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In Conversation with Charles-Alexis Desgagnés

Photo by Marc Antoine Hallé

L’APPEL DES BRAISES (the CALL OF THE EMBERS)

Choreographed and performed by Charles-Alexis Desgagnés

Citadel Spring Mix
April 3, 4, 2024

How long have you been developing this work? 

The work took overall, from the beginning of the research to the premiere, about 1 year and a half on and off.

Are there any key themes that recur in your work or processes? 

Metamorphosis, vulnerability generated by embodied and vituositic physicality, the whole team being part of the development, somatic engagement, staying in the body and coming back to the body as the baseline, constant conversation between lights/music/body/costume/scenography. A lot of precise and exact choreographic writing juxtaposed with structured improvisations within the same work.

Is there any advice you would give to emerging choreographers? 

Do a lot of personal inner spiritual/emotional/psychological work outside of the studio, keep doing your own movement improvisation and creative practice (and coach yourself with videos to notice your tendencies) and surround yourself with loving and competent rehearsal directors who will also let you know when what you are doing is bad or beige and let you know what was the seed that was interesting in your 20 min improv to build from that.

What excites you about Toronto’s dance scene?  

The fact that it is highly physical and that it celebrates virtuosity and that it is smaller than the Montreal scene.

What is special to you about remounting a work? Is there anything you learn when performing a work over multiple years for different audiences in different places?

The work is fairly recent but definitely redoing a work after a little break from it enhances it because it gives it the time to settle in the body and as an entity of its own.