Kate McIntosh / Martine Pisani video

Nicky Molloy, Head of Dance & Performance at Southbank Centre, talks about two pieces coming to Southbank Centre this week: Kate McIntosh’s All Natural and Martine Pisani’s sans (without)

Get to know… Martine Pisani

Martine Pisani - copyright Sebastien Dolidon

Born in Marseille (France), Martine Pisani started her career in the 1980s as a self-taught dancer. Following a series of fertile encounters with American experimental dance artists David Gordon and Yvonne Rainer, as well as French choreographer Odile Duboc amongst many, she went on to become a national name as a choreographer in the early 1990s by setting up her own company. She regularly tours her work internationally, having created fifteen pieces, including sans (2000), which comes to Southbank Centre on Friday 5 March.

What do you fear the most ?
In a theatre, often the light goes down in the audience, then the sound and light are turned on stage, and I get scared.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
This is too indiscreet a question.

What – or where – is perfection?
I would say perfection can be found in nature.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
At the moment it’s Yorick, Lawrence Sterne’s character and pseudonyme in ‘A sentimental journey through France and Italy by Mr Yorick’

What’s your favourite ritual?
Sharing simple things and laughing with friends. Maybe ritual is not the right word, but I like to repeat some gestures every day.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
It depends. Often it’s an older person who has kept her/his ability to laugh at her/himself. If admiring means loving, I admire writers like Olivier Cadiot but he is not the only writer I love and he is not that old…

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
Your question implies I already have talent – thank you.
So a missing talent would be to have a good sense of repartee.

What’s your favourite website?
wordreference.com, ubu.com

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
There would be quite a few artists I’d like to invite.
And there also would be a lot of work for the audience to be patient, not to be in a hurry, not to expect something extraordinary, not to be prejudiced, for the audience to be ready and able to listen, to feel free, just like the invited artists.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
What do I know ?

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
I really like people who talk live on radio, who tell stories, fluff, say one thing then another, go quiet live. The music I play most on my itunes are Ma vie” (Alain Barrière), “Volare”, “Ishmael”(Abdullah Ibrahim), “Love Is A Losing Game” (Amy Winehouse), “Contrapunctus IV” (Glenn Gould/Bach), “Cant78 : duetto: sopra/alto” (Bach)

Three reasons we love Martine Pisani’s sans

Sans, a piece for three men by French choreographer Martine Pisani, is coming to Southbank Centre on Friday 5 March. Here are three reasons we in the Southbank Centre Dance team like this piece.

  1. The piece makes you smile.
    No matter what we say, one thing is for sure: sans is playful and entertaining.
  2. It’s got fantastic performances by the three men on stage.
    Theo Kooijman, Laurent Pichaud and Olivier Schram are very different in terms of background and physical presence, and the choreographer has used this to its full potential. There is a strong connection between the three of them, as well as a confident and comfortable bond with the audience.
  3. sans is simple yet satisfyingly complex.
    Much of the movement is pedestrian (i.e. not strictly technical in a classical or contemporary sense), there is a simplicity and spontaneity to it,  but it’s not improvised. As you watch the work, you can actually get an insight into some of the structural elements that may go into the making of a dance piece. Choreographers use different techniques to create the movements themselves, and the phrasing that links everything together. One for example is mirroring, and there is a great section half way through sans where the men are copying and in a sense seeming to mimick each other. Later, they play with the convention of partnering, including the potential difficulties of working with partners of different sizes. Another good example is when they try to communicate with the audience. Without the convention of mime (in story ballets, dancers use clear mime gestures to convey certain meaning and create a narrative), their attempts become more and more desperate and, inthis instance, comical.

So sans is funny, with great performances and a simple yet complex structure. We hope you join us in March to see why audiences are still enthralled by this work, ten years after its premiere. Tickets available from Southbank Centre website.