Presentation — Season 9

Interview with Christian Rizzo




- After your residency in Greece, you were invited to Taiwan, where you have been nurturing a dialogue with the Taiwanese choreographic scene for several years. Does observing from abroad inspire new ways of doing things and prospects for future creations? 
Taiwan has been an extremely strong catalyst for many years now, and Greece may become one in the future. I think that being far away, being somewhere else, develops a certain acuity, a level of attention that is undoubtedly a little more precise. Within a deluge of information, aesthetic and emotional choices, as well as choices of movement and timing, take on a life of their own. I look at the same things more carefully. All my senses are alert, at their peak. When I'm in Greece or Taiwan, I come across places that I recognise intuitively. It's an experience that troubles me a lot, this relationship, this simultaneous impression of familiarity and strangeness. It's as if I'm discovering myself at home as I perceive the unknown. It's through this 'elsewhere' that I can formulate my 'here'. 

- The creation of "à l'ombre d'un vaste détail (hors tempête)" is scheduled for 2025. What stage are you at in the creative process? Are there any materials that you've already collected and/or that you'd like to explore for your next pieces? 
To date, no materials have been defined, although I'm already working on the scenography, but I feel that the presence of the hand will be important. This revolves around, but is not limited to, manual activities involving materials. I observe manual gestures a lot: they are like definitive acts that inscribe something in matter or in a potential vacuum. But they can also be seen as motor actions that don't finish anything: actions that open up, engage or trigger processes. It's this "starter gesture" that, in my view, contains the hand can symbolise. Perhaps that's what I'm in the process of collecting or, at any rate, observing very carefully. With the creation of à l'ombre d'un vaste détail, excluding tempête scheduled for the end of 2025, I'm in a rather distant time frame. But I know that this play will open another chapter on the invisible. I'm observing from both within and without, as I often am when I'm not in direct contact with the reality of dance work. However, my senses are becoming tuned ever more finely, and a cast is on the horizon... I'm already on the lookout for certain sounds, certain everyday gestures linked to craftsmanship and creation. Gestures that come together to form a kind of creative daily routine. 

- Talking of production, how have you planned for next season? Will you be continuing your investigation into the links between artistic and craft gestures? Questioning the place of narrative in the field of choreography? 
I would say that more attention is being paid to compositional systems rather than subjects. Recently, I heard something Annie Ernaux said on the radio that particularly struck me. It was exactly the epigraph I was looking for to capture the spirit of this season! That sums up, on the one hand, the way I see the work and, on the other, the construction of the season. These few words underline the importance of composition systems rather than the primacy of subjects. As far as storytelling is concerned, there will of course be continuity next season, based on the questions that began my third mandate. These questions are both starting and finishing points. They form a mesh of desires that I use to put together a programme, like a portrait of the self. The issues of narrative, landscape and composition make me write, insofar as they place the body at the centre of attention.  


- Is there a common thread linking the programming to your own approach? Will there be resonances between the artists who will be hosted and the creative work that is done on a day-to-day basis within the walls of the CCN? 
I want to share a programme that reflects the eclecticism of contemporary forms of writing, whether through the presence of the two associate artists Nadia Beugré and Vania Vaneau, by welcoming young artists who are coming 11 to the CCN for the very first time, such as Hubert Crabières or Milø Slayers, or by presenting artists who have been on the Master exerce course, such as Julia B. Laperrière, Mariana Viana or Anat Bosak. Since the beginning of this mandate, one word has guided the choreographic centre's project: "maintain". It's a question that's always at the heart of our work: how do we maintain relationships with the outside world? How do you maintain links with works, performers, choreographers and audiences? Sharing artists' work also means sharing processes and supporting their careers. For me, this is the full meaning and power of an institution like the CCN, and I say this with all the more conviction because it also allows me to look back at my own history and keep it alive. I'm delighted to be reviving a solo I wrote twelve years ago for Kerem Gelebek, which was played in Hong Kong and can be seen again in Montpellier, at Théâtre Jean Vilar, during the Biennale des Arts de la Scène en Méditerranée. I'm also relaunching an old adventure by reviving the play that brought me to the CCN: d'après une histoire vraie. Whether it's the solo for Kerem Gelebek, sakınan göze çöp batar (it's the eye you're protecting that will be perforated), or d'après une histoire vraie (after a true story) created in 2013, or je vais t'écrire (I'm going to write to you), created in 2023, it is always a question of continuity and loyalty to the performers. If the question of memory is necessary, it is not so much to glorify a heritage as to avoid falling into generalised amnesia, which seems to me to be on the increase today. The constant flow in which we are caught up encourages us to forget: this can sometimes have beneficial effects, because it makes space. But for me, as someone who is so attached to the present, it seems necessary to preserve a place of projection for the future and therefore not to be out of touch, out of history. We know that our work is rooted in memory: there is no other medium than memory. Dance is in the memory of those who make it and those who observe it. For me, that's the only way to work. I think that's an important question. That's why I'm keen to revisit certain things: by re-producing my creations, but also by inviting artists who have already worked on the CCN project. I prefer to show and understand journeys, rather than isolated performative objects.  


- Opening up to the world has been part of CCN Montpellier Occitanie's management roadmap since the start of your term of office. The name itself is now preceded by the acronym "ICI" for "Institut Chorégraphique International". How has this openness shaped the way we support artists and share their work with the public? What legacy will this leave for the future? 
I can't think of opening up to the world in any other way than through territories whose borders are both blurred and in flux. This is an essential factor in the construction of one season after another, because blurring and movement create porosity. It's not just about reaching out to the world, but welcoming it. So I've tried to create the right conditions for this to happen. When I arrived at the CCN, I realised that its entire project was based on its entrance and exit doors: there is a double movement from the venue to the outside world and from the outside world to the venue. But the place, like the project, is always in a state of flux: it is built up as it goes along, fed by the day-to-day. This is the very essence of a living institution: it must always be on the move. I'm delighted to be opening up the choreography centre to other practices. The invitation extended to Hubert Crabières is a step in this direction: he is a photographer who has worked in the fashion world while maintaining a critical eye. I'm very interested in his approach, because he's trying to build communities and bring to the fore certain issues in fashion, which - in my opinion - can tend to narrow the representation of the body. All the artists invited to the CCN participate in activating the following question: where does choreography fit in? It's a question that feeds into my practice, as does the project for the choreography centre. This involves a CCN that I imagine as a port that welcomes and transmits at the same time, as a zone where the flow is suspended, allowing people to come together in a different temporality, to take a break. From the outset, I wanted the CCN to be an experimental academy and a caravanserai, to live from the cross-fertilisation of experiences. I think it's still happening.  


- Interview by Noëmie Charrié, June 2023