Three women and three men strive to maintain their balance on an elevated, moving, and unstable platform. As the suspended platform spins at full speed and begins to sway, this minimalist circle of humanity struggles to stay upright. Or is it struggling for survival, to stay together, to escape the fall? Permanently out of balance on this aerial raft, their movements are dictated by physical constraints and survival instincts.
In Celui Qui Tombe [The One Who Falls], Yoann Bourgeois seeks to deepen a unique theatrical experience by radicalizing the preexisting prejudices that arise from situations where there is a balance of power.
Centrifugal force, pendulum swinging, and gravity form the landscape of his playground. And his quest for the perfect point, the search for the balancing point, becomes the furtive moment when the object thrown in the air reaches the top of its arc and seems to hover just before the fall, the moment when everything seems possible...
This poetic, fantastic, epic ballet is a powerful metaphor for the need to help each other.
Concept, direction, and scenography Yoann Bourgeois
Performers Jean-Baptiste André, Marie Bourgeois, Julien Cramillet, Jean-Yves Phuong, Sarah Silverblatt-Buser, Francesca Ziviani, Kerem Gelebek, Marie Vaudin
Artistic assistance during creation Marie Fonte
Vocal work Caroline Blanpied, Jean-Baptiste Veyret-Logerias
Lights Adèle Grépinet
Sound Antoine Garry
Costumes Ginette / Sigolène Petey
Stage and set design Nicolas Picot, Pierre Robelin, and Cen Constructions
General administration David Hanse
Stage management Alexis Rostain / Étienne Debraux
Light technician Magali Larché / Julien Louisgrand
Sound technician Benoît Marchand
Production CCN2 – Grenoble National Choreographic Center, directed by Yoann Bourgeois and Rachid Ouramdane
Coproduction Cie Yoann Bourgeois – MC2 in Grenoble / Biennale de la Danse de Lyon – Théâtre de la Ville, Paris / Maison de la Culture de Bourges / L’Hippodrome national theater in Douai / Le Manège de Reims national theater / Le Parvis national theater in Tarbes Pyrénées / Théâtre du Vellein / La Brèche national center for the circus arts in Cherbourg-Octeville / Théâtre National de Bretagne in Rennes.
Residencies MC2 in Grenoble / La Brèche national center for the circus arts in Cherbourg-Octeville.
Project management and construction Ateliers de la Maison de la Culture in Bourges / Cénic Constructions / C3 Sud Est
With the support of the ADAMI artistic rights agency, the SPEDIDAM artistic rights agency, and Petzl. SPEDIDAM is a collection and distribution company that manages performers' rights in terms of recording, broadcasting, and reuse of recorded performances.
With creation support from the DGCA.
Yoann Bourgeois benefits from the support of the BNP Paribas Foundation for the development of his projects.
CCN2 is funded by the Drac Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes / Ministry of Culture and Communication, Grenoble-Alpes metro area, the Department of Isère, and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, while also receiving support from Institut Français for international tours.
"Yoann Bourgeois has written Celui Qui Tombe, a dizzying offering to unbalance. Emerging from the theater's rafters with a cracking crash, a light wood platform sways as it descends, an imposing suspended raft. Thus Celui Qui Tombe begins, with the deployment of this impressive device. As with his previous show, the sublime L'Art de la Fugue, this one does not fit into any category. Theater? Dance? Installation? Street performance? Circus? All mixed together and more? As always, it is of little importance."
– Rue 89, J-P Thibaudat
"Celui Qui Tombe has been sculpted in all simplicity to become as luminous, poetic, and indisputable as Newton's law."
– Le Figaro, Ariane Bavelier
Celui Qui Tombe, or the invention of choreographic gravity according to Yoann Bourgeois. Rapture at the edge of the void... the vision of the six dancers, caught in the centrifugal force will remain one of the great moments of this autumn... Celui Qui Tombe is a tribute to fear, whether it is of the void or of humanity.
– Les Inrocks, Philippe Noisette
"The circus confronts him with, 'a device allowing him to reveal his quality as a human being,' he says, in reference to the work by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben that argues an individual is a different subject depending on what tools they use. In Celui Qui Tombe, the tool is monumental: an apparatus capable of orienting itself in all axes, of swaying, and of turning at high speed. A vertiginous challenge that Yoann Bourgeois takes up by pushing the negotiations with weightlessness to their limits, to the point of being ejection..."
– Télérama, Emmanuelle Bouchez
"Celui Qui Tombe thrusts the performers to the verge of vertigo… An astonishing metaphor for life, Yoann Bourgeois' latest creation accentuates the human ability to adapt and survive. The ingenuity and skill of these high-flying acrobats must be seen as they strive to overcome challenges and remain upright..."
– Le Journal du Dimanche, A. Chénieux
Yoann Bourgeois grew up in a small village in the Jura area of France, and the rest went by very quickly... He trained at ENACR (the national school of circus arts in Rosny-sous-Bois), then at the CNAC circus arts center in Châlons-en-Champagne while also following the contemporary dance program at the CNDC national dance center in Angers. After his time as a permanent performer in the company of the choreographer Maguy Marin from 2006 to 2010, he set up his own company in 2010.
In recent years, he and his accomplices have been using an uninterrupted creative process to implement a program that consists of defusing time and is called "Attempts to Approach a Suspension Point".
His work is marked by in-depth knowledge of games, in particular games involving vertigo and simulacrum, which he explores and shares through his player’s workshop. His creations are unique because they reinvigorate the traditional artistic number by incorporating various inventions and eloquent physical devices. These spectacular and autonomous devices allow him to perform anywhere, particularly where he is not expected. As a result, in recent years, his Fugue Trampoline performance has become one of the most emblematic shows of the new generation of circus artists.
An outstanding acrobat, he expands his practice by designing multiple devices that seek to make the point of apogee perceptible. Each of his devices revolves around the notion of being suspended, and over the years he has developed a growing body of work that forms "Attempts to Approach a Point of Suspension". This work is part of a more comprehensive search for a universal and technically rigorous language.
An enthusiast of wide-open spaces, in 2017, he produced an in-situ creation at the Pantheon called La Mécanique de l’Histoire, which was an attempt to approach a suspension point, thanks to an exceptional carte blanche offered by the Monuments Nationaux agency. Amateur videos of the event have become viral sensations and cemented his international reputation.
A tireless explorer of new horizons, in 2018, he and Michel Reilhac created one of the very first choreographic works for virtual reality and mixed reality: the Fugue VR.
Since 2016, he has been co-directing the CCN2 – Grenoble National Choreographic Center with the choreographer Rachid Ouramdane. This unique leadership combination is based on openness to the territory and the decompartmentalization of disciplines.
Yoann Bourgeois, whose life is dedicated to the performing arts, is the first circus artist to lead a national choreography center.