Le Pli (The Fold) is an hour-long dance piece conceived collaboratively with the French choreographer Laura Arend. It is a commission of the New York-based dance company Laboration Art Company.
The piece is composed for an organist and a percussionist placed in the middle of the stage and surrounded by four dancers.
Le Pli will be premiered at Le Carreau National Theater in Forbach, France, on 11 May 2012.
Le Pli transposes into choreography the abstract esthetic of 17th-century keyboard music and the Cartesian spirit of the philosophy of that period.
Musical and choreographic development focuses on the gradual ornamentation of a regular, geometric and emotionless framework, like a spider's thread that slowly becomes an architectural work.
This ornamenting process starts, reverses and restarts continuously during the piece. Thus the piece appears to breathe: it folds, then unfolds; winds, then unwinds in constant transition between geometric emptiness and frilly extravagance.
Folding and Unfolding
The fold is the building block of the piece. It is the fold of sound heard in the ornamentation that invades the musical space—as in Sweelinck's keyboard variations, where a square and empty canvas gradually fills up with the proliferation of ornaments.
It is also the visible fold in the bodies of the dancers, who start from basic gestures, then fold and unfold until they form a complex, formal, Cartesian choreography, focused on technique and the expressive elegance of gestures.
Deleuze and the baroque fold
Le Pli is an homage to the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, whose work The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque perfectly captures the esthetic of the 17th century.