An Homage to the French Choreographer Alain Buffard (1960-2013)

May 2, 2014 | By French Culture

The contemporary dance and international artistic community lost a true visionary and friend with the passing of Alain Buffard late last year, on December 21st, 2013.

Trained at the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers with Alwin Nikolaïs, Buffard began his career interpreting for Daniel Larrieu, Régine Chopinot and Philippe Decouflé. After meeting Anna Halprin and Yvonne Rainer in 1996, an encounter that changed the trajectory of his career, he created the solo-piece Good Boy followed by a dozen choreographic works that continue to resonate with us artistically and emotionally. It includes Good Boy (1998), Mauvais Genre (2003), Les Inconsolés (2005) Not a Love Song (2007) and Baron Samedi (2012) among others.

In the U.S., he has presented: Good Boy, Mauvais Genre in collaboration with American choreographers and performers, Les Inconsolés and his film, My lunch with Anna with Anna Halprin.

As a curator, he has exhibited at La Criée (Rennes-2002), Tanzquartier (Wien-2005), and Nîmes (2013).

For more than 30 years, Buffard inspired the world with a style that was as eclectic as it was indefinable introducing us to works that sprang from a singular universe while still reflecting a sensitive perspective of the world and the human condition.

As a means of paying tribute to this exceptional artist, the festival Danse: A French-American Festival of Performance & Ideas is dedicated to Alain

His last creation, BARON SAMEDI, is being presented at New York Live Arts in New York May 1st-3rd  www.newyorklivearts.org

Contemporaries, journalists, and dance personalities shared some of their fond memories of Buffard:

“I am a deep admirer of the late, singular French choreographer Alain Buffard” Carla Peterson, Artistic Director of New York Live Arts

“Before meeting Alain, in October 1998, I met Alain's work. For me, life has been a "before" and an "after"  Good Boy. Good Boy is one of those rare works that one comes across in life and remains embedded in one’s thoughts. Alain, his face, and Alain, his work will always be with me. ” Sophie Claudel, Cultlural Attaché at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States

"A videotape of a piece called Good Boy by Alain Buffard came to me from out of nowhere sometime in the early 2000’s. I watched it, mesmerized, laughing out loud at the cheek of it (pun intended). It was clever and smart but it wasn’t really funny. It was a work that spoke to the AIDS crisis in France, from France, in a way I hadn’t seen before. I saw Alain’s next work in Paris, then saw Mauvais Genre in Tours in 2004, a magnified and expanded version of Good Boy with a cast of well known French dancers and choreographers. I wondered how that would translate to a cast of well known New York dancers and choreographers. I knew it would look beautiful and would soar in the sanctuary of St. Mark’s Church where Danspace Project presents its season. I knew that the final scene, accompanied by the song “New York, New York”, would be different in New York than in France but I thought it would stand up. I knew that the New York dance community had had a long and difficult slog through the AIDS crisis and we hoped it was behind us but one was never sure. We would be casting survivors. Alain knew it would work. Danspace had never “produced” a piece before but, with the encouragement and support of Emmanuelle de Montgazon and Nicole Bloom, and with the hard work of my colleague Abby Harris Holmes, we managed to do it in 2006. It was completely and utterly unforgettable; it was and will always remain an extraordinary testament to Alain." Laurie Uprichard, Executive Director of Danspace Project from 1992-2007

“Artiste engagé, défenseur insatiable des libertés, Alain Buffard savait nous inviter à réfléchir à notre statut d’homme et notre relation à l’autre, au travers de ses œuvres, à la fois fragiles et fortes, violentes et délicates, toujours porteuses de sens.” Aurélie Filipetti, Ministre de la Culture et de la Communication en France 

“Cet artiste chorégraphique, âgé de 53 ans, incarnait toute l’amplitude dynamique de la danse française : depuis les grands éclats des années 1980, jusqu’à son hybridation avec la performance, au plus fendu du lien entre intime et politique.” Gérard Mayen, Le Mouvement

“Inconsolé lui-même, il marque la danse contemporaine, la toucha, monta au créneau pour défendre les droits de l’homme et le métier de danseur. Bye, good boy” Marie-Christine Vernay, Libération

“Tranchant, offensif, sans concession. Le danseur et chorégraphe contemporain Alain Buffard possédait un tempérament vif qu’il a conservé intact tout au long de sa carrière. ” Rosita Boisseau, Le Monde


 

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