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Pina Bausch, Carolyn Carlson, Martha Graham... the style of the greatest choreographers told by Olivier Saillard


Fashion historian Olivier Saillard stages a contemporary wardrobe inspired by the legendary women choreographers who moved and impressed him. Tribute in words and images to these seven great artists.

The historian Olivier Saillard, director of the Alaïa foundation and artistic director of the JM Weston house, is also the author of artistic performances.

The last,

Embodying Pasolini,

with Tilda Swinton, pays tribute to the Italian director.


Madame Figaro,

he evokes the pace, gesture and style of great choreographers in the history of dance who have marked him.

Pina Bausch, dance-theatre

Like Pina Bausch.

Jersey dress, Yohji Yamamoto.

Eric Nehr

“It's an incarnation: we think of the paintings of Edvard Munch, of Egon Schiele.

There is a strong autobiographical dimension in her pieces, like a duplication of herself.

The tormented faces possess a terrible force: Pina Bausch's dance is as if inhabited by the sufferings of life, the sufferings of the body.

It's hard work, every moment, a strong discipline, like Azzedine Alaïa had in his studio, for example.

I like this idea of ​​the workshop, the studio where the garment is born, the movement of creation.

With Pina Bausch, German dancer and choreographer who died in 2009, one immediately thinks of men in suits and slender women, bare arms, with long flowing dresses.

These women are both powerful and fragile.

She freed the movement of female bodies, opened her dance to the theater, to feelings.

She mixes dance, words, laughter, tears and said: “Let’s dance, let’s dance, otherwise we are lost.”

His dance-theatre is like a reflection of ourselves.”

Lucinda Childs, muse and creator

Like Lucinda Childs.

Fishnet body, Courrèges, cotton pants, Lemaire.

Eric Nehr

“This American, who is 82 years old today, is an archetype of beauty, a fashion, dance and cinema beauty all at the same time.

I am fascinated by faces, they say so many things, even more than the body.

Lucinda Childs embodies both academicism and modernity, capturing the artistic spirit of her time;

it is the union of all the arts.

Fashion interests her: she created

Ensemble for nine dresses,

a ballet inspired by dresses cut through a Hermès collection.

It illuminates the space, it is aerial.

She is an avant-garde figure, after classical training she worked with Merce Cunningham.

In the 1970s, she created a very repetitive, almost minimalist modern dance, with


on the music of Philip Glass, or with Bob Wilson for

Einstein on the Beach


I saw it at the Châtelet, it was the sight that impressed me the most.

The dance is hypnotic, bewitching like perpetual motion: it's a 20th century masterpiece that goes far beyond dance.

Lucinda Childs is both muse and creator.

She is wildly inspiring.”

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Loïe Fuller, performer of the Belle Époque

Like Loie Fuller.

Jersey cape dress, Balenciaga.

Eric Nehr

“She dances the garment, she plays with it.

It is the garment that makes the show in a hypnotic movement.

It's almost a conceptual gesture.

This American dancer and choreographer, one of the pioneers of modern dance, participated in the Universal Exhibition of 1900 in Paris, danced at the Folies Bergère.

She presents her first dances there, such as

La Danse serpentine, La Violette.

Loïe Fuller is passionate about science, technical progress, she uses artificial light, colors, creates fabulous costumes to transform reality.

At the time, women were corseted.

She, she liberates the female body, she becomes a flower, a butterfly with her light costumes that turn, fly, fly away.

She is also audaciously avant-garde when she creates phosphorescent costumes, by putting lights in them.

His shows are close to performance.

It has become a reference and is often cited by young artists.

“They gave me the desire and the strength to embark on the exercise of performance”

Olivier Saillard

Carolyn Carlson, the sculpted body

Like Carolyn Carlson.

Viscose knit top and skirt, Alaïa.

Eric Nehr

“She is very tall, muscular, her body is raw, skinned, you can see the veins, the tendons, she is an expressionist body that is still beautiful at 80.

There is also the face, with an intense gaze.

It was with Carolyn Carlson that I discovered contemporary dance, another way of dancing.

There is in her a force, an energy… She seems to sculpt the air with her arms, her body.

She's a total artist, she likes to write poems, she paints.

For her, dance is “visual poetry”, a way of making her unconscious speak.

And I remember that long, tight black dress by Alaïa in which she danced, like a snake… She too was a pioneer, her hair pulled back — well before the fashion for models —, little makeup,

smoky eyes with this impression of letting time act, of being natural, of being able to dance for a long time, as late as possible, of adapting the dance to one's body and of being in tune with the universe.

She has also declared: “I can take all the images in the universe and become those images.

I can become the universe.”

Martha Graham, ultra-contemporary attitude

Like Martha Graham.

Crepe jersey dress, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello.

Eric Nehr

“It looks like she is dancing with 1980s clothes, even stretch.

She chose her costumes herself.

This American inspired the creators of those years a lot.

She was very close to fashion, moreover, we could see her posing in


Martha Graham is in the wake of Loïe Fuller.

She is one of the founders of contemporary dance.

She invented a technique based on breathing, contraction and relaxation of the body.

She founded her own school,


crowned her “dancer of the century”, and for her “dance is the secret language of the soul”.

We see it in


a solo around mourning where, enclosed in a plum jersey garment, she stretches the fabric with her hands, her legs.

It's incredibly powerful, very modern.

Moreover, she danced for a very long time, she died at 96… I am very impressed by the longevity of all these female choreographers.

They transmitted to me the taste of this discipline, accompanied me on the way of the dance and gave me the desire and the strength to launch myself into the exercise of the performance.

Read alsoWhy the solitary dance of Agnès Lassalle's companion in front of his coffin touches us so much

Trisha Brown, free figure

Like Trisha Brown.

Beaded silk crepe dress, Hermès.

Eric Nehr

“She could dance barefoot, in pants with a T-shirt, like the street was dancing, walking into the studio, and it's beautiful.

It's a bit like: "Come as you are."

Trisha Brown did ballet, tap, acrobatics.

She embodies several forms of disciplines, and she has been able to reinvent dance.

I love his inventiveness, his way of opening doors to other worlds.

This American choreographer danced a lot outside, on the roofs of New York, in galleries.

In Paris, for the Festival d'Automne, she danced at the Musée Galliera with


an experimental piece on the repetition of movement.

Her style is fluid,


she said, but also calling on a great technicality.

She is extremely elegant, a perfectionist who works a lot.

She is also a plastic artist.

She worked with the painter Robert Rauschenberg, she could dance on papers placed on the floor and even draw with her feet.

I saw in Marseille an exhibition of his drawings for dance: it's the gesture before the body.

That's wonderful.

She has a taste for writing, freedom, naturalness, a beautiful choreographed simplicity.

Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, rebellious energy

“She has this desire for clothing to be ordinary, like non-clothing, the reflection of a collective unconscious.

Since the 1980s, this Flemish choreographer, who is 62 years old today, has also made an impression on our minds with her dancers in little black dresses, shirts, white socks and ankle boots, like schoolgirls: the image of a youth a little rebellious and who wants to exist.

There is a crazy energy in this dance, like a fight.

Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker plays on tension and acceleration.

Music is very important to her: John Coltrane, Steve Reich as well as Bach, with the

Six Brandenburg Concertos,

or Indian music.

She often makes the dancers dialogue with the musicians who are on stage, as if

Suites for cello

performed live, or

Vortex Temporum

with the group Ictus.

A great experience.

We first listen to the music, the dance comes, but in silence, and third part, it combines the two.

She likes to play on opposites and her dance is like a poetry of rigor.

Source: lefigaro

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