Extrait TRICODEX ballet contemporain 2005

Whimsical describes this excerpt of the surreal ballet called “Tricodex”, performed in this video by the Lyon Opera Ballet Company, France. It was choreographed by the French choreographer, Philippe Decoufle. The Music was produced by Sebastian Libot and Hughes de Courson and the set, costume and device designer was Phillippe Guillotel.

Philippe Decoufle is a choreographer who has a highly fertile imagination that is evident in this bizarre and surreal work. His early background was in circus training, which accounts for this cross over in much of his work. He first met modern dance when he was studying architecture at the Ecole des Beaux – Arts in Paris. He began studying dance under the renowned pioneer of modern dance, Alwin Nikolais and later joined his company. Decoufle eventually went on to form his own company to further develop his craft as dancer, choreographer and film maker.

The Lyon Opera Ballet is the first company that Decoufle has choreographed on outside his own company. This company is known for its wide repertoire that ranges from classics to the most contemporary works of today including this outrageous post modern spectacle. “Tricodex” uses 25 dancers, 150 costumes with at least 5 per dancer with a myriad of contraptions and props that dancers use, including two bungee ropes.

“Tricodex” is the third part of a trilogy that was started as “Codex” in 1986, “Decodex” in 1995 and this part, “Tricodex” in 2001. Decoufle was inspired by the work of Luigi Serafini who was an Italian artist and natural artist who created a fantastical book titled Codex Serafininus: A Visual Encyclopedia of an Imaginary Universe”. Decofle used this work as a visual springboard to create a mystical world, juxtaposing diverse mechanical and theatrical devices that are used to create visual illusions that challenge ones perception of gravity and extend spatial and movement range of the dancer’s bodies.

The whole ballet is a tour de force that blends dance and circus, music and costumes, and even video projections, not seen however, in this video, to create a magical and fantastical world. The movement ranges from raw Neanderthal like gestures to highly skilled feats.

This video shows excerpts from a fascinating section that reminds me of a clock. Each dancer has a specific part that works in mechanical synchronicity and unison. A couple are standing sideways suspended, one is suspended on wheel contraption that turns him in circles. A woman enters on a strange bicycle on which she drops from side to side as she wheels about in a duet.

To me this piece is great fun. We can certainly see the influence of Alwin Nikolai in the visual images and forms that Decoufle creates. One can only marvel at the amazing fertile imagination that has created such a bizarre world. Here is another example of the wide range of movement that is called contemporary dance today.

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