The shape of music

A chance encounter leads to a years-long influence.

Maud Le Pladec's dance (photo credit: CAROLINE ABLAIN)
Maud Le Pladec's dance
(photo credit: CAROLINE ABLAIN)
Walking into a Parisian art gallery some years ago, choreographer Maud Le Pladec had no idea that the performance she was about to see would influence many of her next creations. In fact, the impact of this presentation can still be felt in her work.
“I saw a concert in which Tom Pauwels performed a solo by Fausto Romitelli with an electric guitar solo whose title was Trance TV Trance. I was totally fascinated by what I heard but also by what I saw. The performativity of the concert was close to what I could see in a body moving on stage,” explained Le Pladec in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.
Upon leaving the gallery, Le Pladec decided that she would take on Romitelli’s compositions as a basis for a dance creation. The result is Professor, which will be performed next week as part of the Suzanne Dellal Center’s International Season. The performances are part of the France-Israel Cultural Season. This will be Le Pladec’s first time presenting work in Israel.
Le Pladec is the Director of the Centre Choreographique National d’Orleans, a role she took on in 2017. Born and raised in France, Le Pladec trained at the National Center in Montpellier before beginning her career as a dancer. She has performed in works by Takiko Iwabuchi, Mathilde Monnier, Guillermo Bothello and others. Her choreographic practice has always included collaborations, leading Le Pladec to form artistic webs wherever she went.
“I enjoy being able to create a space, thanks to my art, where I always question myself. But not in the selfish way, more with the essential questions of ‘For who? For what? Why?’ The alterity, the encounter, the necessity to be moved by the vision of the others is part of the DNA of my work. That’s the reason why I work with music and visual art. I need to collaborate with artists who come from different art fields. But that’s also why I have always collaborated with artists who came from all over the world or why I traveled a lot in the frame of my work. I am not sure that art can change the world, but I am sure that without art we could not survive.”  
Professor, which premiered in 2009, was the first major work that Le Pladec presented and it opened a creative chapter of her life that continues to today.
“For this first opus,” she said, “I decided to choose the composition Professor Bad Trip, created in-between 1998 and 2000. I wanted to continue a string initiated by the composer; to create a choreography from Romitelli as Romitelli had himself created music from the writing of Henri Michaux.”
Le Pladec invited Pauwels, co-director of the acclaimed Ictus Ensemble, whose performance had so moved her, to join two dancers in the studio. “Before working with the team in the studio, I conducted a real investigation. I wanted to know everything about Romitelli, everything about this music: what his references are, how he works, how he talks about it, his vision of art, etc.
“I imagined the show around a simple formal bias, we physically translate everything that makes up the music of Fausto Romitelli. The first thing that we did with the dancer, Tom, was to analyze the score of the composition. But also, to listen and listen again to the music. It was like diving totally in the music of Romitelli to be able to translate physically what we could hear.”
It turned out that animating each sound was something of an impossibility and yet Le Pladec and her team continued to try. “It is concretely impossible!” she revealed. “But this impossible task defined actually all the procedures, scores, strategies that we had to find to allow the audience to be able to follow visually, through the dance, all the layers and colors of the musical composition.”
Professor became the basis for an exploration that Le Pladec conducted for many years. “Since Professor, all my pieces are based on this dance and music relationship research and composition, and it could take me two others lives to explore it. It is endless!”
Professor will be performed at the Suzanne Dellal Center on October 22 and 23. For more information, visit