In 2023, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels is supporting La Bâtie – Festival de Genève and Festival d’Automne à Paris to present Giselle… by François Gremaud.
Giselle… is not Giselle : Giselle… is a theatrical, musical and choreographic piece about Giselle, a monumental figure in Romantic ballet. With Samantha van Wissen – who we have seen dance in productions by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Thomas Hauert –, François Gremaud reshuffles the pack, and by means of suspension points, allows us to catch a glimpse of joy. On an empty stage, an orator appears. The performer Samantha van Wissen begins by telling the story of Giselle, its context, aesthetics, and fable, and ends up dancing the ballet in her own way. Drawing upon her contemporary vocabulary, she retraces the main scenes, re-enacts the pantomime and plays down the classical language. Following on from Phèdre !, François Gremaud brings us the second opus in a triptych centred upon tragic female figures from the classical performing arts, thereby continuing his development of a stylistic mechanism which consists of reducing a piece into a « paraphrase » for an orator. His mischievous text stratifies the playing levels between the ballet's heroine, main character and performer. Played live, Luca Antignani's score re-instrumentalises the original work and adds a iconoclastic saxophone to the flute, harp and violin trio. If Giselle is a declaration of love, Giselle… is a celebration of joy, the « force majeure » of which the philosopher Clément Rosset is so fond.
Text : © Mélanie Jouen
Photo: © Dorothée Thébert Filliger
About the artist
Born in 1975 in Bern, Switzerland, François Gremaud studied at the École cantonale d’Arts de Lausanne (ECAL) before training as a director at the Institut national supérieur des arts du spectacle (INSAS) in Brussels. With Michaël Monney in 2005, Gremaud co-founded 2b company, the association with which he presented his first creation, My Way. In 2009, his show Simone, two, three, four marks his first collaboration with the visual artist, Denis Savary, as well as with the actors Pierre Mifsud, Catherine Büchi and Léa Pohlhammer. Gremaud wrote and directed Phèdre ! in 2017, based on Jean Racine’s eponymous play. Performed by the actor Romain Daroles, this show featured at the 2019 Festival d’Avignon. In 2018, Gremaud co-writes and co-performs Partition(s) with Victor Lenoble, with whom he also created Pièce sans acteur(s) in 2020. When between theatrical projects, Gremaud composes minimalist or festive songs and is a regularly teacher in both the Bachelor’s program, for actors, and the Master’s program, for directors. He also contributes to Continuing Education and Research & Development programs at the Haute École des Arts de la Scène La Manufacture in Lausanne. François Gremaud is the winner of the 2019 Swiss Theater Awards.
Photo: © Niels Ackermann