Xavier Le Roy
How do you describe a dance performance with no music, no costumes and no stage? How do you explain a work so original, that even those who commissioned it, refuse to describe it? Temporary Title 2015 by French choreographer Xavier Le Roy is such a work of art. Currently under development at Carriageworks in Sydney, the new piece by the French choreographer is set to have its global debut. For the present, the show is a work in progress. A clay like substance still being moulded, shaped and perfected by the 18 Australian performers rehearsing the work under Le Roy’s guidance.
To quote a provisional definition Le Roy has given of the choreography, his work initiates a series of ‘artificially staged actions and/or situations’. This means that Le Roy’s work occupies the precarious space between contemporary visual art and dance performance. The project’s aim is to highlight Le Roy’s importance in this movement. Originally commissioned by John Kaldor for Kaldor Art Projects, Temporary Title 2015 is now a co-present with Carriageworks, supported by visual arts partner BresicWhitney.
The project includes three open rehearsals of the work (offered free of charge to the public); three ticketed performances of Temporary Title 2015 and Self Unfinished 1998 performed twice by Xavier Le Roy himself.
The new work Temporary Title 2015, will be staged in an exhibition context with all natural lighting and a large performance space visitors can come in and out of. With an all nude cast incorporating a varied mix of body types, shapes and ages, the work dares visitors to leave their preconceptions of dance at the door. Curator Emma Pike says it ‘pushes on the constructs of exhibition context,’ by inviting visitors to enjoy a dialogue with performers.
According to John Kaldor, the work came about after Xavier Le Roy presented one of the most outstanding installations, as part of their multi-artist commission 13 Rooms presented by Kaldor Art Projects back in January 2013. Xavier Le Roy’s ‘room’ resonated so strongly with the public, that Kaldor decided to bring him back for a more extensive project “It was one of the best pieces there,” says Kaldor. “It was very mysterious and moving. It was certainly one of my favourites.”
Yet when pressed to describe the new work, Temporary Title 2015, or to suggest what audiences might expect, John Kaldor refuses to be drawn.
“It’s very hard to describe a great work of art, but I found it involved me emotionally and there was a mystery to it. Every time I saw it, it was a bit different. It sort of remained with me,” Kaldor says of Le Roy’s participation 13 Rooms.
Curator Emma Pike is in the same camp. “I think the audience may not realise what they are coming to see. We have a preconceived idea of what choreography is, and I think we have notions of what performance is, but when they get here I think they’ll be really pushed to understand what it is to be a performer and what it is to be a visitor.
“I am purposely not going to describe exactly what it is going to be like because I think it is really important that the visitor is not going to be influenced by my voice. It is critical that they come and experience it in their own way,” Pike says.
With this exciting project set to launch on Tuesday 17th audiences will get a rare glimpse into Le Roy’s choreographical genius. At the open rehearsal, media were given a mesmerising, meditative and primal excerpt of the work in progress. According to Kaldor, the public’s response and reaction to the work will be up for debate and discussion when they first come into contact with the final work. Asked if it would be too challenging or bizarre for audiences, Kaldor replied, “I think it is always a mistake to underestimate the audience.”