1 - Our letter to the 2020 artists
The health and social situation caused by the Covid-19 epidemic in a large part of the world today questions the organization of events intended for the public in France and more generally in Europe. It also seriously affects the creative work of artists, wherever they are.
Following several work sessions with Boris Charmatz and his team, Annick de Chaunac and the team of the Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès, Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota and the team of Théâtre de la Ville, we have come to the conclusion that it would not be possible to hold the 2020 edition of Danse Elargie in acceptable conditions, both artistically and logistically, as well as in terms of health.
In order to respond to the disarray that results from this observation, we have imagined a scenario that can satisfactorily support the sustainability of your projects as well as their inclusion in the
history of the the Danse Elargie competition.
Our partners, the Ministry of Culture, SACD and the National Choreographic Center of Rennes and
Brittany have supported us in our reflection. It is therefore thanks to the support of all that we are able to make a concrete proposal today:
- A development grant of € 3,000 will be awarded to each of the 20 selected projects;
- Visibility of each of the 20 projects will be given on different media (website, press release, etc.);
- Promotion for the work will be activated with information for professionals (emails, professional meetings, French and European networks, partner structures, etc.).
We are also thinking of making a short film that gives a record of this edition unlike any other. In the hope of making a place for you, to have your generation stand out following the five Danse Elargie generations that have followed one another since 2010. We will contact you very soon on this subject.
In this way, we hope to contribute modestly to the development of your projects. As with all the finalists that have preceded you, we are committed to following your work in the future, near and far, with great attention and kindness.
Boris Charmatz, Annick De Chaunac, Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota
2 - Danse élargie, a contest-in-movement that belongs to artists
Every two years, twenty unpredictable projects arrive one after another on a Parisian stage where a part of dance history is being made. Chosen from hundreds of applicants, the finalists of the sixth edition hail from four continents. More than 400 submissions from 54 countries – among which numbered 26 European states – were accepted. The others were from countries in Africa, America and Asia. But Danse élargie continues predominantly to attract the attention of French and European artists who comprised three-fourth of the submissions. The selection too reflects this ratio faithfully : out of the twenty finalists, a quarter are from other continents. Two projects from India and from Iran have been notably included in the selection, with a total of eighteen performers from these countries.
The preponderance of submissions poses a major challenge for the small team consisting of three department heads from Théâtre de la Ville, three from the team of Boris Charmatz and one representative of Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. Together with this partner – present from the outset – they mull over the larger context, including the possibilities of long-term support to the applicants and the development of the contest across time. Crucial as it is, that implies more than a financial contribution. But how does one study more than 400 submissions? The selectors – huddled together in a straight-out conclave across three days – watch everything and proceed by elimination, till there are fifty submissions, which are reviewed several times, and further downsized to thirty. In the last decisive round, Boris Charmatz joins the deliberations, casting a fresh eye, which helps narrow the choice down to twenty finalists. From the submitted videos, the jury study the artistic gamble that a performance on a large stage would entail for a nascent project. There could be a huge gap between the first draft and the final result, and works tend to show their real colours only during the contest.
Artistic yardsticks are designed to favour an “expanded dance”, often at the borders between disciplines and genres, with a new, singular, stamp. It is up to artists to own the idea of Danse élargie and take it further. But the main idea remains: the freedom to create and innovate!
And the contest Danse élargie itself evolves, inevitably. Boris Charmatz, its cofounder in 2010, is no longer director of Musée de la danse in Rennes and cannot contribute anymore to its funding, but the French Ministry of Culture has come to its aid in 2020, fittingly, to make up for his absence. More backing comes from SACD, also an associate since the outset with grants for promotion/touring, and from CCN de Rennes-Bretagne which, in turn, wished to be involved (let us not forget that two of the codirectors of the collective are former prizewinners). And, of course, there is Théâtre de la Ville itself. More and more theatres and festivals support the finalists, inviting them on residencies and taking on the gamble of presenting their work. Sadler’s Wells, the prestigious dance theatre in London, programmed a full evening in 2019 comprising the works of seven finalists of Danse élargie. Plans are underway to explore a Danse élargie division in Taiwan, and several partners have expressed interest in promoting the 2020 and 2021 editions. Watch this space!