Cie Philippe Saire
Av. de Sévelin 36
1004 Lausanne

in permanent residency at Théâtre Sévelin 36

+41 21 620 00 12 info@philippesaire.ch



Cie Philippe Saire
Av. de Sévelin 36
1004 Lausanne

in permanent residency at Théâtre Sévelin 36

+41 21 620 00 12 info@philippesaire.ch


Utopia Mia spectacle ×

This isn’t a militant play or a hippy play. This isn’t a play about the 70s. This isn’t a play about the history of utopia through the centuries. The simple idea of utopia arouses opinions and desires, and everyone has his own. Philippe Saire’s is deeply personal.
A performance for 3 male and 2 female dancers, Utopia Mia questions our personal relationship with utopia. The show produces heavenly images, scrutinises for any militant surge, and reveals its sometimes-inherent disappointments. It takes shape on an island and follows the rhythm of rebellious songs, old and new, like the tracks of a record played at double speed.
It’s the Occupy movement, originating in Madrid, that drove the choreographer to start working on the subject. He was moved by this anti-capitalist movement, which for the first time since the 70s in the Western world rallied a large population. Very soon, he realised he would use a personal approach, a personal vision of utopia, of its effects on the mind and the body. He had to create a play where the dancers’ movements would evoke significant change, where bodies would be marked by struggles, where music would transcend ideals.
Utopia for the enchanted dream of an island where everything can start afresh.
Mia for the suitability of a subject by a choreographer.

My transition into adulthood was steeped in the 1970s, which were marked by May 1968, Woodstock and Flower Power. I was non-violent, against consumer society. I believed we could change the world if we all gathered together. I genuinely believed in all of it.
The recent Occupy movement made me want to question our utopias, to rethink my desires and aspirations as a young adult, and to find out how a dance show could translate all this.
Soon it became obvious to me that dance was an area where politics had to be expressed through personal implications; that I had to present a truly personal interpretation of utopia, of my own perception of those times, and of how I could relate utopia to a recent past.
Bodies and images are steeped in our own ambivalence, aspirations, rejections, struggles, attempts at transcendence, forgetfulness, and denial of reality. In our fundamental desire to feel good in the world, and in a world that is good.
The process left me with only a few rare historical references, like distorted traces of a recent past. In this play, the 70s appear with a slightly derisory imagery. The evocation is amusing, but the perception is both tender and doubtful, like our collective memory.
I avoided nostalgia and I devoted myself to make timeless, that which the performers experience, to compose a personal fresco that relates to both our condition as desiring human beings and to our dispositions.
U-topias – these virtual countries – have never succeeded. ‘Utopic’ today has become synonymous with ‘irrational’. They still have the merit of questioning what our ‘rationality’ consists of, and if it is really in line with our desires. I am certain that it is vital at times to abandon the side of powerlessness, and salutary to join the side of innocence, to remember the ‘why’ questions of our childhood.
Finally, a dance show is essentially a utopia: To express and maintain awareness, to resist the demise of otherness, of the way people might set eyes on others, to resist the screen and how it captures the gaze we cast on others, resisting the screens that captivate and hold our gaze… I tell myself that this is how my utopia might come true.

Philippe Saire

After the experimental NEONS last January, Swiss choreographer Philippe Saire returns with Utopia Mia in Lausanne. A very personal, joyful and endearing piece of work.
Marie Chavanieux, La Terrasse – 26/11/14

When Swiss choreographer Philippe Saire thinks back on his youth, his dancers drift in a multiplicity of physical states. A great public success, “Utopia Mia” is a fantastically vibrant journey.
Pascale Stocker, Le Quotidien Jurassien – 4/12/14

The performance at Théâtre Sévelin 36 in Lausanne opens with a small community of youngsters hanging out, sitting on a sloping platform. Like some miniature Woodstock. Atop their ‘hill’, peace and tranquillity prevail. But sometimes a member of the community escapes and drops down onto the stage’s flat surface. Sometimes, there is no more than the slight movement of a toe. At other times, silence is broken by the powerful sounds of a guitar and the five dancers go wild, throwing their heads backwards and running madly across the stage. The ecstatic frenzy of the 70s is felt, yet it never feels like a cliché. And this is, once again, where the quality of Philippe Saire’s work resides. (…)
In “Utopia Mia”, Philippe Saire remembers his own Woodstock but doesn’t impose any ready-made images, leaving the space open for other utopias…

Isabelle Jakob, Neue Zürcher Zeitung – 28/11/14

The play is charged with the emotion and atmosphere of [Saire’s] previous shows, NEONS especially with Éric Soyer’s beautiful light design. Philippe Saire returns with a truly physical confrontation on the topic of utopia. And in so doing, he relies on the most playful and noticeable aspect of the 1968 revolution: Good old rock music. (…)
Inspired by these tunes, the dancers begin jousting and playing, with solos, duos and in groups. This might be the most interesting element of the show, since it humorously probes the limit between hedonistic dance and individualistic revolutionary stance, with choreography that feeds off the codes of rock music while distorting them into something sharper, epileptic even (…). It is a simple but not simplistic way of questioning an era through its gestures.

Pierre Lepori, Les Matinales – RTS Espace 2 – 21/11/14

Don’t expect this new show to give you an overview of contemporary utopias. Devoid of militancy, simply moved by the Occupy movement and the memory of May ‘68, Philippe Saire gives his point of view, personal and subjective, on these great multi-facetted community dreams. “With this show, I wanted to talk about maintaining our desire for change, alive”, says Saire. “Even if it is difficult, even if it doesn’t work, this is my utopia, in essence. I tried not to date it and it remains personal. Today, on stage, politics should be expressed through its personal implications.” (…)
What is “Utopia Mia” about? Crowd movements, parties which verge on disaster at times, passion, urgency, anger, contagious enthusiasm, and also the difficulty of speaking up. With his performers, the choreographer sought “a choreographed piece that doesn’t aim for distance, dramatization or parody, but on true commitment.”

Mireille Descombes, Le Matin Dimanche – 09.11.14

Philippe Saire

In collaboration with the dancers
Géraldine Chollet, Philippe Chosson, Lee Davern, Maïté Minh Tâm Jeannolin, Antonio Montanile

Roberto Fratini Serafide

Émilie Launay-Bobillot

Set and light design
Éric Soyer

Video design
Renaud Rubiano

Sound design
Stéphane Vecchione

Musical research
Valérie Niederoest

Isa Boucharlat

Nathalie Monod

Technical management
Benoît Michellod (création), Vincent Scalbert (tournées)

Pascal Di Mito

Sound & video mix
Xavier Weissbrodt

Graphic design & photography
Philippe Weissbrodt

Video teaser
Pierre-Yves Borgeaud

Musical sources
Television Marquee Moon, Jefferson Airplane White Rabbit, Set Fire to Flames Your Guts are Like Mine, David Bowie Heroes, X-Ray Spex Oh Bondage, Up Yours!, Major Lazer Get Free, John Lennon Imagine, Pink Floyd Echoes, Nico My Only Child

Anne Brüschweiler, Yann Serez, Benoît Michellod, Philippe Launay, Nicole Seiler, La Manufacture, Arsenic, Studio Mirio, École de Cirque de Lausanne, École-Atelier ShanJu, l’équipe administrative et technique du Théâtre Sévelin 36


Past dates

Lausanne (CH)
Meyrin (CH)
Fribourg (CH)
Delémont (CH)
Bienne (CH)
Olten (CH)
Zug (CH)
Limoges (FR)