‘Swapping Shadows’ reviewed

Sunday 11th February 2018

Many thanks to those of you who spoke to me, texted or emailed me after having seen ‘Swapping Shadows’ in January. Your thoughts and encouraging words are all gathered in the ‘spectators’ book’ I have been compiling, alongside the following official reviews:

Yanaëlle Thiran’s charming Swapping Shadows brought warmth and light to the evening. Solo pieces showcased Yanaëlle Thiran and Shivaangee Agrawal’s individual skills in contemporary and Bharatanatyam styles, but it was the duets which were eye- catching and heart-warming: a real dance sisterhood. Yes, Indian forms and contemporary dance are old companions, but the delicacy, respect and genuine curiosity for each other’s form and expression promised something fresh. The audio narrative didn’t engage, but I was gently swept away by the visuals: smooth shapes, loose tumbles and harmonious lines with effective, uncomplicated lighting. Eye-soothing synchronisation, syncopation, mirroring and the dancers’ personal connection made Swapping Shadows joyfully easy to watch.

– Stephanie Brown

'Swapping Shadows' at The Place's Resolution festival, 23/01/2018. Photo by Madeleine Elliott DSCF3509
‘Swapping Shadows’ at The Place’s Resolution Festival, 23/01/2018. Photo by Madeleine Elliott

Yanaelle Thiran performs in her own duet opposite Shivaangee Agrawal. Shadowing each other in movement, they begin at a distance before investigating the whole space. Approaching and retreating from a low level spotlight they split into their constituent roles for solos – Thiran’s languid, long-limbed shapeshifting versus Agrawal’s Bharatanatyam-inspired stamps and whirls – before regrouping. The accompanying texts in French and English are less distracting than the music tracks whose variety unseats an otherwise elegant, well-plotted work.

– Neil Norman

'Swapping Shadows' at The Place's Resolution festival, 23/01/2018. Photo by Madeleine Elliott DSCF3598
‘Swapping Shadows’ at The Place’s Resolution Festival, 23/01/2018. Photo by Madeleine Elliott

These reviews were published on The Place’s website on Wednesday 24th January 2018. Read more at: https://www.theplace.org.uk/blog/resolution-review-2018/tue-23-jan-lydia-touliatouyanaelle-thiranhinged-dance-co

P.S. If you are reading this and have any more thoughts on the piece, please drop me a line. Your feedback will surely inform or help shape my future choreographic projects!


“Swapping Shadows” ou échanger d’ombres

Dimanche 4 février 2018

Ce texte, ceux et celles d’entre vous qui étaient au théâtre The Place le 23 janvier dernier l’ont entendu, apprécié et demandé en version écrite. Le voici donc :

Reste dans l’ombre.
Reste dans l’ombre.
Écoute, observe
Sans dire un mot.
Ensuite, enfin, lève la main.

Si mon ombre avait un bruit,
il serait doux,
ça ne fait pas l’ombre d’un doute.
Pas menaçante pour un sou. Rien à craindre.
Vous, dans la pénombre.
Elle, aussi.
Sur un pied d’égalité,
Ou à peu près.

Surtout, surtout, surtout : ne pas vous faire de l’ombre.
Prendre toute la lumière ?
Devant vous, dans l’obscurité ?
Qui m’y autorise ?
Qui m’en empêche, hein ?
On échange ?

Des parts d’ombre …
Des doutes …
En pleine lumière.
Du bruit. Ma respiration, le martèlement de mes pas.
Bouger. Plus vite que mon ombre. Plus vite que mon ombre ! M’arrêter ? Au risque de vous ennuyer ? Non ! Vous n’êtes pas là pour ça. Vous ayez choisi de passer votre soirée à l’ombre des jeunes filles de fleur, des danses de jeunes chorégraphes émergentes, prometteuses … Originales ? Ou suiveuses ? A leurs côtés, je ne suis sans doute que l’ombre de moi-même. Balbutiante. Débutante. Vulnérable.

On échange ?

L’ombre de Londres,
Mes héros, ces géants,
Fantômes de The Place,
Chorégraphes, enseignants,
Hantent mes mouvements,
Hantent mes pensées.

