In “Cartel” presented for the Festival, Novart, Michel Schweizer interrogates the memory of a body: that of the former ballet star, Jean Guizerix. An homage to dance and transmission.
“Immobility is still dancing.” Jean Guizerix, timeless elegance, pronounces this quotation of Merce Cunningham. On the experimental stage of the Cuvier d’Artigues where Cartel is performed under the aegis of Novart, this former star of the Paris Opera ballet dives into his memories: a work session with Nureyev, the Manhattan studio where he met the master Merce Cunningham. And the impression that these experiences would inspire him forever, and make him what he is: a body of dance memories. Guizerix explains the importance of marking with one’s hands for understanding movement. At his side, a young soloist, Romain Difazio, listens or copies him in mirror image. Jean Guizerix has seen everything: the glory days at the Opera, contemporary creations and research. Perhaps his on-stage partner is dreaming of the same career: in a dazzling finale, Difazio does a sequence of jumps and turns to techno music and tells us about his unsuccessful auditions: the juries who never tell him flat out no… but not really yes either. We can easily see what fascinated a creator like Schweizer, who is a staged documentary-fiction enthusiast. After body-builders, dog trainers and teenagers – the very beautiful Fauves –, he fixes his gaze on the virtuosos of classical ballet. “How will these seasoned professionals, whose lives are saturated with the excellence of a particular skill and associated beliefs, know how to find a measure of freedom in a sort of testamentary impulse?” wonders Schweizer. And how does one invite, not a glory of the past, but a free man?
(...)Cartel is a homage to dance of rare power and Jean Guizerix is our idol forever.
LES INROCKS – 03.12.2013 Cartel
First of all, here’s a little advice: whatever you do, don’t try to flatter his ego by emphasizing the excellence of his know-how or describing him as very professional. His mood might darken. Oh, and don’t make any references to his choreographer’s status either. His fans know this much: Michel Schweizer thinks those who choose to have amateur experiences have more panache. For more than fifteen years now he has been delighting in upending codes and striving to explode the accepted categories of disciplines. His thing? Provoking unusual collisions between worlds that don’t usually come across one another. And to hear his fans talk, one might believe that from these unexpected assemblages what often arises are bits and pieces of humanity. With this new creation, called Cartel, the unclassifiable Schweizer has chosen to bring together two former stars of the Paris Opera ballet (and not just any old ones), Cyrille Atanassoff and Jean Guizerix on stage, as well as Romain Difazio, a young ballet dancer in training and an opera singer, Dalila Khatir. A way of mixing genres in order to question the codes of classical ballet.
A NOUS PARIS – 02.12.2013 A moving homage to dance
It was in the area around Bordeaux, at the Cuvier de Feydeau in Artigues-près-Bordeaux, that the Novart public was able to see a rare homage to dance: “Cartel,” a creation by Michel Schweizer, an old hand at agit-prop on stage. For this piece he brought together, amongst others, a former star with the Paris Opera ballet, Jean Guizerix, a singer, Dalila Khatir, and a promising young ballet dancer, Romain di Fazio. Schweizer summons Guizerix’s memories and at the same time, his body’s memory. When he marks choreography with his hands or a few steps borrowed from Merce Cunningham, it is superb. Guizerix was a dancer of the highest class – he “retired” from the Opera in 1990, and teaches today – who is also open-minded. During “Cartel” he tells us about his visit to the American master, Cunningham, the trip home on board the ship, “France” with his wife, the ballerina Wilfride Piollet, and his feeling that he has been forever changed. From the intimate to the spectacular Face-to-face with him, and here is the whole genius of Schweizer, the young dancer, Romain di Fazio wants to understand… We then go from the intimate to the spectacular, like in the final sequence in which the young dancer exhausts himself doing pirouettes and big leaps to electronic music nothing like a ballet score. “Cartel” is not lacking in humor although sometimes seriousness shows through, for instance the disclosure by Michel Schweizer himself, that another star dancer of the Opera, Cyril Atanassoff, was injured right before the Novart season. “Cartel” has its weaknesses – in particular its long-windedness. But what emerges from the ensemble is a true love of dance, which radiates from a staged body and a suffering body alike. Ideal in these morose times.
LES ECHOS, 03/12/2013