The Others

Antonin Rioche | Korzo producties, Nederlands Dans Theater

 

Choreography & concept: Antonin Rioche

Live sound performance: Niels Plotard (The Amber Spark)

Dance: Kim Ceysens, Rosanne Briens, Florinda Camilleri (The Amber Spark)

Light design: Antonin Rioche & Peter Lemmens

Photography: Alex Avgud

 

Looking into the creative process:

Following the small test we did for OhBoy! using microphones for a reverb effect, and some work I had done for Zfin Malta in the production Home where everything was played live, Antonin wanted to create a concept for the sound that would be very particular. Antonin had a really clear concept for the piece and could give clear direction and information that we were able to link with the sound. Antonin also shared a lot of musical inspiration and ideas that gave us material to test and experiment with.

- Niels Plotard

The Others - The Amber Spark
The Others - The Amber Spark

The first few days at Korzo were very much about identifying the potential for things. We knew that the work with the microphones and the dancers had to happen all at once in the studio so it was very much about set up and testing to see what could possibly work. We were both recording sounds in studios, finding ideas about what to record for new sections that had not been choreographed yet. This phase was a lot about trying to translate Antonin’ side as into technical concepts, giving him a taste of what this could be like and then deciding what to record, what to keep as a live setup and how to make it happen.

- Niels Plotard

I felt really lucky to be given so much equipment by Korzo. I practically had a mobile sound station that I was moving around from one section to another of the theatre and was able to program the whole show on the digital mixer and patch all my inputs, microphones, effects and EQs during the creative process rather than as a separate step.

 

- Niels Plotard

The Others - The Amber Spark
The Others - The Amber Spark

I had already tested out picking up the dancers’ voices and using this to create space in the room using reverbs. For The Others we took this further and thought about how we make this as an actual layer that is used to create the soundscape and thought about looping the voices to keep them present throughout with no further input from the dancers themselves. Once the loop was created I could distort, transform, create textures, change tempo and use it whenever I wanted to during the piece.

 

 

- Niels Plotard

We wanted to explore the idea of the dancers triggering actions in the sound. For example at the beginning, as the audience is entering the theatre, a microphone was used too loop the sounds made by the audience as they were coming in. The dancers could then use the on-stage pedals to stop the audience sound for a few instances before this came back once more.

 

 

- Niels Plotard

The Others - The Amber Spark
The Others - The Amber Spark

There is a monologue where we used a voice transformer to distort the voice live and split it into two and eventually three voices that came out together, tying into the cell-division process through which bacteria replicate.

 

 

 

- Niels Plotard

Twister starts with the hum from the dancers’ that seemed to fill the space without coming from a particular point. This sound was looped and kept on as some kind of background drone effect.

- Niels Plotard

The Others - The Amber Spark
The Others - The Amber Spark

Because we had microphones on stage picking up our every sound and amplifying it, we needed to find ways of creating sound cues for our movement that did not interfere with this process. We eventually ended up with this very low vibration that could do this without being picked up. We also found ways of making movements trigger parts of the soundscape without actually amplifying the sounds from the movements themselves.

 

- Niels Plotard

We started corresponding about the piece many months before we actually came together at the studio. Our own personal research contributed significantly to the end result and the more we spoke about things, the more we were observing clear signs that helped us figure out how to portray this idea of us and them and how we mostly create this separation with our own minds.

- Florinda Camilleri

The Others - The Amber Spark
The Others - The Amber Spark

We had a number of choreographic tasks that emerged from the research we conducted and the images that Antonin had shared with us. Throughout the process, there was always this openness to serendipity and we embraced many things that happened along the creative process that we decided to embrace and push further.

 

- Florinda Camilleri

We always had at the back of our minds the idea that we had this very complex setup and sometimes things felt a little intangible until we actually got to work with them which was sometimes a bit of a struggle. Towards the end we were supported and given the space to work more closely with Niels and this helped things come together and fall into place at a very fast pace. Each of the runs at the end of the process felt like they brought many breakthroughs that we had been working towards for some time.

- Florinda Camilleri

The Others - The Amber Spark
The Others - The Amber Spark

All of a sudden we were three women with very different backgrounds of training. We were all very deeply invested into the work but also into our own ways of working. Through sharing, discussing and experimenting, we finally found a way of working that felt harmonious and healthy for everyone. At several points we stopped to discuss elements that were causing issues, bringing them up and working through them as they came up, which contributed to a good end result.

 

- Florinda Camilleri

Having a performance run for 7 times meant that we could go through a whole range of experiences that together created a jigsaw puzzle of emotions that came out of a diverse set of inputs that played together and created a series of unexpected outcomes that we could not have predicted.

- Florinda Camilleri

The Others - The Amber Spark

Some reflections from the creator: Antonin Rioche

How did you come up with The Others?

After I discovered Bonnie Bassler’s incredible TED Talk about « 90% bacteria, 10% human », I grew interested in bacteria behaviour.  What is happening inside of us fascinates me. Bacteria behave socially, just like we do. We are all made up of bacteria. Some bacteria are able to produce light when becoming aware of each other. I wanted to create a piece dealing with human, behavioural bioluminescence. I drew my inspiration for The Others from bacteria, from something quite scientific, but also very much from my relationships with other people.

 

How did you choose the team?

I looked to the people who have already shown trust in me and in my work during the past years. In that regard, it was quite an easy and logical choice to me.

 

Can you take us through your choreographic process?

Oooooh, that is a really hard question… it’s been such a journey! Being the face of the project as well as being immersed in the reality of the subject at every single moment has been really beautiful, rich and often intense.

 

What are the next steps for you?

I have started researching a duet with Katarina Van den Wouwer that will be titled: « Finally a sign of life, ». I have a lot of dreams I am trying to make happen, such as to re-create the piece The Others for 9 dancers for a school or a ballet junior. I would love also to create a movie of The Others … something similar to what we did with Ohboy!

Next season I wish to develop Ohgirl! a solo for Alice Godfrey; and also going to create a little play in Goteborg for some friends there.