ARTIST STATEMENT

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As a French dancer, I evolved in a dance world filled with artists from different socio-economic backgrounds, religious affiliations, languages, and cultures. As a French choreographer in the United States, I am deeply interested in understanding the correlation between communities. I am constantly searching for the foundation of a culture and what composes that culture. As a choreographer, I thrive to find common points between different communities, put them together, and produce a performance that can reach beyond communities. My show Khatchkar, created for the 100th year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, is an example of cultures being combined. For several years, I studied the Armenian culture to fully understand how the genocide impacted their life and their culture. In this work, I did not try to replicate or borrow a culture. I created an experience that will connect non-Armenians and Armenians in France and Belgium. I furthered my Armenian research in the United States when I created my solo Eternelle.

Bringing cultures together in my work is not detached from my involvement in inclusive dances. I am more and more looking at how we can integrate dancers and non-dancers as well as dancers with disabilities into the performance world. To do so, a lot of dance techniques and creative process need to be adapted, transformed, and recreated. I am currently working on my new project Brûlant au Dedans which looks at the pain we all try to contain and hide. The layers of clothes that give us strength but hide the physical and the emotional pain as well as the mask we put on our face to hide our real expressions and our real emotions. Nature’s choice that we have not chosen but we try to forget and try to hide. The emotion hidden in the most profound place of our body that only we know exist. Brûlant au-Dedans is using the body as a receiver and a transmitter of the pain. The physical pain is created throughout intensive violent and repetitive movements in the dance. Using repetition as a representation of the pain we are inflicting to ourselves that is physical or mental. During my classes with Straight Up Abilities, I have worked with students with mental disorder. Some reactions coming from my students are self-harm and repetitive movements of violence. I witnessed how the body can be transformed in a second: energy pushed out of the body, movements getting faster, breath getting heavier, and the sound of the voice changing. Being able to recognize those body responses helped me as a dance instructor for Straight Up Abilities and the Inclusive Dance Program to better understand my students and propose new playful and interactive activities in class, as well as being sure that my students and their guardians are working in a safe space. I am looking to integrate those body responses into my movement writing.

To support my research on inclusivity and communities as a choreographer, I am engaging a strong relationship between live performance and images, in the form of video projections, applications, and digital devices. The use of this technology is making the link between the connected generation, who is used to watching art on web platforms, and the more traditional one, who is used to the environment of venues. As an MFA student at UCLA, I wrote my master thesis, Technology in dance: An Interesting Tool for Creating, on the use of technology in choreographic processes. In this research, I looked at the impact that technology has on the choreographer’s work and the audience. I have studied the choreographies of the French company AMCB that use video projections and augmented reality. Technology allows creators to propose different layers in a performance. In my most recent work The Twelve Brothers, the two surfaces of projections I used transformed the perception of a traditional proscenium and created a new dimension to the performing space.