compagnie exnihilo

Quarantaine (2004)

Choreography for 5 dancers and 2 musicians | 50 mins | outside

The Caroline association invited us to suggest a project for the Caroline Hospital on the Iles du Frioul near Marseilles. The particular characteristics of this site immediately reminded us of Ellis Island close to New York, this small isle facing Manhattan, where immigrants from all over the world disembarked, dreaming of a better world, the American dream. They were sorted out, separated, rejected, examined or accepted. The Caroline Hospital was originally built and used for sanitary purposes only, it was a quarantine established to protect the town from all possible epidemics and particularly from Yellow Fever. These two sites echo our present situation. Facing the town, so near, yet so far…

Quarantine : place somebody in quarantine, exclude them from the group, deprive them of all contact with the group. Develop the idea that we are all strangers.
We are all strangers to this other group in society, to this other town where we are going to live, this other that frightens us and whom we frighten. We must become familiar with this new environment, understand its ways to allow us to communicate, to exchange or alter our ways and live together.

Isolation, distance, frustration, waiting, separation, remoteness, discovery, aspiration, hope…

Quarantaine is a show that satisfies our desire to occupy open air spaces, a poetic body language, dancing in a natural environment or in relation to heritage, history. We have worked on the notion of palpable distance : to perceive, see without being able to approach, moving closer together, to be close, to move away. Using the zoom as in photography, yet here it is the distance between viewing and the object that is effectively modified. The spectator is made to move in relation to the movement of the dancers and the space, to search to see the action through the ruins of the building or through the public.
The compact and intense dance carried along by the music leans on the feeling imprisonment and immobility that is inherent to a quarantine situation.

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