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When visiting a museum, the observer moves around the space in an organized manner, quietly soaking up the history, almost as if in a trance. Artistic director Simon Pons-Rotbardt decided to challenge this movement with dance performances taking place in some of France’s most respected monuments. Choreographed by Thomas Lebrun, “Monuments en Mouvement” combines modern dance with centuries old history.
On June 16th this performance took place in the Conciergerie, a former prison and once part of the royal palace, the Palais de la Cité. All the spectators stood in the grand space, as if observing each other, unaware of what was to take place, walking around freely.
Suddenly a crowd gathered as a single dancer began his solemn routine, as though he belonged to the space. Somber opera music filled the many chambers. For 4 to 7 minutes each performance continued, as crowds would gather and disperse throughout the gothic building.
The setting was regal, and the 12 dancers, dressed in simple black attire accented by florescent laces in their sneakers, became the spectacle: human art which intrigued and perhaps even confused the viewer. In the grand finale, the dancers of all ages filled the main space in a choreographed performance, entering and exiting with grace, as a beautiful melody filling the room. The combination of history and modernity seemed a perfect complement.
In total there are 9 monuments with 9 performances. The next setting is the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel on June 18th. Click here for more information on “Monuments en Mouvement.”
Lead photo credit : "Monuments en Mouvement" at the Conciergerie. Photo: Kasia Dietz