The world in us

Karine Ponties

When I’m working on my projects, I do so with dancers who know me, whom I know. We have chosen each other, and communication is easy. During my collaboration with the Balet Moskva, I had to relearn how to translate my intentions and transmit them to the dancers so that they, in turn, could add to the performance.

It was a reciprocal learning process. Usually they have a choreography to learn. For this piece, I asked them to try out various techniques: improvisation, but also forms of writing influenced by painting, cinema, animation. How did they manage to translate my input with their bodies, their personal experience, with body language that I did not shape? Then there is my vision. What I take, develop, associate, isolate; and when the material is there, I set to work, like a film editor, to give shape to the piece.

I look for those moments when the body lets go, when it appears to no longer be there. They are consummate performers, but that’s not what I’m looking for. It’s not what I stand for. Dance for me is not an end in itself. It is a means like so many others. We all have bodies, but we don’t all live with them. Less and less. Yet this body is full of experiences. What I am trying to transpose is not “us in the world”, but “the world in us”. How do we see our contradictions, write with them, how do we engage the body? I explore humans and seek common ground. When a show goes on the road and elicits the same sensations from one country to the next, it’s because I’ve managed to say something.

I love layers, strata. And it takes time – I’ve always been out of kilter with time and that intrigues me. I am trying to translate a world of poetry. For me, poetry is political. And always has been.


Interviewed by Elsa Cludts and Benoît Henken on 22 octobre 2019