Jan Martens and virtuosity inconventionnelle

Jan Martens et la virtuosité inconventionnelle

Photo: Phile Deprez
“Ode to the Attempt” is a piece of performative evolves each evening, while Jan Martens gives new challenges on stage.

At 35 years old and already a strong directory to its active, Jan Martens is one of the choreographers of the succession in belgian. Heir of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Wim Vandekeybus and Jan Fabre, the young choreographer, measure the weight of its predecessors that have marked the history of the dance. “What is it possible to add more ?” asks the artist in a French accent to flemish. “The history of the dance is always important in each of my shows, because my goal is not to create my own language, physics, but to see what I can do with what already exists, and how to renew it. “

Close to the simple, direct and to the point, the language convened by Jan Martens comes off a virtuosity conventional and is attached to a certain minimalism. Thus, in The Dog Days Are Over (2014), the work to success which has revealed, it décortiquait the movement of the jump, pushing his performers to the point of exhaustion in order to question the subjugation of the dancers to the imperative of entertainment and voyeurism. Often carrying a sub-critical text, his most recent works seek to prepare the way towards more inclusion. Focusing on current issues, such as feminism and the diversity of genres in his latest creation, Passing the Bechdel Test, it puts in scene a group of teenagers aged 13 to 19 years.

Change the idea of beauty

“I like the idea that what I write could be run by people who are not trained in dance. By the repetition, and the relationship to the music, it gives rise to a different kind of virtuosity, ” explains the designer who often works with bodies that we see too rarely on stage in dance. This is the case for BIS, solo, where he draws the portrait of Truus Bronkhorst, dancer and choreographer of Dutch sixties. It is at the beginning of the 2000s, while a student in the netherlands, he discovered this artist whose minimalist aesthetic and raw breaks with the neoclassical style that predominated on the scenes in the netherlands and he is fond of little. Eight years later, when he was given carte blanche for a solo, he wanted to know what had happened to this designer who deeply touched his heart, and which he had not heard since.

Jan Martens et la virtuosité inconventionnelle

Photo: Anna Van Kooji
“I like the idea that what I write could be run by people who are not trained in dance,” explains the designer who often works with bodies that we see too rarely on stage in dance.

“The “Bis” in Dutch means “reminder”, when you come back to the stage for a last farewell. Truus had lost its financial backers to make room for another generation. She had a great desire to resume the scene. It is this fact to be put away and not to be respected, who came to register in the room. This is a woman who has a past, and it is very nice to feel all that lived on stage. “This solo dark, which he describes as a form of exorcism, evokes the treatment ruthless, reserved for women past a certain age in the world of the show and delves into the personal life of the interpreter.

In fact, the body hyperperformants of contemporary dance, interested less and less in Jan Martens : “It is my desire to change the idea of what is beautiful. For example, I created a solo for Joke Emmers, an actress who is corpulent, and here, too, we don’t see enough bodies like that on the contemporary stage “, he said, adding that he takes precaution to ensure that these beauties not conventionnellesne not become a theme in itself. “I think it’s important as an artist to work with people who are not fairly represented to the rest of society can follow. We talk often of the necessity of art, and the meaning of art for me is to find a way to represent society in its diversity. “

A set connected without a net

In parallel, the choreographer returns to the stage in a short duet for him and his personal computer. The place taken by the screens in our daily lives and the effects of the Internet and social networks on our behaviour and our relationship to the other are concerns that cross a wide body of his work : “in recent years, I traveled extensively with my work and I felt that the only thing that was always present with me, it was my computer. I realized his omnipresence. The idea I came then to make a self-portrait that would be at the same time the portrait of a generation. “Using a simple projection system, it explores the reason for the selfie, playing sliding between the vanity and the self-deprecating humor.

Ode to the Attempt is a piece of performative evolves each evening, so that it gives new challenges on stage. Through this unveiling radical, it displays with transparency, his creative process, readjusts itself to composite materials for other shows and shares his thoughts on the possibility of achieving a form of authenticity on stage : “I wanted to show the doubt of the work in the studio and the desires are very different who live in me, all the while hustling a bit to the viewer. It is a celebration of the attempt, as I find that the way to get somewhere is also interesting to see, ” he concludes.

BIS + Ode to the Attempt

Choreography Jan Martens with Truus Bronkhorst. At Usine C from 20 to 22 February.


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