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Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse / Rachid OuramdaneCorps extrêmes


Three cast members balancing on a white climbing wall and a tightrope

About Corps extrêmes

On crossroads between a documentary and a dream world, Corps extrêmes (Extreme Bodies) unfolds boundless practices – sportive or artistic – in a sophisticated hybrid stage setting, highlighting the utter sensitivity depicted by those involved.

Originally Corps extrêmes manifests the desire, expressed by Rachid Ouramdane, to be “really focused on the fascination triggered by the wish to take-off, to drift, a state of weightlessness, a suspension…” Two emblematic accomplices who dedicate themselves to the practice of extreme sports – a highliner and a climber – are on stage, far from their habitual playgrounds, with eight acrobats.

Gifted for lightness, often circling, this extraordinary community of freedom lovers – of which the members incarnate in different ways the Icarus dream in today’s world – evolve between the sky and the earth; an impressive climbing wall at the back of the stage as a main press hold. A long rope crosses high above, the stage sometimes transforms into a huge screen, on which images are projected of magnificent natural landscapes – great vertigo – with the athletes in action.

The voice-overs of these exceptional athletes also play a part; all of them providing personal accounts of their practice. Sometimes airy, then stirring, the musical score of Jean-Baptiste Julien increases the reliefs of this gathering, with several subtly suggested strata.

Rather than giving in to the facile attraction of virtuosity, the piece endeavours to give rise to an existential – even metaphysical – dimension, flirting with the void. Simultaneously anchored in reality as well as heading for a dream world, both intimate and bigger than life, the performance sheds an artistic lighting on a far from the ordinary human experience.

About Rachid Ouramdane

At the age of twelve, Rachid Ouramdane discovered dance through hip-hop. He also took intensive courses in classical and modern dance. In the early 1990s, he dropped out of his studies in biology to devote himself fulltime to dance and joined the Centre national de danse contemporaine in Angers. As a performer and choreographer, he has worked with Meg Stuart, Odile Duboc, Hervé Robbe, Alain Buffard, Christian Rizzo, Julie Nioche and Emmanuelle Huynh. Rachid Ouramdane’s creations are often marked by the seal of testimony and intimate experience (refugee children, victims of torture or natural disasters, amateur athletes, etc.) from which he weaves a structured choreography. Rachid Ouramdane collaborates with circus artists (Compagnie XY), authors (Pascal Rambert, Sonia Chiambretto), visual artists (Nicolas Floch’ and Mehdi Meddaci), and musicians (Jean-Baptiste Julien and Alexandre Meyer) for his own creations as well as for commissioned works and workshops. With an ambitious project based on diversity and hospitality, he has been director of Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse in Paris since April 2021.

Artistic Team & Credits 

Conception Rachid Ouramdane
Music Jean-Baptiste Julien
Video Jean-Camille Goimard
Lighting / Technical Manager Stéphane Graillot
Costumes Camille Panin
Stage Manager Sylvain Giraudeau
Sound and Monitor Engineer Laurent Lechenault
Choreography Assistant Mayalen Otondo
Translation Camille Assaf
Tour Manager Juliette Bones

With Hamza Benlabied, Airelle Caen, Yamil Falvella, Löric Fouchereau, Peter Freeman, Nathan Paulin, Ann Raber Cocheril, Belar San Vicente, Maxime Seghers, Seppe Van Looveren

Production Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse
With the support of Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels
Coproduction CCN2 – Centre chorégraphique national de Grenoble / Bonlieu Scène nationale Annecy / Théâtre de la Ville – Paris / Festival Montpellier Danse 2021 / L’Estive – Scène nationale de Foix et de l’Ariège / Le Bateau Feu – Scène nationale de Dunkerque / Le Carreau – Scène nationale de Forbach / MC2: Grenoble / Théâtre Molière – Sète, Scène nationale Archipel de Thau / Le Théâtre Scène nationale de Saint-Nazaire

Thanks to Patricia Minder, Xavier Mermod, Guillaume Broust, Romain Cocheril
With the technical support of Espace Vertical and Music Plus Grenoble
With the support of MC93 – Maison de la Culture de Seine-Saint-Denis

A giant white rock climbing wall. In the background are two groups of three. Two bases and one flyer mid-air. In the foreground, two dancers are on their feet, holding hands as they move
Corps extrêmes © Pascale Cholette