Tag Archives: Jerome Bel

Cedric on Cedric

Cedric Andrieux takes the stage tomorrow night in the eponymous solo work created by Jerome Bel. We asked him a few questions about this very intimate and revealing piece of dance theater.

CAP UCLA:You worked very closely with Jerome Bel on the creation of this work and in it you speak very candidly about your early inspiration and your work with Merce Cunningham. What part of the piece was the most difficult or challenging to synthesize into a brief period on the stage?

CEDRIC: I think we struggled a bit more on the Merce Cunningham section. The rest of the script follows a chronological order, but we couldn’t do that for the middle part, the Cunningham part. We then had to find a different way of organizing ideas and thoughts.

CAP UCLA:Do you have a favorite part and if so, what is it?

CEDRIC: I am very happy that we found a way to render onto the stage the creation process that Merce used to create new dances. I also love performing one of the scenes of “The Show Must Go On.” It is one thing to perform it in the context of the whole piece, but it changes completely when I do it in the solo.

CAP UCLA:Was it challenging or nerve-wracking to be solo on stage and speaking directly to the audience throughout? As a dancer in a company, I assume it’s rather rare to have spoken moments. Was that something you had to work on as a performer or did you already have some experience with that?

CEDRIC: I think it is part of the project, to have on stage a performer who is in a situation that he knows, the stage, but having to use a tool that he doesn’t necessarily control, in my case, voice. But since it is not about pretending to be comfortable, or trying to hide the discomfort, the challenge becomes more about being in the moment and letting go of the image of oneself that one wants or is used to portray on stage. It is about allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

CAP UCLA: Toward the end of the piece you say that working on the creation of this solo made you realize you had never spent that much time thinking of what you had done and why you had done it. Are you still learning, still discovering more about yourself and what drives you? If so, what continues to surprise you?

CEDRIC: Since the solo, I would say that the flood gates are open! What continues to actually surprise me is the realization that you always end up banging your head against the same issues. They take different forms, but it always come back to the same, even though you constantly feel that you’re resolving those issues, or that you finally have enough distance….

CAP UCLA:You have performed this work extensively in France and toured the world, most recently even a stretch of performances in Africa. How does your performance translate when you are visiting audiences of other cultures? Do you get different reactions at different moments? Is there a particular kind of audience who “gets it” the most quickly or deeply?

CEDRIC: That is another interesting and challenging aspect of the solo for me, the fact that from one audience to the next, even in the same city, even in the same theater, the response might entirely be different. There is an aspect of Jerome’s work that plays with the codes of theater, and theater goers, what are we doing here, what are our expectations, and the deconstruction or the highlighting of those codes, that can get lost with people that may not have as much experience or awareness with those actual codes. But the solo was made to be comprehended by everyone, not just the elite of theater goers, not just dancers, so whatever the context is, I always feel like the information that the solo exposes comes across….

More than Words…

This week at CAP UCLA we are proud to present two unique programs that explore compelling landscapes in musical theater and dance through the art of monologue. These creative and authentic artists harness the spoken word form in ways that will stir your soul—with Young Jean Lee’s WE’RE GONNA DIE (starting Wednesday) and Jerome Bel’s Cedric Andrieux (Saturdaynight).

Words have power, I believe. The power to tell stories, reveal truths and inspire true human connection. Thinking about these two shows made me think about an interview I heard not too long ago between Michael Silverblatt and Aleksander Hemon. The Bosnian author was talking about his book, “The Book of My Lives,”which contains a personal and very emotional remembering of the loss of his daughter. In the interview the author talked about how he was confronted by a friend at that time who said: “words fail in these situations.”

No, Hemon said. Being a writer, he has belief in words. Words don’t fail, he said. Platitudes do. Empty phrases that don’t instigate connection or communication fail. But thoughtful, reflective words with meaning behind them, those can heal, those can inspire.

What you’ll find here at CAP UCLA this week and weekend is a fulsome sense of the power of words, within the context of the art of performance. And you’ll be in great hands.

Young Jean Lee is a trailblazing New York theater maker. She comes to Los Angeles for the first time with a profound and acutely realized collection of songs and stories about loneliness, loss and pain, alchemized into a surprisingly uplifting performance that might just leave us more hopeful, more connected, more compassionate and more understanding of our shared human experience.

Young Jean Lee recently told LA Weekly that she conceived this work as sort of self-therapy.

“My father had just died,” she remembers. “I tell the story in the show — he died in such a horrible way that I was so traumatized and felt completely isolated from everybody. And then I was thinking, when you’re in that place, where you’re in so much pain that nobody can reach you, I was like, ‘What can be of comfort then?’”

Saturday night we bring another perspective on the human experience—our inclination to strive for success, for expression, for joy and for creative pursuit.

We bring to the Royce Hall stage an incredibly intimate examination of the inspirations and challenges behind the growth and success of one artist—named for and performed by celebrated French dancer Cédric Andrieux. Part spoken word, part solo dance performance, this work by famed French choreographer Jerome Bel, reveals the experiences that propel and compel an artistic life.

