentic bodies ready to surrender to the choreographer’s explorations.

Standing in a line with their eyes closed, intimately cohesive, they advance toward us, tracing circular patterns with their steps. This opening is immediately breathtaking in its simplicity and vulnerability, and for several minutes, the eye is drawn to the constant forward-and-backward movements of hard flesh.

The performers’ feverish synchronization gradually transforms, giving way to an immediately controlled physicality. Together, they move through various sensations, their bodies reacting according to their own individuality. The dancers seem to experience a whole range of emotions spanning ecstasy, pride, judgment, disgust, disdain, sadness, terror, confusion and a multitude of other, barely tangible states of mind that are evoked for the audience. Several elusive images come to mind – a model’s walk, a city dweller’s step – and there are cries, bursts of laughter and moans, but they are all merely ephemeral and remain unintelligible.

Prisoners of their own states of mind, the five dancers slowly, intensely and gradually transform. The concrete body – glistening sweat, tousled hair – is emphasized and breathing intensifies. The choreography is conceived in an entirely circular manner; like electrons, the performers break away from each other at times but remain linked to one another, imprisoned by the infinite cyclical form. Abruptly, their spirited momentum comes to a halt: movement is suspended, breathing slows, bodily expression ends and the curtain falls.

Catherine Gaudet’s latest creation showcases her choreographic style with a simple and effective portrayal of the relationship between body and mind as explored through movement.

Written on October 3 by Lucie Lesclauze.