After an international career at the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, in 1995 Thomas Duchâtelet started his own company in his native region, the Nord Pas-de-Calais in the north of France. There he created Passage à l’acte, L’objet; Transfert; Filatures, Oh!, duo, and Ils…Le secret, in a partnership with the Théâtre du Manège Scène Nationale (Maubeuge), Danse à Lille, and the Vivat d’Armentières. He also collaborated with the Compagnie Jean-Marc Chotteau with La vie à un fil, exploring the worlds of both theatre and choreography.
From 2000-2002, the Compagnie Thomas Duchâtelet was in residence at the Culture Commune Scène Nationale in Loos-en-Gohelle working on an innovative project called A perte de mémoire. The project blended choreography with other art genres, including architecture, landscape art, plastic arts, and videography. Pierre qui brûle is his latest creation. A solo abridged version of this piece will be presented at the Avignon Festival (July 2004), as will Bérimbau a variation for younger audiences. In this work Duchâtelet explores the art of choreography focusing on the territory of Audomarois in the Pas-de-Calais and the city of Arques. Landscape and the memory of places are at the heart of his quest and interrogation. Pierre qui brûle is also inspired by sounds and images that were gathered during a residency in Kinshasa in September 2002.
“From the moment it is mined to the moment it reaches incandescence, coal gives rise to a multiplicity of images. With its wide palette of deep, intense colour, ranging from ebony to fiery red, and eventually going up in smoke, becoming invisible and impalpable, it evokes a metaphysical alchemy of artistic creation. Arques with its crystal glassworks is the scene of another burning stone, heated until it becomes transparent, pure and limpid, through a process that is as old and mysterious as the art of dancing. A shift takes place between the mining of coal used as a source of energy, and the creation of crystal—the epitome of refinement. As a country of raw materials, primitive and mineral, Africa echoes this set of antagonisms. The implicit issue of the exploitation of man and the enslavement of bodies is counterbalanced by dance as a space for the freedom of gesture, as a living and fleeting art that carries dreams and holds metaphysical promises, as coming to life in a deserted space, on a bare ground.”
Co-production Compagnie Thomas Duchâtelet/Centre Culturel Balavoine, Arques. With the support of the Association Française d’Action Artistique, the Communauté Urbaine de Lille, the French Cultural Center - Halle de la Gombe and the Kabako Studios in Kinshasa. Project in collaboration with the Studio Technologique “Les Nouveaux Mondes,” the Théâtre du Manège Scène Nationale in Maubeuge/Culture Commune Scène Nationale in Loos-en-Gohelle/Centre Culturel Avionnais.