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Suspension of Conflicts

July 8, 2015

Acclaimed French choreographer Boris Charmatz will travel to Philadelphia next year for a Drexel residency and public workshop series, thanks to the generous support of a $234,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. During the Fringe Festival in September 2016, Charmatz will present a performance of his renowned work Levée des conflits (Suspension of Conflicts), which is currently touring internationally. The intricate work unfolds Charmatz’s distinctive movement philosophy and engages 24 dancers in a hypnotic kaleidoscope of repeated and recovered gestures. It was built through workshops with Charmatz and his dancers in a cumulative, participatory framework that allows for exponentially expanding numbers of participants, from professional dancers to citizen participants. In addition to the performance, the workshop series will engage both the Philadelphia dance community and the general public with Charmatz’s unique process.

In Levée des conflits, each dancer develops a movement that is then transmitted to the others; as the piece accumulates in space and builds person by person, it creates a pulsing, interlocked collective of appropriated gestures that drift among dancers and cast a hologram of perspectives. The work affords intimate access to Charmatz’s choreographic process and resulting performance practice. “In Levée des conflits Drexel intends to create a window into the way dance ideas are circulated throughout the community,” said Dr. Miriam Giguere, director of the Drexel Dance Program, who will oversee the project.

During the September 2016 residency there will be opportunities for the general public to interact with Charmatz’s ideas through discussion and movement experiences. “The workshops represent a number of different ways in which Philadelphia dance constituencies, including professional and non-professional dancers, in a wide variety of genres including physical theater and community dance practitioners, can interact with Charmatz and his ideas,” Dr. Giguere said.

In May, Charmatz transformed London’s Tate Modern into a Musée de la danse, with a company of 100 dancers using the cavernous space of Tate’s Turbine Hall as a venue for classes, workshops and performances, with specially adapted versions of dance works by Charmatz and other choreographers scattered throughout the Tate’s galleries. In 2008 Charmatz was appointed the director for the National Choreographic Center of Rennes and Bretagne, and his works have been performed around the world including at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Charmatz’s residency will be co-directed by Manfred Fischbeck, founder/director of Group Motion Multimedia Dance Theater, and co-presented with FringeArts. Lois Welk, former executive director of Dance USA/Philadelphia, will serve as the project’s manager for community engagement. Independent curator and educator Simon Dove will serve as project evaluator, employing his expertise in curating complex professional and community dance events. Dove’s overview and evaluation will prepare the groundwork for a possible future presentation of Charmatz’s grander vision for a Musée de la Danse in Philadelphia.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center fulfills this mission by investing in ambitious, imaginative arts and heritage projects that showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life, and by engaging in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural leaders. For more information, visit