Deux vont a Paris!! Ooo lala!

Deux vont a Paris!! Ooo lala!

Angelin Preljocaj will audition approximately 240 dancers all aged over 65, professional, amateur and beginners before he selects the 7 people he wants for his project. A new work exploring the theme The Aging Body; he poses the question: ‘What is the age of the body? Does a body not travel in the cracks of time based on its perception, reality and imagination?’ The project will culminate in a week of performances at Theatre de Chaillot in Paris.

It was dark when we alighted the Eurostar at Gare du Nord but we were greeted by Diego’s lovely cheery cousin! As Victoria guided us through the busy Paris streets, she regaled us with tales of her time spent dancing with Pina Bausch; it seemed Diego had dance running through his familial veins! As we parted company at my apartment in the heart of the Marais we agreed to meet the following day for a coffee before the audition at the Theatre du Chatelet down on the Seine.

Waiting outside the back of the theatre it became apparent that over 80 people had been called to audition in the amateur category alone and a further 60 in the beginners and professional group. The odds were stacked high!!

Contemporary dance for over 60’s is a big thing in France and the atmosphere felt intensely competitive. A documentary was being made of the whole process which added to the drama! Claudia, one of Angelin Preljocaj’s assistants led us through warm up, repertoire and improvisation. Finally, groups of 5 or 6 repeated the repertoire and a section of improvisation. Angelin sat and watched flanked by Guillaume the artistic director and Claudia. After an occasional brief conflab Angelin pointed at those he wanted to see the next day. There were tears and sulks from some who were clearly excellent dancers but who had not been selected and total shock from others like Diego and myself who couldn’t really believe we had been called back! Needless to say, we were thrilled and spent the rest of the day walking on air!

The following day the 140 had been pared down to 40 which now included some beginners and professionals. The audition followed the same pattern as the day before and after 3 further selections both Diego and I were still in the final 20. I was there by the skin of my teeth as having not been chosen in the last line up Angelin suddenly called me back! The final task was a composed improvisation of one minute based on ‘The Game of Thrones’ and was filmed, presumably for later reference.

Exhilarated and exhausted I walked the busy route back to Gare du Nord with plenty of time for reflection on my journey home.

I am left with many questions. Why did Angelin select who he did? There was no doubt that he didn’t select the most accomplished dancers nor those with the best technique nor those who got things right nor those who were either slim, fat, tall, short, blonde, dark or bald, male, female or transgender! It is a secret that he kept to himself and we must now just wait to see!!

By Anna Mortimer