Naviguer sur leurs traces, ne pas sombrer
L’illusion : les suivre comme leur ombre. Y croire !
Je n’arriverai … ja-mais
Je n’arriverai peut-être jamais à les dépasser.
Seulement les suivre !
Discrète, muette comme une ombre,
Non, pas muette comme une tombe.

Pour aller de l’avant.

Texte écrit et enregistré par Yanaëlle Thiran pour Swapping Shadows

Première : Londres, 23 janvier 2018.

Photos : Madeleine Rose Elliott

Costume : Akshy Marayen

Lumières : Sally Somerville-Woodiwis

Behind the scenes: ‘Swapping Shadows’

2018-01-22 Costumes IMG_5409_1024
Costumes drying after our last rehearsal at Elizabeth House, 22/01/2018

Sunday 28th January 2018

‘Swapping Shadows’ premiered 5 days ago to a sold-out theatre. No wonder it took me a couple of days to land from cloud nine. I have been wanting to blog about it, without knowing where to start from. What to show? What to share? I wish you could all have experienced the piece live. How could photos and reviews account for it? Should I let you read what other people thought, or share my own text and thoughts first?

Well, let me take you backstage, where it all began and where everything took shape. Photos, texts, reviews and footage from the show will follow little by little over the next few weeks.

On Monday this week, Shivaangee and I had our very last rehearsal at Elizabeth House. Our costumes and lighting designers Akshy and Sally came to support us and check all final details. One of Shivaangee’s friends also watched us and gave us very encouraging feedback that morning. The centre’s director Nathalie Renaud saw our last run through the piece and said it took her on a journey – a journey I hope to continue further, with many more spectators…

2018-01-23 Roses IMG_5412_1024
Four roses for my four collaborators, discreetly displayed in the dressing rooms. The Place theatre, 23/01/2018

Tuesday was the big day, with a 3-hour long technical rehearsal on stage, and the show’s premiere in the evening. The time had finally come to put our dance under the spotlights! It was a joy to tread across the stage and see everything come together, under the eager eyes of our photographers.

Between the tech run and the actual show, I took a break and shared some cupcakes with my sister who had freshly arrived from France. We stopped by the florist, so I could buy roses for my collaborators before picking up our parents and their friends from St Pancras International station. I left them shortly before 6pm to get into the zone for this long-waited-for performance.

Studio 7 was empty – a white blank page where calmness and focus would prepare me to ‘write’ the night. Between the dark windows and familar sounds of stamping feet above my head, I saw my 18 years old self, Second Year student at LCDS. There in this very studio, she used to come, solo. Rehearsing, trying again and again to make movements that would match this or that piece of music. Here she was again. Morning ballet class. Hair in a bun and leotard. Fighting for turn out, jumping, pirouetting, sweating… and perhaps not breathing enough.

2018-01-23 Backstage 19.21.02
Pre-performance selfie in Studio 7, 23/01/2018

Now there I was. Singing the last tune of my piece. Same dancer, same (but even further trained) body, now aged 23. A graduate, returning, wanna-be emerging artist. Dancer/choreographer, proud to have her work programmed at The Place’s Resolution festival. To me, performing there felt like homecoming. It was The Place where I belonged.


Du temps et de l’espace !

Jeudi 14 décembre 2017

A dix jours de Noël, alors que toute la faculté de danse du conservatoire Laban est en vacances, Shivaangee et moi profitons du calme et de l’espace du bâtiment. Des studios vides et libres comme des pages blanches. Le décor idéal pour chorégraphier les derniers morceaux de “Swapping Shadows” – à savoir, le prologue de la pièce et nos solos.

'Swapping Shadows' (preview). London, 03/12/2017. Photo by June Essex
Yanaëlle Thiran et Shivaangee Agrawal dans “Swapping Shadows” (preview). Londres, 03/12/2017. Photo: June Essex

Eh non ! Je n’avance pas vraiment dans l’ordre chronologique. Franchement, je n’ose même pas calculer le nombre d’heures, de jours et de semaines de répétitions que nous avons déjà consacrées à cette création. L’important, c’est que notre duo prend vraiment forme maintenant. Patience, vous verrez … Rendez-vous à The Place le 23 janvier

Au fait, avez-vous réservé vos places ?

