Christine Bastin - Interview, 1991

A complex cultural program begins this month in Bucharest: "La danse en voyage", organized by France for Romania. Six contemporary dance companies from France will come monthly to Bucharest, Iaşi, Timişoara, Cluj and Constanţa. "Mrs. Christine Bastin, you are the first choreographer to come to Bucharest, together with the company you run in Paris. How many dancers have you got in your group?""There are six of us: Pascaline Verrière, Agnes Dufour, Pascal Allio, Nasser Martin Gousset and the actor Gerôme Franc and I dance as well, of course.""You came at a more difficult moment for us. Were you not afraid?""I confess I was a bit. There were alarming rumors in France about the reality in Romania. So we were a little afraid of the life here, especially the political one. Before leaving Paris we found out on French Television about the miners coming to Bucharest. We wondered whether it wasn't dangerous for us, but we realized on arriving that there was nothing to worry about. We were amazed by the way you received us. You have an artistic hunger that we haven't come across in any of the places we danced before.""You have worked for a week with the young Romanian dancers from the TheatreAcademy and with the ChoreographyHigh School students in Bucharest. You worked a lot on improvisation, then ground and energy exercises, all new things for them. What did you think of them?""As I was saying in the beginning, you have an extraordinary artistic hunger. I think I have experienced not so much a triumph of dance but rather the satisfaction of the people I worked with. It was very emotional for us. Every night as we were going back to the hotel we could feel ourhearts filled with joy. Not because we got flowers, but for the happiness of having succeeded together with them. Even yesterday, after the course, we found it difficult to begin our rehearsal for the show. I think we needed half an hour or more till we could start working. Indeed, we wereall moved.""The performance 'Grace' which you've brought to Bucharest is in some ways a dress rehearsal. It's not until next week that you will present it for the first time at the GeorgePompidouCenter in Paris. Wherein lies the novelty of this creation?""This is a performance in which the blending of gestures, music and words becomes integrated in a unitary representation." "I'm just reading the motto of the show: 'Forgiveness crosses arid fields until it can be renamed pity. The man who has the verb is deaf. The one who knows the invisible things feels blind, and he who discovers the body feels dumb. Ferocious, pure, rough women harder than a rock, but tender and jealous, bite the evil whole. And the fact of having bitten makes their mouth so pure.'These are interrogations, words of love and cruelty. Is it the hardcore of some interior violence?""I'm interested in the dynamic relation between independent things. There are three types of women: one is humane, another closed and the third one eternal, mythical. They were the starting point of 'Grace'. There are in fact six stories coming together in a denouement. But only one uses the word.""Looking back, you have always worked with actors in your creations. 'La folia', with which you got the 1st prize at the Paris Contest in 1986, was a short play with two dancers and one actor, and then in the '88-'89 season you did another piece, 'Abel, Abeth' for three dancers and two actors. You like the formula dance-theatre?""I like discovering the verb, I'm interested in the thoroughgoing study of the relation between movement and word, which has nothing to do with dance-theatre. It has more to do with a reciprocity between actors and dancers, each working for the other, finding his way in his opposite. I have tried to underline a certain feature of any of us. Nasser is the blind, the cripple, the lame man, who is not physically defined, because he remains addicted to invisible things. Followed by the man determined by his body and who lives by his body, rather than by words. This is why he isdrawn by the speaking figure, but that one is deaf. Deaf to the one who tries to teach him.""You have studied law and philosophy, you have studied with Alwyn Nikolais, Murray Luis, Susan Buirge and Carolyn Carlson. When did your drama-incursions begin?""Dancers generally look towards a point in the infinite. The relation is now livelier. I've tried to develop a personal vocabulary, diverse through technical precision and distinction of the choreographic statement.""Getting back to the Romanian youths, do you think you will return to Romania?""I'm sure of it. I'm just waiting for a new opportunity to be with them."

by Silvia Ciurescu