Territory of Ice
A winter of infinite planes presents itself in the middle of the month of May. One season’s ultimate performance is placed under the sign of variation and Migrations fills the big stage of the Varia, transforming it into an authentic ice park. Through the marriage of ice skating and contemporary dance, Nicole Mossoux and Patrick Bonté share the destiny of these human individuals, periodic immigrants or eternal nomads, who fly over different territories in search of a propitious place to stay. The formal innovation, pictorial poetry and choreographic precision all make Migrations a great success, one that will gratify all those who have a taste for travelling from one landscape to another.
From the very beginning the alchemy of music and light generates a penetrating atmosphere. The ice-rink doesn’t seem to have a single frontier but rather exists as a vast frosty blue expanse that envelops long layers of sound. A group of individuals emerges suddenly from the mist: their bodies held firmly upright, they stay tightly packed together. These migratory birds are unsure of themselves as they find themselves on unfamiliar ground. The skates float more than glide – with barely a breath, in a deep silence their gaze reaches far into the distance. Suddenly a clear and clean sound cuts through the cold air. The agitation brutally interrupts their fragile formation. The dynamic is constantly vacillating between gracious slowness and wild outbursts. The synchronized shifts through space – the formal mastery of which is undeniable – are made and undone in a second: one dancer traces a solitary curve in the space and is imitated just after by a throng of fellow performers.
The fresh wind that blows through the piece can be explained by the atypical way of skating, in how the gestures clearly distinguish themselves from those traditionally equated with the discipline. No ‘triple axel’ or ‘camel spin’: here one performer runs frantically in place while another falls abruptly. From delicate embrace to brusque confrontation, the body positions have clearly been practised such that the naturalness of a movement goes beyond any technical necessity imposed by the use of ice skates. The singularity of the choreography certainly constitutes the major asset of this production. For the rest, it’s not necessary for the spectator to clearly identify the subject of each tableau because the synthesis of sensations evokes a mix of curiosity, anxiety and affection that any one who throws him or herself into the unknown is bound to experience.
By expressing the subject of migration through such a rich and powerful form, Nicole Mossoux succeeds in treating the complexity of her subject without moralizing or one-sidedness. It is a good example of a humble and solid work of art in which the technique serves the evocative power of movement. Without a doubt the adventure of Migrations will continue in many different territories no matter the season.
Charles-Henry Boland, Demandez le Programme / May 2012
A Danced Exploration of New Territories
More than the simple satisfaction of ice-skating, Nicole Mossoux imagines an innovative dance for both human and animal migrants in an original context (…)
One can imagine how the original theatrical version (with a lighting rack over the ice rink that forms a black box) could allow extraordinary lighting effects. At such moments due to the complexity of the lighting, the seven (marvellous) immobile actor-dancers seem to levitate with the blades of their skates retracted, to float in the air ready to walk on water.
At other moments they surge forth ‘like a flock of gyrfalcons far from their native land, tired from carrying their misery of the heights’… a rapid flight in the tight triangular formation of migratory birds. Or rather like a compact school of black fish fleeing inhospitable waters? (…)
With a performance that demonstrates such elaborated research while speaking to the imagination of each spectator, Nicole Mossoux surprises, enchants and pushes us to reflection – migration/immigration.
Suzane Vanina, Rue du Théâtre / May 2012