In a nakedly honest moment on the stage, the former Merce Cunningham company dancer Andrieux tells us the stories of his life, his loves and his frustrations. Andrieux and Bel invite the audience to embrace the role of avid and confidential spectator, not just of one immediate evening of performance, but of one artist’s personal evolution.

Typically in dance performance, the movement speaks volumes. But in this penetrating performance, the words carry weight and power to build an aesthetic bridge between artist and audience.
It’s a rare and magical insight into what goes on behind the curtain and inside the heart and mind of an artist.

At one point in the performance Andrieux admits: “This solo, for me, it’s thinking about 20 years of my life, through what I have done in dance. I realized I had never spent that much time thinking of what I had done and why I had done it.”

Working with Jerome on this solo allowed Cedric to do just that–and he quite movingly shares the revelations this process has wrought for him.

So, if you also, often consider why you do the things you do, if you ever wonder how to deal with pain and loss, if you are into the kind of thoughtful, reflective moments that might just help us all remember how much more we belong to one another than not, please do join us for Young Jean Lee and Cedric Andrieux this week.

Diving Deep in 13-14

Did you hear we added another performance to our 2013-2014 season? We did. And it’s a doozy. We’re bringing back our current Artist Fellow Laurie Anderson and hanging on to the fabulous Kronos Quartet for an extra day in spring 2014. On March 15, the evening following our 40th anniversary program with Kronos, the ensemble will perform with Laurie in their first-ever collaboration, Landfall, a technology-tinged new work created for the Kronos by Anderson. (Tickets go on sale tomorrow, don’t miss it).

COLLEGE PARK, MD – February 1, 2013 – The Kronos Quartet, in dress rehearsal, with Laurie Anderson at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland.(Photo by Susan Biddle)

It’s incredible to think that these two massively important artists have never collaborated before this piece. They premiered the work in May at Montclair University’s Peak Performances series and it has been met with unsurprising acclaim.

Kronos and Laurie are both trailblazers in contemporary music. They are unceasing in their evolutionary approach to the form and have changed its face time and again over the course of decades.

Adding a night with Kronos and bringing Laurie back to campus (where she will also undoubtedly explore other projects her innovative mind is tackling in relation to her status as a CAP UCLA Artist Fellow) is indicative of a larger theme of the season.

These are not the only artists we are spending extra time with this season. We’re diving deep into some exceptional performers and their work in several multi-performance showcases.

Our other fellow Robert Wilson will perform his deeply introspective production of Lecture on Nothing, which goes beyond a theatrical adaptation of words on a page to become a living homage to Cage, lovingly and compellingly wrought by a fellow influential artist.

Meanwhile, Robert will also join with two of his most revered collaborators, Lucinda Childs and Philip Glass as they discuss their seminal 1975 work Einstein on the Beach. We are truly proud and thrilled to partner with LA Opera in their presentation of this incredibly ambitious and important work. Stay tuned for more details on events and activities that will help our audience intersect more closely with the themes and principle creators of Einstein.

And ahPhilip Glass. May 2014 cannot arrive quickly enough. We have so much Glass in store. We’ve carefully crafted three successive performances that will allow Glass acolytes and lovers of new music the opportunity to experience this legendary composer/performer’s work in multiple ways over the course of one weekend—from a highly personal peek at the artistic process revealed by his solo project The Etudes, to the epic marathon performance from Glass and his ensemble in the Los Angeles debut of Music in 12 Parts (it’s five hours long, but you’ll leave energized) and a more straightforward compositional perspective with Glass’s moving score to the Cocteau masterpiece La Belle et la Bete. If you’ve never experienced a music-and-film night in Royce Hall, this is a great opportunity, even if you’re not familiar with Glass’ oeuvre. The hall is glorious, well, always, but something about the marriage of music and film makes it even more so.

In dance, we’re proud to showcase two very different, and yet equally compelling perspectives of Jerome Bel. The French choreographer is very well known for shattering convention and even pushing buttons. We present his portrait of renowned Merce Cunningham company (among many others) dancer, Cédric Andrieux, who will be here performing the work himself in a thought-provoking evening that merges multiple forms of modern dance and a bit of spoken word, all in service of deciphering exactly what drives an artist. The performance is as much a question to Cedric from Jerome as it is an answer back, and as it is a query from Jerome to himself—and to us.

We will also present one of Bel’s most controversial works, The Show Must Go On, which essentially entails a group of movers (a mix of professional dancers and other performers) literally acting out the lyrics of popular music, as played by a live DJ.

We’ll be casting this work with local dancers and really look forward to giving the dance community the chance to work with Bel and his collaborators. We think it will be an experience of a lifetime for them.

As for the audience, we’ll get to see a whole ‘nother side of Bel and our perceptions of pop culture will be challenged, called in to question, maybe even clarified a bit here and there.

That’s a theme for another blog entry!

More to come. Join us and dive deep this season.