Michel Briand is professor of ancient Greek literature, at the University of Poitiers, France. His research themes are: ancient Greek literature (lyric and epic poetry, narrative fiction, rhetoric) and culture (performance, gender, body, vision), and the persistence of ancient literature and arts in modern literature and dance. Last published books: (dir.) La Trame et le Tableau : poétique et rhétorique du récit et de la description dans l’Antiquité grecque et latine, Rennes, PUR (2013), and Pindare. Olympiques, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, (2014).



Interrogating the contemporary in contemporary dance: presence, performativity, actuality

The notion of “contemporary” is based on dialectical tensions between: actuality/ virtuality, presence/representation, narrativity/performativity, action/reflexivity, or even vocalised text/performed gesture. A “contemporary” choreographic work, where syn-chrony and ana-chrony intensely interplay, may be defined as a process of temporal (de)sedimentation, which consciously associates several co-present temporalities: measured time and felt duration, eternal flow and occasional moment, and more traditionally the essential and triadic tension of past—present—future. Thus danced contemporary time may be figured as a spiral; intrinsically multi-versal (and not uni-versal), based on a cyclic repetition, but swerving in a layered linear progression. This perspective of “contemporary” is explored here through specific effects of presence, actuality, performativity, and reflexivity, in four works: Maguy Marin’s Description d’un combat (2009), François Chaignaud and Marie-Caroline Hominal ‘s Duchesses (2009), Carlotta Ikeda et Pascal Quignard’s Medea (2012), and Olivier Dubois’ Tragédie (2013).