Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Everybody Dance! Trends on Your Feet, London -- Choreographer Boris Charmatz's Tate Modern Takeover Kicks off Our Dance Special. No Wallflowers Allowed, Says Lyndsey Winship

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Everybody Dance! Trends on Your Feet, London -- Choreographer Boris Charmatz's Tate Modern Takeover Kicks off Our Dance Special. No Wallflowers Allowed, Says Lyndsey Winship

Article excerpt

Byline: says Lyndsey Winship

THE normal mood in an art gallery is one of hushed concentration and slow-paced silence, but next weekend French choreographer Boris Charmatz plans to change all that, turning Tate Modern into a place full of energy, movement, sweat and dance. Under Charmatz's direction, it won't be paintings and sculptures you'll be looking at, but bodies krumping, clog dancing and moonwalking. And if Charmatz gets his way, you won't just be watching, you'll be dancing too.

It's part of a London season that sees Charmatz straddling two major London arts venues, Tate Modern and Sadler's Wells. You might not have heard of Charmatz but he's at the forefront of new thinking about what dance can be, and has as many fans in the visual art world as in dance. Charmatz was last here in January 2014 with his provocative Enfant -- which featured dancers dangling from a giant crane on stage, and a cast of untrained children -- but this commission is a huge step up in terms of profile.

When we meet in a book-lined back room at the Bankside gallery, the buoyant and loquacious Frenchman is masterminding his takeover. "We are really trying to invade Tate Modern," he says, with a certain delight. "But of course we do it only with our bodies, we don't smash the paintings."

Charmatz is a man full of questions and not answers, whose train of thought takes regular detours and never quite pulls in at a station. An insatiably curious artist, he trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School but left classical ballet behind to perform and create more experimental work.

In 2009, aged 36, he took over the National Choreographic Centre in Rennes, Brittany, and immediately changed its name to the Musee de la Danse, underlining his big artistic question, and the one he's bringing to Continued on Page 32 Continued from Page 31 Tate: "What is a 'dancing museum'? What might happen there? If we merge the cultures of the theatre and the gallery, could something new be created?" When he first posed the question people thought it was a joke. "Everybody thought it was stupid, because dance would die in a museum," he says. "But now museums are evolving from object-oriented collections to experiences."

It's true, dance has featured in multiple gallery spaces in the capital in recent years -- we've had Tricia Brown at the Barbican, Siobhan Davies at the ICA and Move, a major exhibition at the Hayward gallery, as well as performances by Merce Cunningham and Michael Clark at Tate Modern. It seems Charmatz's idea was prescient.

In Tate Modern's gallery spaces he'll be presenting two pieces, including 20 Dancers for the 20th Century, where an eclectic cast demonstrate steps from 100 years' worth of dance. "From Charlie Chaplin to Michael Jackson to [Sixties cult choreographer] Yvonne Rainer," says Charmatz, who likens the peformance to a living archive. …

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