“A Love Supreme”: choreograph John Coltrane

«A Love Supreme»: chorégraphier John Coltrane

Photo: Anne Van Aerschot
The new version of”A Love Supreme” is a real rewrite, the choreography has undergone several metamorphoses.

Address in dance at the masterpiece of John Coltrane, A Love Supreme ?For the great Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Salva Sanchis, after all worked on the choreography Bitches Brew (2003) on the homonymous album of Miles Davis, this was self evident. Because ” to force to listen to Miles, inevitably you eventually cross to Coltrane… “, says Mr. Sanchis interview. Twelve years later, the co-authors have revisited and rewritten the piece, and the back, this time carried by a distribution entirely male.

“I prefer this version,” admits the choreographer belgian born in Catalonia. “Regardless of the intensity you put into the work, something that escapes us when we are in the heart of a creation, that we can’t see. It is necessary to let go. The passing of time gives perspective, ” says the one who also signed, single, Radical Light (2016).

The choreography offers a mirror-the physics of music. Each dancer embodies an instrument, the sax, another the bass, etc (see box). The mix between written score and improvisation is done in a similar way in her as in body, always in relation with the melody. “It’s a combination of settings is very strict and a very high degree of freedom, which must be held at the same time. This is also our way to understand this music, ” says Sanchis.

How, in 2005, was spent working with the grande dame of belgian dance that is Ms. de Keersmaeker (Rain, Once, In the meantime, Cesena, etc) ? “It is a act tricky. Any collaboration is exciting because it is also dangerous ; what you can create with someone else, you can’t do it alone, but there are still points of divergence. What worked very well for Anne Teresa and me, it was a clear division of tasks. She was in charge of-scale spatial patterns, design elements — from the light to the costumes. I had my side to generate the vocabulary and the movement, and the strategies of improvisation. It seems to be very split, but moving forward, everything becomes dialogue — and we love to leave each other space. “

The new version of’A Love Supreme is a real rewrite, the choreography has undergone several metamorphoses. Sequences of movements have changed. The costumes and the environment have gone from all white to all black. The room has been extended to 15 minutes. Why this need to add the length ? Smile at the end of the wire. “This is a factor economical-cultural. In Europe, a choreography of 35 minutes is too short, regardless of its value. It is a reality, regardless of the strength of the experiment proposed. We wanted that’A Love Supreme stands alone, not in the dual program. So, we added an early muffler, which prepares them very well for the future. “

The distribution, which was mixed, became all-male. “It was not a decision,” noted the cochorégraphe, ” it appeared to the hearings. Strangely, the dancers that are interested in these roles were 80 % of men. We decided to follow it. This change has occurred, is that any connotation or reading of a possible romantic relationship heterosexual has been completely erased. And what remains is much closer to the music itself ; the more close to the spirituality, closer to a spiritual love as romantic “.

A spirituality which has been addressed by creation inspired by — well, not literally at all, ” said Mr. Sanchis — of Renaissance paintings, particularly those dealing with the descent of the cross of Jesus and the Passion. And physically by the verticality, the consciousness of the heaven and of the upper space, by a physicality strong enough to lead may be an ecstasy, and a search for drop-in performers.

“This second version stays closer to the music ; chorégraphiquement, it is more complete and more sophisticated,” says Salva Sanchis. To listen so much to see, so.

Coltrane and his record summary

What was at first a disk of 34 minutes has become a myth, a work of flagship of american culture, a major milestone in the history of jazz — and also the foundation on which is based the fervor of the faithful of the Saint John Coltrane Church, a San Francisco church dedicated to the spiritual power of the music of the legendary saxophonist who died in 1967. That is to say, the importance of’A Love Supreme, 54 years after its release. Recorded with Elvin Jones on drums, Jimmy Garrison on bass and McCoy Tyner on the piano, this suite is divided into four movements synthesizes in Coltrane a lifetime of research and musical and spiritual. The form is at once structured and improvised, the themes are complex and crystal-clear. The quartet plays a jazz modal (introduced by Miles Davis with Kind of Blue in 1959, it is essentially a way of playing with scales other than the major and minor classics, which gives a palette of colors more extensive), but which has already announced the appeal of free jazz in Coltrane. There will plunge them in full after the disc pivot, still resolutely modern — and deeply powerful.

A Love Supreme

Choreography Salva Sanchis and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. With José Paulo dos Santos, Bilal El Had, Jason Respilieux, Thomas Vantuycom. Presented by Danse Danse, Place des Arts, from 29 January to 2 February.

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