Cie Philippe Saire
Av. de Sévelin 36
1004 Lausanne

+41 21 620 00 12 info@philippesaire.ch



Cie Philippe Saire
Av. de Sévelin 36
1004 Lausanne

+41 21 620 00 12 info@philippesaire.ch


Ether spectacle On tour ×

45 min, 2 dancers

This duo is the fourth part in a series of choreographic works in convergence with visual arts initiated by Philippe Saire. The new production plays on the evanescence of bodies in a smoked-filled and vanishing point-structured space, on the line between presence and absence.
In Black Out (2011), the movements of three dancers on white canvas drew shapes in black material. The audience, standing atop the stage, observed as both physical and graphic compositions were created and then undone. NEONS Never Ever, Oh! Noisy Shadows (2014) introduced the use of neon lights, in the glow of which two bodies appeared in chiaroscuro. The elaborate interplay of apparitions and disappearances continued in Vacuum (2015), where glimmers of the dancers’ flesh created a strange and mesmerising poetry that was both cold and delicate.
Ether furthers this reflection under the premise of two elements: a stage structured with a vanishing point and fumes. What these have in common is that they visually relate to disappearance and haziness respectively, through distance and the opacification of the air. With this combined effect, moving bodies acquire new and uncertain materiality.
With the success of Black Out (over 180 performances across the world) and the rise of the recent Vacuum (which has been performed almost 100 times), Philippe Saire cultivates the desire to create constantly reinvented formats.

Stage Design
This new project forms part of the Dispositifs series, in which spatial and lighting structures are the basis of the projects. Although the works focus on movement as well as on narration and images, it is the latter that lies at the root of the creative process.
In order to gain control of the smoke and the images created, the stage design includes a smoke aspiration and ventilation system as well as original sources of smoke. By definition difficult to contain, smoke is here confined to a triangular set where the stage manager can make it appear and disappear at will.
Apart from the interesting spatial constraint in terms of choreography, the walls structured into a vanishing point contribute to structuring the light and shade of the perspective, and to giving the whole production a pictorial dimension.
Following the principle of this series, research is focused on image and dance. The image of the body is positioned in this specific “vanishing” space. The image of its materiality is in contrast with the evanescence of smoke, the way the body interacts with the smoke, whether it takes shelter in the smoke or tries to escape it or whether it fights it off or gradually assumes its shape.
Edward Hopper’s paintings with their timeless postures of bodies intuitively influenced the choice of a duo between a man and a woman. The relationship between the two performers, initially visual and spatial that is gradually built up, is based on tension between the material and the immaterial, which the stage design expresses.
In this series of choreographic pieces, if a narrative element is added, it comes second, as does the degree of narration. The beautiful images that developed with our technical research compelled the dancers to find their rightful place and work at times together on the design or leave room for just one or the other.
Clouds and smoke are iconic elements of individual imagination. Thus, the narrative is meant to remain open, and the smoke can be assimilated with either memories or fantasies.

We do not know which night we come from, or which night we are heading towards. We do not know if we were born at this date or in the depth of ages. We do not know if we are someone or just anybody. We do not know if we have a name or not. We do not know how the rustling woods of our youth has become the metallic jungle of the city. We do not know if that blazing spotlight is an obsessive memory or the State arresting us. We do not know if the noise of our footsteps is the sound of our bones in our flesh. We do not know if the sound that pulses in our ears comes from a ball or our heart. We do not know if our laughter is a scream. We do not know if the air dilates or consumes us. We do not know if we should move or stand still. We do not know if we should show ourselves or remain hidden. We do not know if we should sing or shut up. We do not know if our gesticulations are an expression of bravery or terror. We do not know if our actions are convulsions.
We do not know if the walls surrounding us are those of a shelter or a prison. We do not know if the floor is a piece of the sky. We do not know if our peers are looking after us or if they are gone. We do not know if they are watching us or if they are blind. We do not know if they love us or cheat on us. We do not know if we need them to be alone. We do not know if we should keep our records or erase them. We do not know if we are tired or if we are about to die. We do not know if we are stopping down at the ground to perceive our origins or dissolve ourselves in it. We do not know how to transform the passing time into a feeling of eternity. We do not know if the breath that takes us into death is borne from emptiness or stirred up by the gods. Not knowing has no effect on those who follow us. They carry on.

Christophe Gallaz, 2003

Is the study of fleeting images a subject? As images of aerial imagination, they either evaporate or crystallise. And it is between the two poles of this ever-active ambivalence that we must grasp them. The word “cloud” is right away evidence of this ambivalence between reality and imagination. Readers will immediately see what they want: a view or a vision, an outlined reality or a dreamt movement. What we ask of them is that they not only experience this dialectic, these alternate states, but also that they gather them into an ambivalence where we can grasp that reality is an ideal power and that dreams are a reality. Alas! The moment in this antechamber is short. One must admit that we soon see or we soon dream. We then become either the mirror of forms or the silent slave of inert matter.

Concept and choreography
Philippe Saire

Choreography in collaboration with the dancers
Marthe Krummenacher, David Zagari

Smoke and light design
Antoine Friderici

Sound design
Stéphane Vecchione

Tania D'Ambrogio

Set construction
Hervé Jabveneau

Direction technique
Vincent Scalbert

Philippe Weissbrodt

Supports and partners
City of Lausanne, Canton de Vaud, Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council, Fondation de Famille Sandoz.


Past dates

Lausanne (CH)
Zürich (CH)