Compagnie Philippe Saire

20 Jun 2017 - 12:15

Renowned Compagnie Philippe Saire brings two works to the Institute for Creative Arts

Swiss choreography that verges on visual arts.

An insatiable taste for experiment led world-renowned Swiss choreographer Philippe Saire to create an ongoing series of choreographies on the verge of visual arts. In Dispositifs “Saire mates choreography and visual art in ways to disturb us”, wrote American dance critic, Deborah Jowitt, in 2014 of Black Out, the first work in the series.

The second and third works in this series, NEONS (2014) and Vacuum (2015) will be performed as a double bill at UCT Hiddingh Campus in Cape Town on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 July at 7.30pm. The works are based on spatial and luminous devices and focus on the visual as well as on narrative and movement, combining the visual arts and dance.

This Cape Town leg of a tour which includes performances at the National Arts Festival, is hosted by the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA)  in association with Pro Helvetia. The engagement forms part of the ICA’s mission to expose our publics further to ideas of interdisciplinarity and innovative new work in the creative arts.

NEONS Never Ever Oh! Noisy Shadows stages a couple dancing in a world of lights and shadows. Designed as a stripped-down piece for two dancers, with LED ticker displays and neon lights as only light source, NEONS Never Ever, Oh! Noisy Shadows deals with intimacy and separation. It tells the story of two men about whom we know nothing, but who are going through a difficult time in their relationship. Their story is ours, their separation generic: a couple like any other.

“With the NEONS project, we focus on light itself as the starting point for a process without reducing it to a simple device,” says Saire. ”We deal with the interaction between body, space and light….” The action is refined, intense and at times, full of contained violence.  Performed to a soundtrack featuring Maria Callas, the striking choreography strives on contrasts: power and intimacy, distance and violence, commitment and irony.

In Vacuum, Saire explores further the visual perception of movement with lyrical and inspiring result, as it moves forward through the history of art, from Renaissance paintings to photographic development. Vacuum generates impossible images and fantastic paintings, an interplay of bodies appearing and disappearing between black holes and dazzling lights.

“Vacuum is not a quiz for an informed audience. Spectators are free to associate the images they see with those they see within themselves. They’ll walk out slightly unsteady, bedazzled and mute. With Philippe Saire, emptiness is full, wonderfully full”, wrote Mireille Descombes in L’Hebdo’s blog: Polars, Polis et Cie. 2015

“Once again, I am working with Philippe Chosson and Pep Garrigues,” says Saire,  “with whom we have developed great artistic complicity. There is the added bonus that the performers have similar shaped bodies and can easily be mistaken one for the other, which offers a multiplicity of opportunities to add to the confusion.“

From its foundation in 1986, the Philippe Saire Company has built an international reputation, creating some thirty shows, in situ performances and short films, in 200 cities across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and America. Saire’s interests include visual arts, theatre and cinema—all fields that feature heavily in his consistently intense and refined works, often carrying a touch of darkness.

Cie Philippe Saire is in permanent residency at Théâtre Sévelin 36 located in Lausanne and dedicated to contemporary dance.

Performances will take place on Monday 3 July and Tuesday 4 July 2017 at 7.30pm at the P4 Studio at UCT Hiddingh Campus. Entry is free of charge but seating is limited and RSVP essential, to  or

For more information, contact Marí Stimie at 021 650 7156 or 076 4800 643.

For the Full Press Release click here.

Photography: Philippe Weissbrodt