AUDIENCE REVIEW: Blois Danse Festival in France
AZOTH Dance Theatre, shawnbibledanceco., Ayalis in Motion, Fabio Liberti, Marge dances, Shelley Siller Dance, Kizuna Dance
I attended the International Choreographic Festival of Blois, named Blois Danse, and although this was not an event happening in New York I felt like I had to write about it. If you happen to be in France like me early July, I urge you to attend this festival, it was breathtaking.
A couple of years ago, I attended a performance of the dance company AZOTH Dance Theatre in New York, and I remember this performance to be a life changing event for me. The choreographies were charged with so many emotions, it was so intense and beautiful that it felt like I was seeing dance for the first time. I signed up to the mailing list of the company after the show, hoping to see more performances. And here I was, on a 10-day vacation in Paris when I received a newsletter from the company, advertising the Festival Blois Danse, that they were producing. We took the train from Paris with my husband and we went to Blois to attend the first show, on Friday July 5th. Wow ! Neither myself nor my husband regretted this decision. The theatre was just amazing, it was an incredible old fashion Greek-like theatre with pols made out of rock in the back of the stage, so beautiful. And the performance was exceptional. I personally really enjoyed the piece « Don’t, kiss », from an Italian choreographer. It was intense and I imagine that any couple or anyone that has ever been in a relationship could relate to this piece. I discovered as well a NYC-based company that I did not know about : Shawnbibledanceco. The piece was excellent, beautifully performed and the dancers were amazing. I also had fun watching the dancer Shelley Siller on stage, she was so entertaining. The show concluded with a piece from the company I wanted to see, AZOTH Dance Theatre ! It was a piece I did not see at the show I attended in NYC. It was entitled "Rain". This piece was out of this world, I think I cried the whole time, both from excitement and other intense emotions felt just by watching this masterpiece. The dancers were amazing, so was the choreography. There was also video projections as well as a very interesting set design, which made this piece a very complete art work. I mean, this piece was just perfection, it was so well crafted and smart and yet so emotional and beautiful and the ending just got me on the edge of my seat. Until the very last second, they managed to surprise the audience. This performance comforted me in the way I felt about this dance company, they are extraordinary and I wished everyone knew about them and attended their performances.
My husband and I were so happy, moved and energized after this Friday performance that we decided to stay for the weekend in Blois and attend all the performances. The Saturday performance was amazing as well, my husband loved marge dances’ work, and I must say she was quite fabulous and blessed with incredible abilities. The company Kizuna Dance performed « Koibitos », which was also a very interesting work and quite hip hop-inspired, which was nice. I think that a great thing from this festival was that we could see an astonishing program with different dance aesthetics.
AZOTH Dance Theatre performed « Madeleine » and « Black Sand ». I saw these pieces in NYC and it is just like in my memory : two incredible masterpieces. « Madeleine » is so intense and powerful, so emotional and incredibly beautiful and the dancer performing the bride is amazing. Congratulations to her to perform with such a big wedding dress, what a performance. Here again the choreography is very smart. « Black Sand » is a magical piece as well. It brings you to a different world and both the music, the incredibly talented dancers and the choreography seduce the audience. The piece is both so strong and so gracefully beautiful.
Sunday was the last show, we saw 2 pieces from the Friday program, « Don’t, Kiss » from Fabio Liberti and « Pythagorean Peas » from Ayalis in Motion, and I must say it was great to see them a second time because I felt like I could understand and enjoy them better. So much fun again with the pieces from the fabulous Shelley Siller and Margaret Allen ! And of course AZOTH Dance Theatre with two pieces that delighted us : « Ad Aeternam », which was a very intriguing and poetic piece with beautiful orange fabric and « Trio », which was another wonderful piece. So athletic and so many amazing parts in this choreography, including the triangle taped onstage. Very exciting lifts. I had chills while watching the piece ans the lighting was very well-chosen.
We took advantage of staying in Blois the whole weekend for the festival to also attend one of the two short film screenings, on Saturday July 6th. It took place in a very cute little movie theatre and the program here as well was great. I particularly enjoyed the films « Brothers » and « Between the Lines »
I can claim that I am definitely a fan of AZOTH Dance Theatre ! Their work is unique and exceptional. Each piece tells a story and in their work has a meaning and leaves the audience with emotions. I think it’s a rare gift that they have and which they offer. Bravo AZOTH Dance Theatre and Jonathan Breton, their visionary choreographer. This festival is a MUST the organization was so perfect and the program was amazing. I wish we could see more festivals of this caliber in the US and in NYC.
I definitely loved discovering all these other companies as well and I just hope to attend more of their performances, especially Shawnbibledanceco.
Thanks to this festival we also had the chance to discover this cute little town of Blois, which we would have never visited if it was not for the festival. If this festival happens every year, maybe holidays in France over the summer should become an habit.