Dance among the Water Lilies: Myriam Gourfink

Monday 30 September 2019, 7pm and 8.30 pm

Glissements, a piece for four performers and two musicians

Choreographed by Myriam Gourfink
Music composed by Kasper T. Toeplitz
Dance: Carole Garriga, Deborah Lary, Azusa Takeuchi, Véronique Weil

With the Festival d’Automne à Paris

With Glissements, created by Myriam Gourfink for the Water Lilies galleries, the sliding movements on the floor and in the air gradually build up into a continuous flow and invite the audience to see Monet’s last work as a true environment giving the illusion of constant expansion and an infinite whole.


Myriam Gourfink, Glissements © Marie Pétry

Immersed in both the Water Lilies galleries and the live music of Kasper T. Toeplitz, four female dancers slide, roll and undulate simultaneously in a continuous moment, slowly and detachedly. Searching for space and initiating motricity, they set up volumes, curved, broken lines, through a choreography that continuously unfurls and recomposes itself, on the verge of the incomprehensible and the imperceptible, but which, however, is shot through with vibrations, nuances and intensity. For Myriam Gourfink, the creative act begins at the moment when a point is set in motion. This movement is then developed in a controlled continuum and guided by the choreographer’s art of breathing and composing that is unique to her. By choosing the components of the movement, meaning the small unities which enable the different factors to be evaluated precisely – weight, time, space, flow – she sets out the choreographic script that defines the specific body language of each of her pieces. With Glissements, she has invented an open score and a sensorial space-time, which, by expanding perception and resonating with the Water Lilies, renders the dance visible, an infinity contained in the finite.

Extract from an interview with Myriam Gourfink - Festival d’automne à Paris press pack

Along with the music of the composer Kasper T. Toeplitz, your choreographies form a continuum that is now the hallmark of your work. What are you aiming for in this dance that seems to take place in the infra-mince or infra-thin, to use the term invented by Marcel Duchamp?

Myriam Gourfink. Having had an intensive training in the breathing techniques of yoga, I took the liberty of using them in a free movement, in a dance that is actually slowed down but which breathes in tune with the movement of life. It is revealed in an almost imperceptible way, and unfolds exceedingly slowly. With my storyteller grandmother I also learned to be in the moment, not to measure time, because, with her, the time it took to tell the story was the time she had available. If she had three or four hours on a Wednesday afternoon, my sisters and I would set off with her, with our snacks, across the fields, and we would come back home when the story was finished. So my mother never knew when we would arrive back home.
This idea of flow in immobility can be found in Tibetan yoga as well as in the work of Laban through his idea of what he calls "Effort". This is also why I like the units of sound in noise music so much and why the approach of the composer Kasper T. Toeplitz, who generates music in real time in a continuous moment, influences me so much. It is also amusing to see the group Vomir perform their concerts while completely immobile, in a very Dadaist way, calling their music a noise wall. This notion, which has intrigued me since the late 1990s, seems to me to be very important in today’s world in the sense that it brings detachment, distancing, which, in relation to today’s world, is ethically a key value. Contemplation is necessary. The senses are the tool for exploring the world, and so one has to refine them in the extreme to feel things, to produce difference, to experience detachment. Another vision of present forms and mindful experience flows from this. Experience of and in the environment is inseparable from values, values which bring together the "emotional and cognitive" in a clear unit. The treatment of the choreographic space demonstrates this internal movement as it is always about transition, passage and transformation, giving the illusion of constant expansion and an endless whole.

Interview by Isabelle Danto



A dancer and choreographer, born in 1968, she created the LOLDANSE association in 1998 with the aim of participating in the development of dance and contemporary music, by putting the breathing techniques of yoga and the addition of new technologies at the heart of her practice. Yoga breathing techniques form the basis of Myriam Gourfink’s approach. The idea is to seek out the inner need that leads to movement. Having studied Labanotation with Jacqueline Challet Haas, she based her research on this system in order to formalise her own language of composition. All choreographers invite performers to be conscious of their actions and of what they experience. Not only a leading figure in choreographic research in France, but also the guest of numerous international festivals (Spring Dance in New York City, the Künsten Arts Festival in Brussels, the Festival de la Bâtie in Geneva, the Danças Na Cidade Festival in Lisbon etc.), Myriam Gourfink was artist in residence at the IRCAM in 2004-2005 and at the Le Fresnoy- National Studio for Contemporary Arts in 2005-2006. From January 2008 to March 2013 she directed the Choreographic Research and Composition Programme (PRCC) at the Royaumont Foundation, and from 2012 to 2014 was artist in residence at the Forum de Blanc-Mesnil, and was supported by the General Council of Seine-Saint-Denis. In 2016, she undertook a residency for a season at Micadanses. Her latest work Glissement d’infini was created at the Centre Pompidou in 12 April 2019.