On the Night Shift


Download technical rider (pdf)

Fire, Motion, Rhythm.

It is not pointless to say that fire becomes a musical instrument through our hands. The scores of fire is a good reflection of its deepest nature: before being colors, heat and forms, fire is an expression of time. Of course, we know how to synchronize it, let off, impulse, but it is when the fire is free that it is the most beautiful. We often say that fire is a soloist, an enlightened dancer and an explosive musician that we would have invited. Playing with fire is also to share it with the audience. We are purveyors of a vital energy that expresses itself in these moments of sharing, when the audience is invited to enter the spiral.
Shouts, drums, sparks.

>> click here to see the teaser trailer of the show - 90 sec

On the Night Shift was originaly created for the London 2012 Festival..

London 2012 Festival opening event in Windermere (UK) / Preston Guild Festival (UK) / Festival ARTEC (F) / Festival Les Années Joué (F) / National day celebration in Toulouse (F) / Boulevard Festival (NL)…

INTERVIEW : about dance.
Raymond Gabriel, Les Commandos Percu Artistic Director interviewed by Jenny Graham, Kendal Arts International.

Does the show/ dance relate to the Olympics in any way – the dancers are holding fireworks, is this anything to do with the Olympic Torch?
We asked this question to our beloved producers at the beginning of the project. They answered: be yourself! I think that if the actual spirit of the Olympic Games is about sharing values between people of the Earth, we can say that we relate to its spirit. Besides, the symbol of the Olympic Torch - Fire rallying people – is also part of our shows.

Why did you decide to include dance in the show?
In the very beginning of the company, 17 years ago, we had a contemporary dancer with us! Les Commandos Percu’s logo expresses these 3 notions: rhythm, fire, and motion. So when the producers of Lakes Alive asked us to be a part of this wonderful project, I immediately asked to include dancers in the company, not only 16 drummers! So it is natural for us to create something like this: drummers dancing with drums, dancers playing with the space.

Does the dance (show) tell a story?
Along with drumming and fire, dance contributes to the story. We live in an angry world, where energy is not fairly shared, where light is used to blind people, where some people want to get apart from the others. We try to turn off the bad lights to see the night again, we want to show the stars of the universe, and remember we all belong to it. We are a strange human tribe full of positive energy. We are On the Night Shift !

What did you look for in the dancers that you chose for the show?
Before talking about dancers, I would say that during the first audition, meeting the English artists (dancers and drummers), we were totally amazed by their great professionalism and also their capacity of working together in a friendly and helpful spirit. They are all not only great artists, but also fine persons. It's real! Not only because of technical qualities, but also for their positive spirit and creativity. With regards to the dancers, we paid attention to the "personal relationship" they have with rhythm. Of course we also paid attention to their individual skills and their ability of creating choreographies collectively. We asked also the dancers to be “warrior-dancers”! Because what I promised them was: rain, smoke and cold weather. It is an actual outdoor show!

How is the choreography for the show being created?
By following a chemical principal! "Necessity is the mother of invention" As a composer, I feel the show like a combination of time and space. To reach an emotion in each step of the show, we need to transform necessity into invention. The science of rhythm gives us the opportunity of using fire like a musical instrument and to include it in the musical score. We did the same with dancers. I didn’t ask them to follow the music, but to be the music. In other moments they also have to be the fire! The music specially composed for this show was created "in front" of dancers. They were not just waiting for the final music. Dance on this ! No. So they could really get into each note, and in many sequences in the show I ask to the musicians to change some notes because dance has to influence music. During the rehearsals we have some special musical exercises with dancers in order to find a common language with musicians. We use a special musical scoring based on simple signs -but powerful for memory and creativity.

How was it creatively different working with dancers than just with musicians?
It is not absolutely different to work with dancers. The musicians are more exploring time and dancers are more exploring space, but in a way time and space are the same. Time and space cannot be separate! Also I asked dancers to be drummers in some moments, as I asked drummers to be dancers! For some special dance moments into the show, I asked specially to one dancer to be -like they say- "the mirror" for the other dancers. So they can use their specific "dance-vocabulary" and build the choreographs more easily.

What role does the dance have in the show? What does it bring/ add to the show?
Les Commandos Percu is known for the ability of creating spectacular shows. Drums, Fireworks, ok! But we need to have life on stage! This is the most important for us. We live in a world where it is possible to get beautiful sounds combined with colored forms made by computers on huge screens. But something is missing: to be alive! That's what we call "sweat on the arms and sparkles in the eyes". This is the deep sense of our shows. Live drumming, live fire, live dancing : it also brings doubt, incertitude, risk of failure, but also charm, beauty, grace, in one word: life. And as artists we know something essential: audience needs it!

By coincidence, all dancers are female. I find that it brings something very interesting. I remember an English paper talking about Commandos Percu: « (Their show) glorifies and celebrates masculine energy in a positive way. » On the Night Shift will also glorify female positive energy! There are beautiful pictures of the last rehearsals in Toulouse showing dancers jumping in the sky with fireworks. It reminds me of a famous French vulcanologist Maurice Krafft’s quote: "Volcano, woman, they are the same". So I think that fire is not especially "male". Mixed with femininity it gives us a new, simple but powerful and poetic meaning: fire is life.

Laisser brûler le feu, laisser danser les corps. « Let the fire burn, let the bodies dance »

Raymond Gabriel May 2012

Mise en scène : Raymond Gabriel

Music- dance - fireworks : Stéphane Augier, Metty Bénistant, Bernard Graell, Yann Mounot, Jessica Murray, William Perez, Ruddy Thery, Helen Wilson.

Lumières : Michel Pradillon - Son : François Hourtané.

Régie générale : Vincent Perez

Production et communication : Lisa Trouilhet et Chloé Aubin.

On the Night Shift is a coproduction : Big Drum, Lakes Alive, the London 2012 Festival, the Lake District National Park et We Play Expo.

Sponsored by le Conseil Général de la Haute Garonne.

Supported by Rythmes & Sons.

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