Contemporary dance and extreme athletes inspire gravity-defying mid-air choreography on a towering climbing wall

Through aerial choreography performed by adventurous athletes and artists, choreographer Rachid Ouramdane reveals what these larger-than-life individuals attempt to reach as they seek to escape gravity.

Corps extrêmes brings to life the desire to “dance” in the air using a climbing wall and tightrope. Dancers perform acrobatic feats that convey a sense of flight and a state of weightlessness and suspension, exploring a unique relationship with verticality. The choreography adds to the aspirations of extreme sports enthusiasts including mountain climbers and highliners, in their quest to defy gravity, and risking life and limb every day to probe existential questions and give meaning to their lives in a society where they feel like eternal outsiders.

From time immemorial, experiencing the act of taking flight has had a fantastical power, the air on the skin, the altitude without gravity. Halfway between a child’s dream and the utopia of escaping one’s condition of a human being stuck to the ground, each person confronted with taking flight speaks of a disquieting feeling which sometimes leads to thinking differently about what surrounds us. In Corps extrêmes, Ouramdane focuses on the fascination which is brought on by the notions of taking flight, of being weightless, of gliding…those moments when one leaves the earth such as several extreme sports allow as well as some artistic practices.

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Rachid Ouramdane (Conception/Choreographer)

Rachid Ouramdane is a French choreographer. With an ambitious project based on diversity and hospitality, he has been director of Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse in Paris since April 2021. At the age of twelve, Rachid Ouramdane discovered dance through hip-hop. He also took intensive courses in classical and modern dance. In the early 1990s, he dropped out of his studies in biology to devote himself full time to dance, joined the Centre national de danse contemporaine in Angers. As a performer and choreographer, he has worked with Meg Stuart, Odile Duboc, Hervé Robbe, Alain Buffard, Christian Rizzo, Julie Nioche and Emmanuelle Huynh. Rachid Ouramdane’s creations are often marked by the seal of testimony and intimate experience (refugee children, victims of torture or natural disasters, amateur athletes, etc.) from which he weaves a structured choreography. Rachid Ouramdane collaborates with circus artists (Compagnie XY), authors (Pascal Rambert, Sonia Chiambretto), visual artists (Nicolas Floch’ and Mehdi Meddaci), and musicians (Jean-Baptiste Julien and Alexandre Meyer) for his own creations as well as for commissioned works and workshops.

Jean-Camille Goimard (Video Filmmaker/Choreographer)

Born in 1987, Jean-Camille entered the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse in Lyon in 2006. Specialising in contemporary dance, he tackled the repertory of Odile Duboc, Michel Kelemenis, Pina Bausch, and performed in several productions of the choreographers Julien Monty, Yan Raballand and Nina Dipla. At the CNSMDL, he set out to create and develop his own projects. Ever since he graduated from the Conservatory in 2009, he has also been working for the choreographer Yan Raballand. In parallel, he practices sliding and grip sports like sailing, skiing, climbing, and road longboard. His own company Au Delà Du Bleu was founded in January 2012. He directs artistic projects which combine dance, extreme sports and video. In 2016, he set up ADDB production (specialising in photography, video and aerial images), with the photographer Guillaume Ducreux.

Jean-Baptiste Julien (Composer)

Musician and composer born in 1977, Jean-Baptiste works or has worked with Antoine Antoine Antoine, Pascal Battus, Alex Beaupain, Bertrand Belin, Blast, Yannick Butel, Jean-Marc Butty, Marylène Carre, Arnaud Churin, Thomas Ferrand, Grand Parc, Yves Godin, François Lanel, Fiodor Novski, Katel, Sophie Lamarche-Damour, Frédéric Leterrier, Bernardo Montet, Antonin Ménard, Seijiro Murayama, newpauletteorchestra, Rachid Ouramdane, Palo Alto, Pink Crash, Alexandre Plank, Virginie Vaillant…