PARIS, 6 JULY 2007
â€”The highly original and imaginative French dancer and choreographer,
Philippe DecouflĂ©, returned with his company to the Theatre du Chaillot in
June with an eagerly awaited new work, Sombrero, once more a
magical mix of dance, theatre, video, painting and music. Enthusiastic
audiences packed the theatre each evening for what was introduced as being
the story of Francois and Francoise, and/or a trip to Mexico, but which
served as an excuse for developing the work with images he began with
Solo, his 2003 creation. Sombrero
, created for seven dancers including himself, is a series
of abstract tableaux, funny, intriguing or dazzling with explosions of video images
of true beauty, linked together by the idea of shadows.
Dancers in white come to life, doubled by dancers in black who also
have a not-so-secret life of their own, dancers whose images are reflected
on geometrically shaped screens and moveable cubes. Video images and
mirrors, strategically placed, throw back silhouettes of the artists whose
gyrating bodies are shown in all sizes and angles. Cameras which the
public can see film them in three dimensions, in close-up, from beneath
and from the top.
Philippe DecouflĂ©: Sombrero
"I'm a craftsman and nothing could be simpler than working on one's
shadow", the choreographer told me after his show. "We've all got one, if
not several, and I find that fascinating as well as beautiful. My shadows
are not ghosts, but amusing little creatures from a fantasy world .The
theatre of shades, which is very poetical, has almost disappeared in a
world where everything is possible in the cinema today, which was another
reason why I created this piece. "
But maybe above all, "the choreographer said, "this piece was created
because I wanted to return to working with the same group of people with
whom I made Shazam!,
and Iris. I need to know and trust my interpreters, and as we all
know each other so well, it makes for a stimulating and enjoyable working
atmosphere. And, as usual, Sombrero, which we set to original
music by Brian Eno with arrangements and other compositions by SĂ©bastien
Libolt, was a joint venture. While I choreographed the parts to the Satie
and Bartok scores, Christophe Salengro devised the beach scene. I had my
doubts about him water-skiing across the stage, but each evening,
audiences find it as hilarious as we do; and of course, although we began
working on the piece nearly two years ago, there is a great deal of
improvisation as we constantly change small details."
Philippe DecouflĂ©: Sombrero
"I cannot over-emphasise", he continued, "that what we create is the
work of a whole team".
Sombrero is gay, fresh and light-hearted. It draws an audience
into another universe. And this particular production also contains more
moments of pure dance than one has become accustomed to from DecouflĂ©. A
happy audience left the theatre busily humming Ennio Morricone's, "Il Ă©tait une fois dans l'Ouest", the choreographer's
humorous tribute to Clint Eastwood and the "Spaghetti Westerns", ready to
once again affront the outside world.
Philippe DecouflĂ©'s Sombrero is at Sadlers Wells
in London from 4 - 8 July 2007.
Patricia Boccadoro is dance editor at
Related CK Archives
The DecouflĂ© Phenomenon
with Philippe DecouflĂ©