LES ÉCHOS / 3 décember 2013


“Cartel,” 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.

Philippe Noisette