Dance / J-Claude Gallotta.
Day Dreamers/ Le Jour se rêve was our first show since October.
It is a show that was created a few years ago, that they have taken up again and reworked to deal with our contemporary sorrows, our fears, our worries, all the unspoken violence that we all inflict on ourselves.
It all started in a very strange way. All of us, from the theatre and the audience, the dancers, the company, all of us were a little sad.
The hall was only supposed to be filled to 35% of its capacity: in other words, nothing at all.
There had to be two seats of space between people.
We had to enter in dribs and drabs, above all: not to mix, not to cross, not to touch.
It took an infinite amount of time to have an almost empty room.
It was a strange evening, which was not an evening, since in France we have a 9 p.m. curfew – and the gendarmes waiting on the expressways – I saw them.
But the technical director performed the first feat of the evening, He lowered our sound canopies – he visually shrunk the room – he filled everything he couldn’t hide with huge cushions – and as a result, our almost empty room looked almost full – holey – but full.
Finally, the lights in the room went out. The stage lit up.
And there – the first shock.
A dancer – or a female dancer? – entered the stage in a full body suit and under a full mask as well.
And another – same costume – same mask. They were very strange masks, made of fabric – sometimes a drawn face, like a weird Russian doll face, sometimes a flowery fabric,
And all of them, in costumes that covered them completely, and a black jacket over that.
They danced, without sound. It was one of the most oppressive moments of my life as a spectator.
They danced excellently, with splendid brilliance – but without faces – without sound.
I don’t like invention for invention’s sake, shock for shock’s sake – especially in the artistic field.
But that night, with a sparse, masked audience in front of them, seeing them dance under full-face masks, without music – it was an expression of all the tension we’ve all been under for over a year.
That feeling of not really being anyone when you’re out there.
This obligation to have hidden human relations, at a distance, through the internet – nothing real, nothing in heat, in laughter, in shouts, in words or in smiles.
This is what they were dancing. It was terrible – and the whole room was with them – it was us they were dancing.
and when, finally, the music rose to accompany the dancers, the whole room breathed. Finally, finally, some warmth – some sweetness. It was modern music, sweet and sad, sad and sweet, music that tells of the small, anonymous pain that grips us every day.
But at least, finally, this delicate, light feeling, which undermines us a little, finally it could come out and express itself, and be danced –
and we, the spectators, felt better.
Since Jean-Claude Gallotta is a great artist, a great choreographer, a great dancer, there was no question for him to leave us there, a little sad but a little happy anyway.
No – he came to tell us that we had to dream for the day.
He came to take us by the hand, he and his dancers, and to lead us to the exit of the tunnel, at the moment when the day finally rises.
So the music became more rhythmic – the dance more muscular – the connections faster, stronger, I was passionate.
But like everyone else, I had resigned myself to the terrifying masks the dancers wore.
How can I tell you the joy, the amazement and the immense relief to see, just like that, without warning, the greatest of the dancers remove that mask and show his face?
It was a moment of pure magic – of pure spirituality. How can we know each other without exchanging our faces?
There is so much of our humanity written on our faces.
Following him, all the other dancers unmasked themselves, and we discovered the young girls, the young men, the slightly older dancers, we saw their smiles – but what a moment! unforgettable. They went straight to the heart of a whole room, with this one gesture: remove the mask.
Then Gallotta entered the stage, all alone – he danced and he succeeded in making us laugh – because this man knows how to make people laugh while dancing.
The scenes followed one another, we moved with them in human relationships when they are danced, in hopes, loves, disputes, fears, friendship, misunderstanding, loneliness and the group and Gallotta sometimes came back on stage to give us his joy.
When the show ended, at 8:30 p.m. so we could go home – the police in France make sure we are respectful of that – instead of leaving, the audience stood up and applauded, applauded, applauded, to the point of breaking their hands. Everyone shouted: Thank you, thank you, thank you!
No one could leave – we wanted to tell them how wonderful it was to be an artist as they are, how they gave us joy, happiness, hope.
I came out – too late – like everyone else – thinking that I was ten years younger, it was like a huge weight had just been lifted.
Especially since Jean-Claude Gallotta’s company, if you ever feel like digging into Altair’s archives, is one of the first to have supported the idea of this rather strange theatre.
They are not afraid of the virtual, on the contrary, and even less now than before.
They know it – it is another way and certainly not a way to replace real life. It’s a way to make people want real life.
Featured Image : from Day Dreamers / Le Jour se rêve – Cie J-C Gallotta.