AVANT TRAVAUX : Boris Charmatz I terrain La Ronde – night of danced duets Tempête – choreographic happening

Saturday 16 January 2021 - full day
La Ronde - danced duets from dawn to dusk
Sunday 17 January 2021 - afternoon
Tempête - choreographic happening
(times to come)

free admission - Grand Palais Nave

After a hectic 120 years, the Grand Palais requires significant restoration. Over a century after it was
created, today it is embarking on a new, dynamic phase in its history. From early January 2021, it will be closing temporarily so that major restoration work can be undertaken.
I wanted to invite an artist to create something to mark this new stage in the life of the Grand Palais. A kind of rite of passage, where the nave, newly stripped down, will be given over to the public before it closes temporarily.
An artistic event that looks to the future and to a Grand Palais that is even more open to all, more accessible, anchored in the movements and considerations faced by our society, and which offers the visitor an opportunity to be a stakeholder and citizen of their time.
After ten years at the helm of his Musée de la Danse, born out of the amalgamation of museum, exhibition and conservation venue, dance, the art of movement and the hub of production that is the Centre Chorégraphique National de Rennes, Boris Charmatz has enthusiastically accepted this invitation through his burning desire to create “ephemeral dancing communities”, always created in relation to the architecture of a place and the history that has shaped it.
The exceptional dimensions of the Nave at the Grand Palais present a new challenge to an artist who has already tackled the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London, the spaces at the MoMA in New York, the Charles-de-Gaulle esplanade in Rennes and the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin. The Nave will now host a new project to reflect, practice and expand the horizons of art with the public.
And then come the major works!
Chris Dercon
The Grand Palais is a cathedral to the French republic. Even devoid of all its activities this spring, the empty place continued to speak. Its long history continued to ring out. To me, it feels like a giant showcase for our deepest desires.
As we could not go suddenly from lockdown to welcoming the crowds, I created a round dance, La Ronde.
Arthur Schnitzler wrote the extraordinary La Ronde, about couples bound to one another, at the same time that the Grand Palais was being built. In 1900 the venue opened and Schnitzler self-published his work, which caused a scandal due to its sexual themes – or perhaps, because the author was Jewish.
It shifted the focus from the figure of the couple to an endless exploration of the chain that moves bodies, pierces them. Schnitzler talks candidly about love and sex between figures of society (actresses, soldiers, prostitutes, counts, etc.). He invents a protocol of desire that is permeable, passed on and transmitted to the other, sometimes under tension, and without harmony.
The dramaturgy of the book forms a dance in itself, where the couples never fully come back together, instead constantly encountering others.
The Grand Palais is an unmeasurable space for which it is difficult to imagine any half-measures. We can either unleash a tempest attended by 6,000 people or see it as a case into which we delicately place a prosaic jewel: an infinite chain of dancing, singing, talking twosomes.
Bodies move, collide, embrace, leave one another yet stay, bound together in the mental space, taking root to maintain a continuity of desire and the living.
I imagine a series of set couples, a landscape of dancing, talking, singing duets, with extraordinary artists, who hang on to time to maintain this home for several hours.
Iconic pieces from History (from Don Quixote to Dirty Dancing via Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker), duets invented for the occasion, excerpts from Schnitzler, artists who open up the senses and entice visitors. An event whose duration will be embraced by all, performers and audience alike, in a long and gentle choreographic blaze of shared emotion.
Then, with the new day, the public will be invited to join a collective of bodies in a storm of - isolated - gestures. An XXL warm-up. A gigantic workshop for everyone. A fleeting performance, before the closing for work. All the same. An explosion of love for the closing of the Grand Palais.
Boris Charmatz


A dancer, choreographer and the artistic director of [terrain], Boris Charmatz subjects dance to formal constraints that redefine the field of its possibilities. The stage is a notepad where he sketches out organic concepts and condensed ideas in order to observe the chemical reactions, intensities and tensions born out of their encounter.
From 2009 to 2018 he directed the Musée de la danse, Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne. From À bras-le-corps (1993) to infini (2019), he is behind a series of pieces that have made history, in parallel to his work as a performer and improviser (with such names as Médéric Collignon, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Tino Sehgal). In 2011 he was an associate artist of the Avignon Theatre Festival. In 2013, for the MoMA, he created Musée de la danse: Three Collective Gestures. In 2015, he created the project If Tate Modern was Musée de la danse? for the Tate Modern. That same year, he opened the dance season at the Opéra National de Paris and presented the project 20 Dancers for the XX Century at the Palais Garnier with dancers from the Ballet.
In 2020, his work was the subject of a portrait at the Paris Autumn Festival.


All precautionary and safety measures are taken to ensure the protection of visitors, artists and staff:
- obligatory online ticket reservation
- Wearing a mask is compulsory for the public from the age of 11.
- gauge adapted to social distancing measures


design Boris Charmatz
choreographic assistant Magali Caillet-Gajan
lights Yves Godin
sound Olivier Renouf
technical director Erik Houllier
general management Fabrice Le Fur, assisted by François Aubry
sound engineer Perig Menez
project manager Elodie Vitrano
managing director Hélène Joly
Production Manager Martina Hochmuth
production managers Florentine Busson, Briac Geffrault
press officer Arnaud Pain, Opus 64

La Ronde
production Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais and terrain
co-production le phénix scène nationale pôle européen de création and NEXT Festival; Compagnie de l’Oiseau Mouche
action financed by the Île-de-France Region
in collaboration with the Festival d’Automne in Paris

Happening Tempest
production Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais and terrain
co-production Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris; Compagnie de l’Oiseau-Mouche; École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, atelier danse performance / Emmanuelle Huynh; Charleroi danse, centre chorégraphique de Wallonie-Bruxelles
in collaboration with the Festival d’Automne in Paris

terrain is supported by the Ministry of Culture - Directorate General for Artistic Creation, and the Hauts-de-France Region.
Within the framework of its establishment in Hauts-de-France, terrain is associated with the Lille Opera, the Phénix, the national stage of Valenciennes - European centre of creation, and the Maison de la Culture d’Amiens - European centre of creation and production. Boris Charmatz is also an artist accompanied by Charleroi danse (Belgium) for three years, from 2018 to 2021.
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