La Galerie CAC, Noisy-le-Sec December 12, 2017
With the dancers: Héléna de Laurens, Jean Philippe Derail, Charlotte Imbault, Catalina Insignares, Myriam Lefkowitz, Anne Lenglet, Thierry Grapotte, Florian Richaud, Lina Schlageter, Yasmine Youcef.
In 1911 Raymond Duncan, an American dancer and philosopher— and brother of Isadora Duncan— joined forces with his wife, the Greek dancer Penelope Sikelianou, to found Akademia, a dance school on Rue de Seine in Paris. In 1922 he began running the school with his second wife, Aia Bertrand, a dancer of Latvian origin who continued single-handed from her husband’s death in 1966 until 1977. Embodying the concept of “living a dancing existence”, the school was a focal point for learning, creativity and “innovation” in every sphere of art and craft, and its teaching was based on a blend of Duncan’s holistic philosophy and the respective traditional cultures of Sikelianou and Bertrand. History has retained the name of the “Akademia Raymond Duncan” and predictably forgotten the two women who, in making dance into an art of living and in using their teaching to forge powerful connections between the dancer and the craftsperson, personified something of the original Bauhaus spirit. For her project at La Galerie, Lefkowitz sought to make contact with the ghostly figures of Aia Bertrand and the Akademia through invited guests, “guides” who would become their hosts. Using a kind of hypnosis mingled with a form of detached reverie, she carried out a groping exploration in the dark. Thus the guides’ perceptions, sensations, memories, images, thoughts and acts became the vectors, the media and the archives of an affective, informal, elliptical oral history centred around a spectre invited to haunt the art centre.
This project received support from the Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles d’Ile-de-France – Ministère de la culture.