Wandering, strolling
Appropriate regimes of perception

A cross between an exhibition, an installation and a scenic representation, A travers les aulnes proposes an immersive choreographic wandering. This choice is part of an extension of the requirements already implemented in Louise Vanneste’s recent creations. It circumvents frontal delivery, immerses the audience in a greater intimacy with the choreographic object without invalidating their pleasure of contemplation, and allows them the possibility of inventing their own relationship with time and space by the simultaneous coexistence of various autonomous entities.

The choreographic object breaks with a frontal delivery grasped at a distance solely by the organ of sight: all sensorial means of apprehension are involved here. It becomes the environment and incorporates the organisation of its modules, its atmosphere and the movement of the audience in its logic. The choreography is at one with the person seeing it. Like a visual work, the dancer can simply be in the presence of the person watching.

The challenges in its dramaturgy and writing thus rest on the arrangement and collection of heterogeneous elements that existed before the overall mechanism.

Choreographic moments, isolated and together

Given its immersive nature, A travers les aulnes offers choreographic “moments” governed by distinct space-times. The gaps opened up between each of these physical spaces and temporalities are just as important.

A deliberately interrupted, disruptive form will be composed here, with the voids having the same value as the solids, the gaps being thought of in the same way as the entities themselves. These independent modules respond to one another dynamically within the islands they arrange.

The principles of symmetry, repetition and dissimilar resemblance already featuring in Louise Vanneste’s works also echo the links between Robinson and Friday in Michel Tournier’s novel Friday and Robinson, the main source of inspiration for A travers les aulnes. The geography of these relationships will serve as tools for putting it together and its overall mechanism.

Erase the notion of the medium in favour of the choreography

The danced body is not an omnipresent element. Video, lighting and sound pick up the baton, come together and then become autonomous again to write. They are bodies in the space as much as they set different challenges in the perception of time and movement, and call on other bodies. The choreographic issues go beyond the body on stage. Its representation in a cinematographic setting through the intermediary of the screen, its discrete presence, indeed its absence, increase choreographic perspectives.

What makes choreography?
How is the choreography interpreted?
What type of writing presupposes this particular context?
And how can continuity and readability be introduced in a fragmented context?


The novel Friday and Robinson by the author Michel Tournier provides the starting point for A travers les aulnes and generates the choreographic environment. Tournier tells the story of the myth of Robinson Crusoe from being shipwrecked on a desert island until he meets Friday. He pays particular attention to Robinson’s physical experience as he faces solitude, land as an elemental matter, animals, the heat of the sun and, with Friday, the other person’s body as a tool or a mirror of the self suddenly appearing after 28 years of isolation.

Through this novel described as a philosophical adventure, Robinson could be the archetype of western man today: he demonstrates his attachment to civilisation to survive psychologically on the desert island of Speranza. As for Friday, he symbolises more what Robinson does not have: he is going to enable him to break with the influence of civilisation and go out and discover the island.

The island is involved as an isolated space, like land that Robinson has to appropriate, both as a condition of solitude and as a companion. The landscape remains a relatively immobile image, totally devoid of human beings.

Excerpts from the novel that describe the bodies of the characters of Robinson and Friday in action become sources of choreographic writing. Louise Vanneste’s writing process often involves starting with real situations to initiate movements and sequences of movements, certain qualities and certain states of presence. For example it can be about training to box, the fact of measuring a space or an astronaut leaving the spacecraft to repair a space station (Thérians, 2017, Rencontres choreographic internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis). The body is at the service of the physical necessities and evolution of the imagined situation. It generates a choreographic vocabulary, a dynamism and phrasing belonging to this imaginary world. It is neither mime nor theatre without words; rather it is an operation of translation and transposition performed by the dancer. The real situation is a source of inspiration that projects the body in a precise spatiotemporal state and context in which the dancers move around. There is an instant connection between the mental activity (here the recollection of a situation in a book) and the spatiotemporal production of the moving body.


With Tournier’s novel as its basis, wandering as a condition of experiencing it and the use of different mediums, here the act of choreographing reverts more to opening up a new route into the territory of the imagination. It is an invitation to the spectator to wander through a fantasised choreographic map, neither totally abstract nor completely real, presenting a set of independent elements that juxtapose, fall away or influence one another.

Concept, choreography and staging Louise Vanneste

Video Stéphane Broc
Music Cédric Dambrain
Scenography – light designer Arnaud Gerniers, Benjamin van Thiel
Outside view Anja Röttgerkamp and Eveline Van Bauwel
Artistic Collaboration Emmanuelle Nizou
Voix off Claude Schmitz

Performers Paula Almiron, Anton Dambrain, Amandine Laval, Elise Peroi, Gwendoline Robin, Gabriel Schenker


May 14, 15, 17 & 18, 2019
PREMIERE – Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels (Belgium)

A production Louise Vanneste / Rising Horses
In coproduction with Charleroi danse, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, le Théâtre de Liège, les Halles de Schaerbeek, Le Gymnase – CDCN Roubaix / Haut de France…
In parternship with La Bellone (BXL/BE).
Charleroi danse is committed to producing, presenting and supporting the works of Louise Vanneste for three years from 2017 to 2020.
Louise Vanneste / Rising Horses is supported by Théâtre de Liège (2018-2022).
Louise Vanneste is artist partner of Halles de Schaerbeek and supported by Grand studio.
With the support of the Communauté Française.