Centre Choregraphique National de Grenoble-Jean-Claude Gallotta
Group Emile Dubois
Photo: Karli Cadel
Jean Claude Gallotta’s *Des Gens Qui Dansent* (people who dance) plays out
like a French romantic comedy, ripe with charm, intriguing characters and an
intangible breeziness that goes down like a fine champagne. Gallotta’s
troupe, cryptically called Groupe Emile Dubois (there is no Emile Dubois)
consists of authentic people who dance of all shapes, sizes, ages and
technical ability and therein lies its subtle power. How we love to watch
civilians dance, it reminds us that dance is the domain of the world, which
includes us. And how fitting to see this troupe at Jacob’s Pillow Dance
Festival, a place that honors and supports all forms of dance.
Gallotta harks from a background in painting, theater and film, and it
shows that his interests go beyond dance. *Des Gens Qui Dansent* is
structured with duets, solos, and trios that come and go as they might in
real life. Gallotta himself stumbles about on stage, whispering funny things
into a microphone. He inhabits a persona that falls somewhere between
something rapper and ringmaster. At times he looks lost, or in the wrong
dance. He is both of the group and not, much the way of choreographer
functions in a company setting.
The space, open and un-contained, works as a territory for social
interactions to take place, some tender, some gently combative, others
funny. Each dancer is stunningly unique, making them divinely watchable.
When they partner each other, they come from a place of deep knowing,
allowing the dance to become a communal event with the audience as voyeurs.
There’s such a rare beauty in witnessing this level of honesty. Strigall’s
pulsing electronic score adds a theatrical veneer and at times a pop lift.
A film snippet of Henry Miller on his deathbed talking about his life made
for poignant punctuation to the dancing. His words, “I am alive to the end,”
seemed to sum up the ballet’s lingering perfume.