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Review: Naia Productions And La Compagnie Maguy Marin Present M at Virtual

Review: Naia Productions And La Compagnie Maguy Marin Present M at Virtual

Maguy Marin, L'Urgence D'Agir (A Time to Act), 2019 is a powerful and riveting film, directed by David Mambouch, giving the viewer a fascinating glimpse into the career and unique choreographic mind of Maguy Marin.

Marin was born in Toulouse, France on June 2, 1951. Her early training consisted of classical ballet from age 8 to age 18 with Norio Youshida. Subsequently, she was admitted to the prestigious Mudra, the school of renowned choreographer Maurice Béjart in Brussels, Belgium. Mudra gave her (and the other students) a sense of emancipation, self-reliance, and critical thinking. As a young person, she was influenced by a close relationship Nimrod, a disabled boy.

We watch interviews with Marin. The film switches from a look at Marin speaking, then continuing to speak as we are treated to film clips and photos of her work. I had seen a piece of hers in Lyon, France, with The Ballet Du Lyon, but had not been able to see her other work on stage. I was thrilled to be able to view partial works that I had not been able to see live, including May B, Babel Babel, La Jeune Fille et La Morte, and her acclaimed Cinderella. It's a real treat to hear the choreographer explain what was on her mind while creating her unusual vision.

Her perspective veers from the conventional idea of dance performance in that she prefers to show aged and disabled bodies rather than young, beautiful bodies doing phenomenal tricks, as she finds that "violent". Her unconventional movements were regarded as grotesque and peculiar. During her career, her performances were sometimes disrupted by those who preferred to see gorgeous bodies dancing, as many walked out during the theater. Funding did eventually come her way so she could create her Centre D'Art, a place to work and create with her company.

Marin spoke of Christiane, one of her dancers and her friend, who had a wonderful sense of humor and understanding of her vision. Some of her dancers also spoke of their lives and their experiences working with Marin. A few of them mentioned Christiane, calling her a pillar of the company, a gateway to the company, and a vital force.

Exploring how differences, politics, injustices, and inequities manifest in the body is an important part of her work. "Always the same: arms, head, knees, face, back, genitals, heart..."

This is a worthwhile film, preserving an important chapter of dance hist contemporary dance history. See it if you are interested in dance.

Photo credit: Didier Grappe

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