News: Charmatz takes over TATE

Saturday 9 May 2015 by Clare Evans

What if Tate Modern was Musée de la danse?
Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Tate Modern will become a Musée de la danse next weekend, as French choreographer Boris Charmatz and a company of 100 dancers temporarily occupy London’s home of modern art.

Since 2009, Charmatz has been director of the ground-breaking National Choreographic Centre in Rennes (France) which he provocatively renamed Musée de la danse, reframing the traditional dance company and the dance house as a new kind of museum. At the heart of this “dancing museum” is a desire to open up the boundaries of what is considered choreography and dance in society today and create new physical spaces and situations to redefine them.

When dance moves into an art gallery or museum, the effect can be physically energising. It can not only position the audience into a new relationship with the choreography, it can shake up the building itself. Charmatz himself regards the concept of the museum as a liberating one. For him it’s not about history or heritage, not a showcase of inert and priceless objects, its simply a physical space that takes on the meaning of whatever happens to be put inside it. When he converts the Tate into his Musée de la danse, the whole point of Charmatz’s project is that he won’t know, until it’s happening, exactly what that museum will be.

Read more: The Guardian, 8 May 2015

Although Charmatz is not the first choreographer to introduce dance into unusual places, since taking over Musée de la Danse in France, he has been religiously seeking answers to the question of the place of dance in the world, and what the merging of theatres and galleries could contribute to both art forms.

“Everybody thought it was stupid, because dance would die in a museum,” he says. “But now museums are evolving from object-oriented collections to experiences.”

Read more: Evening Standard, 8 May 2015

BMW Tate Live: If Tate Modern was Musée de la Danse? will be throughout Tate Modern 15-16 May. Admission free (some performances ticketed)

What’s On