The Studio

The Studio

An artistic “blind date.” This was choreographer Hélène Langevin’s dream in opening dance to the influence of the plastic arts in her new show, The Studio. How could a dialogue be established between these two forms of expression? How could they be engaged, in their differences as well as their natural affinities?

Sensitive to the lines, rhythm and space in painting and sculpture, the choreographer plunged into the art of the 20th century, its major themes, and the leading artists of the time. She was attracted to the work of Jean Dubuffet, Sonia Delaunay, Jackson Pollock and René Magritte, as well as Expressionism and Pop Art, and they served as a point of departure for the choreography and sets created for the performance.

Onstage is an artist’s studio. This space for invention and creativity is full of surprises. It is a place where ideas burst forth, blending together and taking off in all directions. The four dancers – Audrey Bergeron, Nicolas Labelle, Jean-François Légaré and Jessica Serli – treat the studio as a magical treasure chest, playing with everything they find: fabric, frames, paintings and props and accessories of all sorts. Inventive and curious, they alter, reshape and transform the objects at hand in a game where there is only one rule – to have fun! Paintings spring to life before our eyes, turning into enchanting dance and movement in an ebb and flow that is driven by the whims and imagination of the performers, who joyously plunge into a universe of their own making.

The creative momentum of the four dancers/artists produces striking choreography and tableaux full of dynamic motion. Some of these are filmed, and immediately processed and transformed by means of image capture software, and then projected as a live onstage broadcast. The video offers a different view of what is happening onstage, showing, for example, the line created by a body in movement. Video is thus an integral part of the performance, which becomes a vibrant mingling of dance, painting and the visual arts.

A veritable ode to the creative spirit that lies in each of us, The Studio explores colours, line and movement, transporting young audiences into an enchanting world that stimulates their senses, inherent performing ability and curiosity.

REVIEWS

“Magnificent! Very funny and intelligent (…)”
Anne-Josée Cameron, Retour sur le monde, Radio-Canada

“We used to take children to see dance performances or art exhibitions, musical concerts or sculpture exhibits. Now there’s really something to take them to see–The Studio by Hélène Langevin and the company Bouge de là. An hour of entertainment, playful and spirited and very instructive, it integrates all these art forms, and in real time, if you please. A fantastic gift for young children, and also for parents and teachers. ( …) the movement varies as it reproduces and essentially prolongs the energy of the bodies and the graphics that initially had seemed rigidly glued to the canvases. Once liberated, they merge with the dancers. And thanks to video, this piece (impressive as is for its intelligent inventiveness) then also becomes sensitive and playful. (…) A picture is worth a thousand words but here, combined with simple but effective dance, images do much more than hours of didactic teaching can, with pleasure and lightness along as guides. Yet another success for Bouge de là.”
Aline Apostolska, La Presse, Montreal

“Choreographer Helene Langevin knows a lot about hits and little about misses. Her company Bouge de là has been performing contemporary dances for young audiences since 2000 and her track record zings. (…) It was mostly 6-year-olds in the Agora audience Wednesday morningand their rapt reaction spoke volumes. (…) The Studio is a layered, visually captivating tribute to the creation process, forging common ground between body and art, and paced to perfection for young attention spans. (…)This step-by-step process linking dance and visual arts is just the latest in a series of brainy and inventive cultural-outreach initiatives designed by Langevin. She’s been educating and fascinating youngsters for years. No time for boredom when Langevin is around.”
Kathryn Greenaway, The Gazette, Montreal

“Choreographer Helene Langevin knows a lot about hits and little about misses. Her company Bouge de là has been performing contemporary dances for young audiences since 2000 and her track record zings. (…) It was mostly 6-year-olds in the Agora audience Wednesday morningand their rapt reaction spoke volumes. (…) The Studio is a layered, visually captivating tribute to the creation process, forging common ground between body and art, and paced to perfection for young attention spans. (…)This step-by-step process linking dance and visual arts is just the latest in a series of brainy and inventive cultural-outreach initiatives designed by Langevin. She’s been educating and fascinating youngsters for years. No time for boredom when Langevin is around.”
Jon Kaplan, now.toronto.com, Toronto

“I had a great time. Be sure to see The Studio! (…) It’s beautiful! (,,,) If you’re not familiar with Magritte or Andy Warhol’s pop art, not to worry. Everything that is presented here is very playful and interspersed with the notions underlying the visual arts, specifically here the notion of movement – of dance of course, but also movement in painting, the ideas of symmetry, perspective, depth, form and colour. A true initiation to the arts and all their beauty. (…) A real celebration! (…) Both adults and children should see this piece!”
Katerine Verebely, Première heure, Première chaîne de Radio-Canada, Quebec City

“I was filled with wonder at the artistic approach and the new choreography by Hélène Langevin. (…) I recommend this show to everyone who loves contemporary dance and painting. (…) It is the most colourful of all the Bouge de là presentations. (…) The movement is very elaborate and sophisticated, and most likely very demanding for the dancers. (…) It’s magic. It’s beautiful!”
Francine Grimaldi, Samedi et rien d’autre, Première chaîne de Radio-Canada, Montreal

“There is a very passionate openness in this show. (…) A performance that is really out there (…) It has the extravagant folly of “Sol et Gobelet” and establishes remarkable connections between works of art and dance. (…) The use of technology is very fluid (…) a very effective presentation. The children loved it, and I had great fun watching it. Special praise for the extraordinary soundtrack by Bernard Falaise.”
Six dans la cité, Télévision de Radio-Canada

“Magnificent! Very funny and intelligent (…) Extremely interesting. A show that works on several different levels. (…) I really enjoyed it (…) Fun and laughter guaranteed, in addition to making culture accessible. A lot of incredible work went into this tremendous show.”
Anne-Josée Cameron, Retour sur le monde, Première chaîne Radio-Canada, Quebec City

The Studio is a very surprising show, fascinating for both children and their parents.(…) by combining visual arts and dance, the performance flirts more than once with the subtle, the incredible and indeed the disturbing.”
Antoine Dion-Ortega, Le Guide de Montreal-Nord

“The show has been enormously successful and I can see why. The four dancers create spectacular movement and tableaux vivants that combine dance and projected imagery. ( …) All the arts merge together in this work, and Hélène Langevin has managed to integrate all the elements perfectly. The children in the audience are extremely interested and respond enthusiastically. (…) It’s a great way to break from the usual pedagogical approach so that they learn about all sorts of things and become interested in art.”
Annie-Soleil Proteau, C’est bien meilleur le matin, Première chaîne de Radio-Canada, Montreal

196 performances of The Studio were held from 2010 to 2014.

Performers

AUDREY BERGERON
NICOLAS LABELLE
JEAN-FRANÇOIS LÉGARÉ
JESSICA SERLI

CREDITS

Direction and choreographic creation
HÉLÈNE LANGEVIN
with the help of the performers

Rehearsal mistress and assistance with the choreographer
SOPHIE MICHAUD

Dramaturgy
MÉLANIE DUMONT

Designers
BERNARD FALAISE (Music)
VÉRONIQUE BERTRAND (Set design and costumes)
LUCIE BAZZO (Lighting)
PIERRE-MARC BEAUDOIN (Video)