(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- PEAK Performances presents Cie Libertivore’s Fractales, written and choreographed by Fanny Soriano (December 16-19 at Montclair State University’s Alexander Kasser Theater), and marking the acclaimed company’s first-ever performances in the U.S. Colliding circus and dance in a portrayal of endings as metamorphoses, Fractales boldly continues Cie Libertivore’s exploration into humankind and nature, this time drawing inspiration from the observation of life and living things confronted by the challenges of a landscape in transformation.
Created well before the pandemic, and presented as climate change rapidly creates new crises and vulnerabilities, Fractales’ vision of chaos and change along a regenerating continuum offers, in this moment, a surprising, poetic hope.
Fanny Soriano conceived the piece in response to a multitude of proclaimed “endings,” whether in the news or in people’s personal lives: the end of the world, the end of an economic system, of an ecological system, of a political system; or the end of a relationship, a job, a life. Here, she challenges the very notion of cold, hard, void-like endings. With Fractales, she presents a view of the world, and of “endings” as transformations rather than disappearances. She writes, (in translation), “Change induces fear but also gives us hope and the courage to act. ‘Endings’ may paralyze us, but change is creative, fecund.”
The changes within and outside us she sees as cyclical; this is where her focus on the repeating infinities of fractals came in. A chaotic pattern, they can illustrate worlds (both interior and exterior) in perpetual yet repeating evolution.
Soriano explains, “The idea for this show was born about ten years ago: to create a solo for me to perform, dedicated to my children, to give them a more positive perspective of the world around them without being in denial about the ways it is changing. I was inspired by a quote from Coline Serreau: ‘Chaos is full of hope because it announces a rebirth.’ Unfortunately, things took an unexpected turn when I began to feel pain in my body and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that halted my career as an acrobatic dancer. I began to hate this project. I suddenly found this idea of chaos and positive change to be a big lie. I was only able to feel injustice and anger. I burned my creation notebook and abandoned the project. Then I slowly started to direct, first by transmitting my solo Hêtre, then by creating other shows. I discovered that I loved to direct, to work with other circus artists, to show what I wanted to share with the world. This happy transformation would never have happened to me without this tragic breakup, and with it came a desire in me to take up Fractales again, having gone through a profoundly chaotic transformation that gave me an access to myself that I would not have discovered otherwise. I am so happy to be able now to share it with audiences.”
For Cie Libertivore, the circus—with the crises it creates in the body, the challenges it throws at the laws of gravity—is the perfect form for exploring notions of cyclicality and chaos. Acrobat-dancers sweep across the space and create energetic collisions and radical transformations akin to natural disasters; these catastrophes are accompanied by revivals. Through the vocabularies of circus and dance, their bodies—both active and passive—reflect the metamorphosis of the environment in which they are an integral part. They confront organic matter, accompany it, evade it, crash against it, and melt into it.
Like fractals, nothing here has a beginning nor an end, but is part of a continuum, of which the spectator only glimpses an instant. In this decomposing, recomposing universe, the end of every single thing is also the beginning of something else. By harmoniously and chaotically bonding with this permanently regenerating biotope, the bodies reflect all that is random and unpredictable, letting a disturbing strangeness flow through them as they are struck by fleeting moments of beauty.
Fractales makes its U.S. premiere in advance of another two works by Cie Libertivore, Phasmes and Hêtre, making their U.S. premieres at PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century in Chatham, NY, on December 21-22.
Performers in Fractales include Kamma Rosenbeck, Nina Harper, Voleak Ung, Vincent Brière, and Léo Manipoud. The creative team includes Fanny Soriano (writing and choreography), Mathilde Monfreux and Damien Fournier (artistic collaborations), Grégory Cosenza (music), Sandrine Rozier (costumes), Cyril Leclerc (lighting), Oriane Bajard and Fanny Soriano (scenic design), Nancy Drolet (general direction).
Performances Times, Running Time, Tickets, and Location
Performances of Fractales take place Thursday, December 16, and Friday, December 17, at 7:30pm; Saturday, December 18, at 8pm; and Sunday, December 19, at 3:00pm.
Running time is approximately 65 minutes, no intermission.
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by visiting peakperfs.org or calling 973.655.5112.
The Alexander Kasser Theater is located at 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ, on the Montclair State University campus.
PEAK Performances’ Commitment to Health and Safety
To help protect the health and safety of audiences, artists, staff, and PEAK’s greater community, patrons are required to wear masks—at all times—for all performances. Additionally, all performances will require proof of full vaccination to attend. Audience members will be asked to show proof of vaccination before entering the theater. These guidelines may evolve depending on health and safety recommendations.
The presentation of Fractales has been made possible with the support of FACE Contemporary Theatre, a program of Villa Albertine and FACE Foundation, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States, with support from the Florence Gould Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Instituit Francais, the French Ministry of Culture, and private donors.
This season of PEAK Performances is made possible, in part, with funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
PEAK Performances, a program of Arts + Cultural Programming (ACP), at Montclair State University, produces and presents dance, music, theater, opera, and circus performances in the Alexander Kasser Theater, on the MSU campus, for students and the general public. Through PEAK Performances, an internationally acclaimed live performing arts series, ACP defies convention by supporting new performance ideas without compromise. ACP believes that for the performing arts to be sustainable, audiences must evolve, and that the way to achieve this goal is to empower the best artists of our time to achieve new heights of imagination. With its newly launched PEAK Plus video-capture program, ACP makes live performances accessible worldwide, drastically expanding audiences for new work.
Through its Creative Thinking course, ACP engages artists to participate in a groundbreaking research laboratory, illustrating for students of all fields of study that art and science are symbiotic. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values manifested in ACP’s long-standing embrace of work by artists not yet supported by other major institutions in the region. Because ACP provides the highest-quality production values, audiences have an opportunity to engage with creative viewpoints that are bold and insightful and fully realized. PEAK Performances is credited with 57 world premieres, 54 U.S. premieres, and 66 commissions. For five successive years the New Jersey Council on the Arts awarded ACP a Citation of Excellence in performance programming. ACP Executive Director Jedediah Wheeler received from the national Association of Performing Arts Professionals the William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and sustained Achievement in Programming.