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the cave is the story of an encounter, or of a series of encounters: an encounter between a body and an environment - that of the Combarelles cave in the French region of 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 is also the encounter with the guide at Combarelles cave Monique Veyret, and her attentiveness in reading these fragile silhouettes, in learning the grammar of the lines laid on the stone by the light of a grease lamp. Here, the back of a lioness, there, the head of a horse, the outline of a stylised female figure - using the reliefs and hollows in the rock. The reading of the signs, and all the connections that are established between them, reveals the variety of becomings, 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 his her body - Pol Pi has composed a choreography in the manner of a guided tour. This inner journey takes us both within himself and into the recesses of an imaginary place taking shape. The cave seems to whisper "Every being is multiple" as the animal figures reveal themselves, mutate and recompose in his flesh.

With his body torn, amplified, traversed by intensities, 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. An archaeological dig as much as a fertility ritual, the cave fashions singular creatures, resonates voices, brings worlds into being. On the steps of ALEXANDRE and Me too, Galatea, Pol Pi continues his exploration of becomings, with a desire to trouble gender beyond the human and to explore the body’s potential for metamorphosis.

Gilles Amalvi

©Tomas Cali dos Anjos


Inspired by Corine Sombrun’s research into altered states of consciousness, in early 2022 I began a relationship with the Combarelles cave in Dordogne, a prehistoric cave whose walls were engraved around 15,000 years ago. A relationship because trance teaches us that we are not working ‘with’ or ‘on’ something, but ‘alongside’ and ‘in relation to’ human and non-human entities. It’s always a matter of asking oneself «what can I learn from this tree, this horse, this cave, this ancestor, this idea? » And the Combarelles cave has so much to teach me.

Embracing becomings of otherness, welcoming movement rather than provoking it, have always been part of my way of understanding what we call dance. I started dancing through physical theatre and butoh, where these principles were very present, as well as the search for multiple embodied physicalities. The encounter with Corine’s trance method, the ‘self-induced cognitive trance’, was like a deeper and more intense dive into what was already there.

Thanks to the immersive experiences in the Combarelles cave and the practice of interactive trances with the cave from a distance, a rich palette of movement materials and physicalities emerged, all accompanied by vocal sounds. We organized and framed these movements and sounds like a fictional guided tour of a prehistoric cave. In this sense, the words spoken by Monique, the guide who accompanied us during the visits, are an important point of support for the writing of our texts.

This research deals with the incarnation of the multiple others within us, crossing the boundaries between species, time, gender, human and non-human. And like all my performances, it is also intimate-political: above all the becomings, this process speaks of my own «cave-becoming», of my desire for pregnancy as a trans man, and of the question of the right to create and carry life.

A project by and with Pol Pi, in collaboration with

Tamar Shelef : outside eye

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

Rima Ben Brahim : light design

La Bourette : costumes

Alicia Zaton : visual and material 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 Combarelles cave

Production: NO DRAMA

Executive production: Latitudes Prod. - Lille / Charlotte Martiaux

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

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

© Jean Gros-Abadie

© Tomas Cali

© Latitudes Prod

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