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Les Indes Galantes

2017, Video, HD 16:9, colour, 5min 26s

«Les Indes Galantes», is an opera-ballet created by Jean-Philippe Rameau in 1735.

For one of the dances, Rameau was inspired by a performance of American Indian tribal dances from Louisiana performed in Paris by chiefs of the Metchigaema in 1723.

Clément Cogitore adapts a short part of the ballet by mobilizing a group of Krump dan- cers, a dance form born in Los Angeles' black ghetto in the 1990s. Its birth occurred in the aftermath of the beating up of Rodney King and the riots, as well as the brutal police repression it triggered. Amidst this coercive atmosphere, young dancers started to embody the violent tensions of the physical, social and political body.

Both the tribal dance performed in Paris in 1723, and the rebelious Krump dancers of the 1990s shape a reenactment of Rameau’s original libretto, staging young people dancing on the verge of a volcano.

«The body is hardly ever non-political in Clément Cogitore's works, as among the dancers he stages in his film 'Les Indes Galantes'. Cogitore delivers a new vision, its contemporary reinvention. (...) Grimaces, intimidations, the gesture functions as a powerful catharsis and releases socio-political tensions in its trance. As baroque music envelopes the body of the dancers, the contained violence disappears by waves and grace appears, powerful, victorious, obvious.»

Léa Chauvel-Lévy Art critic and curator