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Dec 2022 /Jan 2023


Dec 2022 /Jan 2023

Andy De Groat, inspirations et libertés at CN D

Andy De Groat, the man as well as the choreographer, was contradictorily several characters at the same time: fascinated by the classical repertoire and also tasting the baroque imagination or certain modern radicalities; alternately minimalist and flamboyant; almost lyrical, here and there, displaying all abstraction; seized in some work by the combinatory constraint when elsewhere, it is by the imperatives of a narrative or the setting in play of various characters. A large exhibition revisits the career of this extraordinary artist who has entrusted his archives to the CN D. Regular events punctuate this rendez-vous with a work to be seen or discovered: performances, round table discussions, daily classes, workshops for professional dancers, all thanks to the commitment of the company which is now reviving the work of the choreographer.


Andy De Groat was born in 1947 in the United States. He met director Robert Wilson in 1967 in New York and worked with his company as a dancer and choreographer from Deafman Glance (1971) to Einstein on the Beach (1976). In 1982, he moved to Paris and founded the Red Notes company. From this period onwards, his writing became more complex, sometimes combining contemporary and classical vocabularies. In parallel to his own productions, he developed a project and a repertoire for Wah Loo Tin Tin co., a company of young dancers aged seven to seventeen in Montauban, France. His body of work comprises more than sixty productions, presented in twenty countries. The CCINP Andy De Groat is an association created by the choreographer’s former collaborators. Since 2019, it has conceived, defined and built the project of preserving, transmitting and showcasing the choreographer’s work. It strives to do so in the spirit of vivacity, curiosity, artistic hybridity and humour that characterise Andy De Groat’s world.

A noble and wild character, “both funny and ferocious’’, according to some, a brilliant and confusing choreographer, demanding and even capricious, for others, or ‘‘a knight with a never-weary concern’’ : Andy De Groat (1947-2019), the man as well as the artist, is difficult to grasp in a single formula. Not because he is a being of synthesis, on the contrary, but because – from whatever side one wants to look at him -, a feature, a facet, a piece, a memory left behind immediately contradicts the idea one had of him, the color one attributed to him, the quality one found the most accurate to define him.

Andy De Groat knew how to be, was, contradictorily, several beings at once : fascinated by the classical repertoire and also tasting the baroque imagination or certain modern radicalities ; alternately minimalist and flamboyant ; almost lyrical, here, and there, displaying all abstraction ; seized in such a work by the combinatorial constraint when, elsewhere, he was seized by the imperatives of a narrative or the features of various characters.
In the creator, director of bodies but also of ‘‘ideas’’, in the Mallarméan way, textual sources and iconographic sources have concurred, the ideal of a sophisticated, irreducible poetics, and the taste of a generous and light-hearted fantasy, the research of the form and the temptation of the comment. Of the man, one could know the passion or the indifference, the tenderness or the anger, the humility of the wise child and the moods of the spoiled child, the melancholy and the sarcasm.

In his work, as in his life journey, however, several salient features and characteristics speak more clearly than others of who this major artist was – an atypical figure in the dance landscape of his time – and of the quality and originality of his work. This is what this exhibition, based on the archives the choreographer donated to the CN D, wishes to show the public. Between New York and Montauban, from the Andy De Groat dancers to the youth company Wah Loo Tin Tin co, via Red notes and the Groupe de recherches de l’Opéra de Paris, from friends Robert Wilson and Jerome Robbins to dancers still cultivating his heritage, from the purity of “spinning” to the multiple iterations of Fan dance, from the excesses of La Bayadère to those of La Folie d’Igitur, the exhibition speaks of his dual Franco-American roots and a form of nomadism, his consideration for performers and the loyalty of his friends, the importance music had for him and his collage or reworking processes, his recourse to counting and various writing or drawing practices, his openness to children and amateurs and his complex relations with the professional world, but also the coexistence in the same life of fame and isolation, prestige and economic difficulty.


Andy De Groat, Red Notes, 1980 © Christiane Robin, Médiathèque du CN D, Fonds Andy De Groat

Andy De Groat, Red Notes, 1980 © Christiane Robin, Médiathèque du CN D, Fonds Andy De Groat

Andy De Groat, Fan Dance, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1981 / collection de photographies de la revue « Pour la danse »

Andy De Groat, festival Danse à Aix, 1982, détail©Christiane Robin, Médiathèque du CN D – Fonds Andy De Groat



Two months around the work of the choreographer Andy De Groat (1947-2019)


14th April – 24th June 2022


CN D – Centre national de la danse