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la grotte is first and foremost the story of an encounter, or a series of encounters: firstly, an encounter between a body and an environment - the Combarelles cave in Dordogne. In contact with these walls engraved with human and animal motifs over 13,000 years ago, the choreographer Pol Pi experienced a double movement of decentering and widening; within the bowels that go deep into the earth, he felt a call to decipher and incorporate the existence of these multiple presences - to pass on something of what this place has to teach us.

It was also the encounter with Monique Veyret, guide at the Grotte des Combarelles, and her attention to reading these fragile silhouettes, to learning the grammar of the lines laid on the stone by the light of a grease lamp. Here, the back of a lioness, here, the head of a horse, the outline of a stylised female figure - using the reliefs and hollows in the rock. Reading the signs, and all the connections that are established between them, reveals the variety of futures, the constant interweaving of living forms. Using self-induced cognitive trance as a creative tool - to enter into resonance with other states, other voices, other uses of her body - Pol Pi has composed a choreography in the manner of a guided tour. This inner journey takes us both into his self and into the recesses of an imaginary place in the process of taking shape. Every being is multiple, the cave seems to whisper to us as the animal figures reveal themselves, mutate and recompose in his flesh.

Pol Pi invites us on a sensory, sonic and physical journey. His dance gives rise to other forms of existence, other ways of relating to the outside world, and deploys all the metaphors of the cave - secret place, refuge, entrails or womb. As much an archaeological dig as a fertility ritual, la grotte fashions singular creatures, lets voices be heard, and brings worlds into being. Following on from ALEXANDRE and Me too, Galatée, Pol Pi is continuing his exploration of futures, with a desire to disturb the genre beyond the human and to explore the potential for metamorphosis of the body.

- Gilles Amalvi

©Jean Gros Abadie


Metamorphosis as a territory of exploration has always been familiar to me, whether through butoh and physical theater, my gateways into the world of dance, whether through the gender transitioning process that I have been going through for the past four years in my politico-intimate life.

When I learned about Corine Sombrun - a composer, researcher and specialist in trance studies - the multiple becomings that spring from her work resonated strongly within me. Self-induced cognitive trance, a protocol put in place by her to reach an incarnated modified state of consciousness, is a tool for expanding self-perception and, consequently, a tool for creation: "accepting not being what you think you are", becoming a rock, a wolf, a fly, a pipistrelle, a tree, a mushroom… Collaborating with Corine is for me a desire to trouble gender beyond the human.

The practice of trance will guide the creation of a performance that will arise from the relationship that will be woven between the Combarelles cave and myself. This cave in the Vézère Valley has more than 600 engraved parietal figures, all attributed to the Late Magdalenian, around 13,000 years BC. Through visits and the practice of trance on site and/or in remote interaction with this cave, we wish to create a performative object guided by the intuitive intelligence specific to the state of trance.

A project by and with Pol Pi

in collaboration with

Tamar Shelef : external outlook

Gilles Amalvi : sound creation, with the participation of Diane Blondeau

Rima Ben Brahim : lights creation

La Bourette : costumes creation

Alicia Zaton : plastic research

Baptiste Chatel : sound engineering advice

Corine Sombrun/TransScience Research Institute : transmission/accompaniment in self-induced cognitive trance).

Thanks to: Marc Martinez and Monique Veyret, administrator and guide of the Grotte de Combarelles.

Production: NO DRAMA

Executive production: Latitudes Prod. - Lille

Coproduction :  La Briqueterie - CDCN du Val-de-Marne

Writing residency: Les Grandes Fenêtres, a meeting place for creation, experimentation and interdisciplinary research based at Villa les Roses, Excideuil, Dordogne Périgord Vert.

The first step of the work was financed by the programme ‘Mondes nouveaux’ of French ministry of Culture, within the framework of France Relance.

© Tomas Cali

© Tomas Cali

© Latitudes Prod

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