Ou, vous qui êtes à l’étranger, avez-vous jeté un coup d’œil au site du théâtre ? Il faut le voir pour le croire : mon nom est au programme ! Et pas seulement sur internet : “Swapping Shadows” apparait aussi dans la brochure papier que j’ai photographiée pour vous. Devinez à qui sont ces ombres :

Pages extraites de la brochure du festival Resolution 2018 à The Place
Pages extraites de la brochure du festival Resolution 2018 à The Place


Note for my English speaking readers: fear not! There is more to come soon, and my next post will be in English of course.

“Swapping Shadows” : nous voilà !

Jeudi 23 novembre 2017

Aujourd’hui, c’est J moins 2 mois pour la représentation de “Swapping Shadows”, mon spectacle en cours de création pour le festival Resolution 2018, à The Place.

2017-11-23 The Place theatre IMG_4846_1024Aujourd’hui, donc, je me suis rendue au théâtre pour la session de “pré-production” offerte à tous les chorégraphes participant au festival. Nos collaborateurs étant les bienvenus, j’avais donné rendez-vous à mon équipe au 17, Duke’s Road. The Place for dance.

C’est l’occasion de vous présenter la team “Swapping Shadows” : de gauche à droite, voici Sally Somerville-Woodiwis, notre scénographe et éclairagiste, Shivaangee Agrawal, qui danse avec moi dans la pièce, et Akshy Marayen, costumière. Vous connaissez la chorégraphe !

Assises côte à côte sur les fauteuils du théâtre, nous avons passé une demi-journée intensive entre les projecteurs, hauts-parleurs, fumigènes et filtres de couleurs. Oui, la magie du théâtre était dans l’air, mais elle n’effaçait pas ma conscience des heures de travail encore à venir pour que ce projet puisse aboutir. Ces petits pincements de stress mêlé d’émotion, inévitables dans le monde du spectacle, me sont chers et précieux, bien qu’ils se fassent rares.

D’ici au 23 janvier, vous pourrez suivre l’avancement du projet sur ce blog et sur ma page Facebook. Je vous donnerai bientôt les dates de nos “previews” et répétitions ouvertes. Mes articles seront publiés en français puis en anglais, en alternance, mais n’hésitez pas à me contacter dans une langue ou l’autre pour en savoir plus !


Leading my own Choreo Lab

Monday 19th June 2017, Siobhan Davies Dance

I’m proud to have led an hour and a half long session at Siobhan Davies Dance, as part of the Young Artists Choreography Lab! It was the 3rd of a series of 4 workshops delivered and attended by recent graduate dancers or ‘dance-curious’ people like me.

Simple & inspiring theme, knots!!

Knotting and unknotting – dance phrase by Yanaëlle Thiran

One of the seven participants said that she ‘loved learning the part of the phrase’, which you can watch above. So I’m curious to hear your thoughts, dear readers and friends: what do you think? What does this type of movement evoke for you? As another participant puts it:

How is the knot physicalised? Is it mental, is it metaphoric, is it your body knotted?

There a lots of approaches.

I really enjoy improvisation so I liked the fact that you gave us freedom to explore ideas & [that you were] flexible with your phrase

Teaching resources for my Choreography Lab at Siobhan Davies Dance, 19/06/2017

I found it very fascinating how many stimuli you receive from such a simple starting point!

Indeed, not only did we work from movement material and improvisation tasks, but also from props, text and images … with a selection of inspiring music, of course!

I loved working with the rope – a physical object to play with in so many different ways. And interesting to see how to play in the same way without the rope.

In brief?

Nice physical experiment on idea of knots. Encouraging practice, inspiring. Looking forward to see more work 🙂

And next time I get to teach this kind of workshop, we will explore

group knotting please!

A participant found the session ‘super well organised!’ Somebody else describes it as ‘very engaging, flows well’ and adds:

 need longer 🙂

Yes, I had a few more activities planned … But there’s never enough time!

Version française disponible sur demande !